Innovation as Usual: How to Help Your People Bring Great Ideas to Life

Innovation as Usual: How to Help Your People Bring Great Ideas to Life

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Turn team members into innovators

Most organizations approach innovation as if it were a sideline activity. Every so often employees are sent to “Brainstorm Island”: an off-site replete with trendy lectures, creative workshops, and overenthusiastic facilitators. But once they return, it’s back to business as usual.

Innovation experts Paddy Miller and Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg suggest a better approach. They recommend that leaders at all levels become “innovation architects,” creating an ecosystem in which people engage in key innovation behaviors as part of their daily work.

In short, this book is about getting to a state of “innovation as usual,” where regular employees—in jobs like finance, marketing, sales, or operations—make innovation happen in a way that’s both systemic and sustainable.

Instead of organizing brainstorming sessions, idea jams, and off-sites that rarely result in success, leaders should guide their people in what the authors call the “5 + 1 keystone behaviors” of innovation: focus, connect, tweak, select, stealthstorm, (and the + 1) persist:

Focus beats freedom: Direct people to look only for ideas that matter to the business
Insight comes from the outside: Urge people to connect to new worlds
First ideas are flawed: Challenge people to tweak and reframe their initial ideas
Most ideas are bad ideas: Guide people to select the best ideas and discard the rest
Stealthstorming rules: Help people navigate the politics of innovation
Creativity is a choice: Motivate everyone to persist in the five keystone behaviors

Using examples from a wide range of companies such as Pfizer, Index Ventures, Lonza, Go Travel, Prehype, DSM, and others, Innovation as Usual lights the way toward embedding creativity in the DNA of the workplace.

So cancel that off-site. Instead, read Innovation as Usual—and put innovation at the core of your business.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781422144190
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date: 03/12/2013
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Paddy Miller is a professor at IESE Business School in Barcelona. He has worked with senior executives in organizations such as Nike, Lufthansa, Henkel, Bayer, L’Oréal, Boeing, Citi, and the World Bank, and has led courses at MIT, CEIBS, Harvard, and Darden. Miller is the author of Mission Critical Leadership, and his work on global teams was awarded by the Academy of Management.

Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg is a partner at The Innovation Architects, a management consulting firm in New York City. He is a frequent speaker at corporate events and has worked with managers in nearly all parts of the globe, including China, India, Russia, Singapore, Britain, France, the United States, and his native country, Denmark. He has founded two start-ups and serves as an adviser to BBC Worldwide Labs.

Table of Contents

1 Innovation as Usual: How to Change What People Do, Every Day 1

Leaders must help their people innovate as part of their jobs

2 Focus: How to Make People Focus on Ideas That Matter 35

Focus beats freedom. Leaders must limit and direct the search for innovation

3 Connect: How to Help People Get High-Impact Ideas 57

Insight comes from the outside. Leaders must help people connect to customers, colleagues, and beyond

4 Tweak: How to Help People Improve Their Ideas 83

First ideas are flawed. Leaders must make people test, challenge, and reframe their ideas repeatedly

5 Select: How to Make People Better Gatekeepers 111

Most ideas are bad ideas. Leaders must help gatekeepers get better at judging and filtering new ideas

6 Stealthstorm: How to Help People Navigate the Politics of Innovation 135

Stealthstorming rules. Leaders must help people deal with organizational politics

7 Persist: How to Increase People's Personal Motivation to Innovate 153

Creativity is a choice. Leaders must help their people persist in the pursuit of innovation

Epilogue: The Monday Morning Problem 173

What you do in the next twenty minutes is the difference between failure and success

Appendix A Further Reading 177

Appendix B Innovation Defined 187

Appendix C Four Good Reasons to innovate 191

Notes 195

Index 201

Acknowledgments 211

About the Authors 217

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Advance praise for Innovation as Usual:

Vijay Govindarajan, Professor, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College; bestselling author, Reverse Innovation
“This book is about an idea whose time has come. An eminently practical guide on how to convert innovative ideas into commercial success.”

Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO, The LEGO Group—
Innovation as Usual shows you how to make innovation happen within your team on a regular basis. A rich and fascinating read.”

Jessica Jackley, Cofounder, Kiva; venture partner, Collaborative Fund—
Innovation as Usual is packed with powerful ideas and practical advice for aspiring innovators. A great guide for people who want to make the world a better place.”

Jacob Holm, President and CEO, Fritz Hansen A/S—
“I’ve been looking for this book for a long time! Innovation as Usual provides an easy-to-implement process on how to organize the innovative instincts of the people in your company.”

Frans Johansson, CEO, The Medici Group; author, The Medici Effect and The Click Moment
“The authors challenge the notion that innovation cannot happen as part of every leader’s day-to-day responsibilities. It is packed with vivid examples and great tactics to ensure consistent execution of exciting new ideas for any leader within an organization. Great read!”

Joergen Bardenfleth, Strategy Director, Microsoft International; Chairman, Symbion—
“If you are tired of reading about innovation as fluffy stuff and want to create results by doing new things, this is the book for you.”

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