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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable perspectives on and from within the emerging and evolving Global Digital Economy (GDE)
This is the latest of several dozen books on innovation that I have read thus far and is among the most informative because Kim Chandler McDonald draws upon more than one hundred of her interviews of international thought leaders and influencers who share their thoughts about "how innovators think, act, and change our world." What excited me initially, when I reviewed the...
Published 16 months ago by Robert Morris

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst books I've ever read
It's often said that everyone has a book in them, well Kim Chandler McDonald doesn't. Not since the Da Vinci Code have I read something will so little merit. It is truly vacuous.
Published 16 months ago by GraemeJ


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable perspectives on and from within the emerging and evolving Global Digital Economy (GDE), 18 Jan. 2014
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Innovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World (Paperback)
This is the latest of several dozen books on innovation that I have read thus far and is among the most informative because Kim Chandler McDonald draws upon more than one hundred of her interviews of international thought leaders and influencers who share their thoughts about "how innovators think, act, and change our world." What excited me initially, when I reviewed the list of major contributors, is that I recognized very few of them. However different they may be in most respects, they seem to agree with what McDonald characterizes as the three "core axioms" of the book: innovation drives change, innovation (directly or indirectly) touches each of us, and innovators deserve recognition, celebration, and applause. "This book is my hands clapping. I hope, by the end of our time together, you join me in my ovation."

I commend McDonald on her skillful use of several reader-friendly devices that include a "word cloud" of key words with rich and diverse associations such as "differentiate" and "infrastructure." These clusters are "commonalities, the themes, if you will, that link and lead" innovative thinking. In fact, McDonald characterizes them as "the warp and weft, the contexts and concepts, the melodies and harmonies of this symphony of extraordinary, and extraordinarily innovative, individuals." Also, following each interview, she includes a simple "Keyword imagination exercise." She asks the reader to close eyes for five minutes and await development of thoughts and ideas triggered, " inspired" by the key words. McDonald provides a remarkably thoughtful introduction to each of the sections within which the material is carefully organized. I also appreciate the "Innovators speak" insertions. They are mini-commentaries that supplement interview excerpts that, together, help to define and delineate what McDonald characterizes as "aspects of success and awareness of both the pitfalls and potentials inherent in this time of great opportunity."

With all due respect to the contributions by McDonald and her colleagues, the greatest value of the material -- for me, at least -- was derived from the interaction, stimulation, and correlation that it activated as I worked my way through it. As is also true of only a few others books, Alan Watts's The Book, for example, this one read me to a greater extent than I read it.

Here in Dallas near the downtown area, there is a Farmer's Market at which several merchants offer slices of fresh fruit as samples of their wares. In that spirit, I now offer a representative selection of five brief excerpts from this book:

o Julian Keith Loren on the competitive advantages of "massive, monolithic companies": "That depends. If you are a multi-million dollar company and you say, 'We're going to open up our innovation practice. We're going to create an open innovation network and we're looking for partners', you'll have a lot of small companies scrambling to be in that network. There are still competitive advantages related to scale, market penetration, brand recognition, etc. If you're starting your no-name company, how do you attract a large and vibrant eco0system?" Page 15

o Richard Boly on constraints: "Innovators embrace constraints. So if you are a start-up company in Silicon Valley, your constraints are: the amount of money you've been able to raise; the quality of the talent that you've been able to put together; and your ability to hit the marketplace ahead of your competitors with a solution. In that environment you may wish that you had more money, had another coder, and/or had more time to get to the window. You have to embrace the constraints that you face or you're really on a fool's errand." Page 48

o Peter Cochrane on collaborating with a spouse: "No matter how bright you are, no matter how good you are in your given field, without someone to balance ideas out you can get yourself in a mental cul-de-sac. A man and a wife can say things to each other and be honest in ways that you couldn't be, necessarily, with an employee -- although I have worked with some pretty remarkable women in my life. Jane knows what I'm thinking before I think it, you know -- wives do. So she makes contributions that no one else could." Page 63

o Jeff Leitner on hanging out with entrepreneurs: "It occurred to me recently why I hang out with entrepreneurs, especially technology entrepreneurs. It's because, when you're doing something audacious, something that nobody quite understands, it's nice to have other people say 'come sit with us'. Entrepreneurs, particularly technology entrepreneurs, were the folks who first said it to me. They didn't understand what I was doing but it seemed audacious and absurd, and what they were trying to do was audacious and absurd." Page 93

o Lizbeth Goodman on education reform: "It needs different buildings with windows that are lower so that little children and people in wheelchairs can see out. It needs wireless...it just needs everything to change: the assessment system, the curriculum, the attitudes, the assumption that you need to break everybody's thinking down to 20- or 40-minute time blocks. All these things that were important, for reasons of organizational simplicity, are now blocking the development of the human race." Page 142

