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Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg must be courageous fellows because, in this remarkably entertaining as well as informative book, they discuss one of the most controversial business topics: the box metaphor. All manner of questions are evoked. For example, if problems are inside the box, can they be solved by thinking there or must one get outside of the box in order to think through a solution there? If a team is involved, must all of them remain or get out of the box, together...en masse, to solve the given problem? What if the problem in the box is solved outside the box and then, by then, has become a different problem? Then what?

Boyd and Goldenberg suggest five templates that "keep showing up as keys to innovation. The more you learn about this approach, the more ways you will start to see the five techniques being applied to solve tough problems and create all sorts of breakthroughs." As with any such approaches or techniques or methodologies, however, they must be modified to accommodate the given needs, interests, resources, and strategic objectives of the given organization. Boyd and Goldenberg would be among the first to insist that it would be a fool's errand to attempt to apply, immediately, all of their recommendations.

The five are best revealed and explained within the narrative, in context, but I feel comfortable when suggesting that they are fundamentally sound and evidence-driven, based on lessons learned from real people in real organizations, and relevant to almost any enterprise, whatever its size and nature may be.

These are among the dozens of passages that caught my eye, also shared to suggest the scope of this book's coverage:

o A Method to Innovate (Pages 2-6)
o How and Why Brainstorming Produces Fewer and Lower-Quality Ideas (30-32)
o An Experiment in Innovation (Drew's Story) (38-45)
o Look for Replacements "Right Under Your Nose" (50-54)
o How to Use Subtraction, and, Common Pitfalls in Using Subtraction (66-69)
o Division: Functional, Physical, and Preserving (75-79
o Experience Is the Best Teacher (Drew's Story) (80-85)
o How to Use Division, and, Common Pitfalls in Using Division (95-96)
o How the Multiplication Technique Works (104-106)
o How to Use Multiplication, and, Common Pitfalls in Using Multiplication (123-128)
o Three Ways to Apply Task Unification (136-143)
o How to Use Unification, and, Common Pitfalls in Unification (156-158)
o Candle in the Wind (167-170)
o How to Use Attribute Dependency, and, Common Pitfalls in Attribute Dependency (179-188)
o The "No Compromise!" Rule in Creative Problem Solving (216-219)

Within the last several years, I have probably read and reviewed more than one hundred books that discuss one or more aspects of creativity. Opinions are divided -- sometimes sharply divided -- among authorities in terms of what creativity is and isn't, how ideas can be generated, within which workplace environment creative thinking is most likely to thrive, whether or not it is better to solve problems inside or outside "box," whether or not there [begin italics] is [end italics] a box, etc.

Is the five-dimensional approach that Drew Boyd and Jacob Goldenberg propose the best? For some who adopt and adapt it, yes, but the more important point is that [begin italics] any [end italics] methodology is better than having none. Moreover, selecting a specific methodology is much less important than the nature and extent of commitment to making it effective throughout the given enterprise, at all levels and in all areas. I agree that if we don't know where we're going, any road will take us there. If we have no methodology or have insufficient commitment to the one we have, our organization's stagnation, deterioration, and demise.
0Comment|2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
This is a very helpful and sensible book. Its basic point is that you probably already have everything you need to solve your problems around you. The solution is not likely to come from outside. The endless search for external solutions is in many cases misplaced escapism, rather than sensible problem solving. This book is a nice balance to the idea that we need to send for external consultants and other such magicians to sort out our problems.

If this book teaches anything it is to appreciate the people and the things you have around you already, and consider how much they could be used in better arrangements- personal or business units, or engineering.

it asks mischievous questions such as "What would happen in your system if you took this away and didn't repalce it?" The answer is very rarely "The system would collapse." It's usually along the lines that the system would adapt, and the adaptation might well be better.

The book is well written and clear, presents several useful ideas, and will get you thinking about your work and its configuration. For example in my own field of medicine I am no longer at all sure that we need to divide medicine into primary and secondary care- each with its own traditions, systems, structures and budgets. In fact we may as healthcare systems be spending so much time, energy and money managing and maintaining the primary-secondary care interface that we cannot see how the system might well work better without it.

This is an excellent book- highly recommended to those of us working on problem solving- mainly at an organisational or business level. It might work on a personal development level too for some people.
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on 17 March 2014
Love this book - best book I've read about creativity in ages. It challenges the whole blue sky, outside the box thinking. If you want to be creative you probably already have the resources already and it's just a matter of rethinking what you already know. This book helps. I really recommend it.
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on 9 July 2014
Hundreds of books have been dedicated to the subject of innovation and creativity.
Did we need another one? Yes, because everyone says that our society needs more innovation, and yet we are dissatisfied by the results.
This book has been written by a business consultant and an academic, and I believe that they found the right balance between practice and analysis.
This is not an academic book, it was written to teach creativity as a practical subject.
The authors introduce and explain five different methods to develop new products or services, with many interesting cases of application.
I recommend it to all those who need to improve their creativity process.
i found on Youtube a presentation of this method at Columbia University, New York, and the results were encouraging.
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on 15 May 2016
Amazing...I can see the obvious that I was blind too before...but with a systematic approach...that's genius ! I really enjoyed all the great and diverse examples in the book. Can't wait to try it.
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on 22 May 2015
Very good book. I listened to the audible version.

It's entertaining. It's useful. I'm about to read the kindle version.
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on 10 September 2013
One of the very best books on innovation - for products and services. Go buy it, but more importantly put it into action.

M: Multiplication
A: Attribute Dependancy aka Algorithms
T: Task Unification aka Arithmetic
H: Hacking aka Division
S: Subtraction
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