At the beginning of this book, McDonald asserts that innovators deserve recognition, celebration, and applause: "This book is my hands clapping. I hope, by the end of our time together, you join me in my ovation." I am not only clapping, I am standing while doing so. A hearty "Bravo!" and, yes, "Thank you!" to Kim Chandler McDonald and all the innovators who contributed to the book as well as to countless others who, over many years, have also helped to nourish my personal growth and professional development.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Breadth and (some) depth in one compact package, 6 Nov. 2013
By 
Sami Makelainen (Helsinki, - Finland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Innovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World (Paperback)
!nnovation is not your typical business book, or your typical book on innovation for that matter; it's not a prescriptive guide on how to "do" innovation in your organization, nor is it a theoretical treatise of innovation and what it is. It is, instead, a collection of important trends covering a large breadth of topics - and interviews with a selection of "innovators" (some well known, some people you likely haven't heard of).

Without a doubt the best part of the book are the "innovator interviews", which take up a lion share of the pages as well. They provide valuable insight and fascinating stories, also adding depth to some of the many facets explored in the book.

I do have a couple of issues with the book as well; the more important criticism is that the book to a large extent tends to support and emphasize the provenly false "lone innovator" myth - and while some interviewees point out they alone couldn't have done whatever they did alone, certain others come across the kind of people of whom Bob Sutton has lots to say of in his best-selling book. The other negative is a minor layout-related one; the interviews are strangely peppered with in-line quotes from other people so that a single interview which "feels" like one person actually has quotes from two or three persons, making for some confusing non-linear reading.

The best way to use the book is not to devour it at once - even if the book is compact and lends itself to that approach as well. It is, instead, to read snippets of it over the course of many days and try & see if you can integrate some of the areas or concepts into whatever you do. The breadth helps in providing links to cross-disciplinary ideas (most truly innovative innovations spark from interaction across two or more disciplines), while the interviews can even provide direct linkages to potential partners.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Personal insights into innovation, 17 Oct. 2013
By 
Mr. P. Cook (GILLINGHAM, KENT United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Innovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World (Paperback)
I've just been reading "Innovation - how innovators think, act and change our world" by Kim Chandler McDonald. What strikes me is the depth and diversity of personal insights into innovation in this book, which uses an interview approach to get at the heart of how innovators tick, from artists, authors, engineers, entrepreneurs, doctors, designers, educators, architects, scientists, explorers of space, business people, bankers, politicians, printers, and many more.

Whilst it's self-evident that we must innovate to succeed in the new economy. What is less obvious is just how we go about that at a personal level. In this book, Kim enters the mindsets of innovators who are changing the world we live in. The book draws on more than 100 exclusive interviews with entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world, including people such as Seth Godin, Juan Cano-Arribí, Founder of Plantel, David Schafran, CEO of EyeNetra, Scott Heiferman, CEO of Meetup and many, many more.

The book is organised by `applications' of innovation. So we have innovation as it relates to the me-conomy, governments, network organisations (the flat-world navigators), health, education, media. The book concludes with a chapter called "Being grounded when the sky's the limit". Given the pace of change, it has probably never been more important to be grounded when pursuing innovative ideas.

Naturally for me as a business consultant speaker and musician, I hunted down one theme that emerges, that of improvisation and innovation. Quite a few of the interviewees mention improvisation as a competence, drawing parallels with jazz and complexity science. One example is Fiorenzo Omenetto, who mentions what I call `prepared spontaneity' when discussing the relevance of Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane in relation to the development of nanofabrics and biopolymer based photonics. I'd argue that we need to embrace free improvisation for the inventive processes behind innovation, but a little more structure and discipline (Rock'n'Roll) is needed to scale a successful and sustainable business. Just look at the Virgin empire and Richard Branson for this.

If I were to have one wish for the book, it would be for either chapter summaries at the end of each section or a review at the end, to draw the individual threads and interviews together, perhaps with some underpinning academic or pracademic concepts to give the reader some takeaways from each section.

So, get yourself a copy of "Innovation - how innovators think, act and change our world" if you are looking for a deep insight into the mind of an innovator / change maker and make some change happen for a better world. It just might get your innovation mojo working.

Peter Cook

MD Human Dynamics and The Academy of Rock, Author "The Music of Business", "Sex, Leadership and Rock'n'Roll", "Best Practice Creativity" and "Punk Rock People Management"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiration for extraordinary generations of energing innovators, 12 Oct. 2013
By 
Michael J. Sutton (Westminster College, Gore School of Business, Salt Lake City, UT) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Innovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World (Paperback)
I have never encountered such a useful compendium of lessons learned and personal insights about innovators. The closest I have come would be Dr. Alex Bennet's 2005 unpublished dissertation entitled, "Exploring Aspects of Knowledge Management That Contribute to the Passion Expressed by Its Thought Leaders." The dissertation covered the core themes that emerged when Alex interviewed 34 KM thought leaders across the globe.

Kim Chandler McDonald, on the other hand, has furnished every entrepreneur and business person with a mosaic of traits, characteristics, backgrounds, failures, successes, and experiences that provide the crucible for innovation in our world today. Kim has covered an incredible breath of industries, expertise, and subsequently, the thoughtful generations of knowledge mavens who are now triggering more innovation and creativity where they think and play.

I pray that Kim has the budget to follow up this stimulating expose of intriguing case studies in a decade to ascertain where these folks have gone. For example, Kim interviewed Jack Andraka, winner of the 2012 International Science Fair. Will Mr. Andraka be teaching or will he be leading an innovative healthcare industry lab?

Being an educator and knowledge activist, I was particularly taken by Kim's interviews with thought leaders in Higher Education. I appreciated one of Kim's interview questions with Adam Glick: "So should education be a business?" As many of us who are attempting to innovate in higher ed survey the broken educational landscape, few institutions can be identified as embracing the transformative changes that need to take place. If making high education a "business" can speed up the transformation and provide a more tangible business value proposition to students, then I would throw my lot into that emerging industry.

Finally, the framework provided by Bill O'Connor gave me a "nice warm feeling," because I design frameworks, breathe frameworks, think frameworks, and facilitate the pragmatic application of frameworks with my MBA learners. The Seven Essential Innovation Questions applies the mnemonic ILUMIAM (Imagine, Look, Use, Move, Interconnect, Alter, and Make) to a method for framing innovation initiatives in anyone's particular circumstance.

Bring a smile to your face! Read these inspiring personal stories and extraordinary narratives. The world may appear a bit dreary right now, with the American Government no longer operating and the previous "Great Recession from Hell" we all experienced beginning in 2008. Nonetheless, let the "Sun Shine In!"

!nnovate!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic read from cover to cover, 8 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Innovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World (Paperback)
I have known Kim for a number of years dating back to our English breakfast radio days in Amsterdam. When she interviewed me a few years ago for a piece on Innovation i had no idea i was contributing towards this book and boy hasn't she delivered! A thoroughly well researched and well crafted labour of love on Kim's part has resulted in her delivering a truly sensational piece of creative work here. Grab a copy if you can!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! A book on innovation that is worth reading!, 8 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Innovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World (Paperback)
Most business books should be published as an essay with a lot of repetition to make them the size of a book. Macdonald's book is an unusual exception.

"Innovation" is definitely robust, useful, and makes you think all the way through. The people interviewed have a lot to say, and if you're going to read one book about the topic this year, this is it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Dippendium Of Groove, 28 Oct. 2013
By 
C. Barez-brown (london) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Kim is a super buzzy gal and that comes over in heaps in her book. Its a book that you can just dip into whenever you need a fresh perspective. I rarely read whole book front to back, so I feel that this is designed for me. I get a little hit, when I feel like it.
I love the fact that Kim introduces us to some new faces; folk I haven't come across before. Yes we have old mates like Seth Godin, but there's plenty who are totally new to me which I like (can't deal with another Apple Story!)
All in all its bouncy, stimulating and is written for the market is about. Those with flitting attention who think in sound bites, love it.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One of the worst books I've ever read, 22 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Innovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World (Paperback)
It's often said that everyone has a book in them, well Kim Chandler McDonald doesn't. Not since the Da Vinci Code have I read something will so little merit. It is truly vacuous.
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Innovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World
Innovation: How Innovators Think, Act and Change Our World by Kim Chandler McDonald (Paperback - 3 Oct. 2013)
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