Breaking Away: How Great Leaders Create Innovation that Drives Sustainable Growth--and Why Others Fail Hardcover – 1 Apr 2011
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About the Author
Jane Edison Stevenson is Vice Chairman, Board and CEO Services at Korn/Ferry International, the world’s leading C-suite talent management firm, and has spent 25 years assessing and recruiting the world’s top innovation leaders.
Bilal Kaafarani is Senior VP, Global Research and Innovation officer of The Coca-Cola Company. He has held leadership roles with Frito Lay Tropicana, Proctor & Gamble, and Kraft, where he developed the technology resulting in the successful “Kraft Free” products. He holds several patents for breakthrough technologies in the food sector.
Top Customer Reviews
According to Jane Stevenson and Bilal Kaafarani, there is a "magic mix" that enables some leaders to create a "sustainable innovation engine" within their organization. "In Breaking Away, we'll look at why this happens and how to achieve different types of innovation success." More specifically, these are among the key questions to which they respond:
o Why do some innovation leaders succeed but most fail?
o Why do some workplace environments nourish and support innovation but most don't?
o What is the innovation risk profile and why is it so important?
o What are the quality parameters within which to create "customer evangelists"?
Note: Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba devised the term, "customer evangelists." Revealingly, the process of creating them involves the same core values as does the process for creating employee (or stakeholder) "evangelists." Hmmmm.....
o Which cultural factors are essential to a workplace environment in which innovation thrives?
o Which cultural factors preclude establishing or sustaining one?
o What are the defining characteristics and unique abilities of the most effective innovation leaders?
To their great credit, Stevenson and Kaafarani identify and explain a multiple of options and considerations (e.g.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Using numerous real-world examples, they carefully define innovation itself, describe the leadership characteristics and processes required to drive innovation, and detail the effort required to translate effective innovation into commercial success. Throughout the book, they provide a compelling structure (in 20 or so exhibits) that breaks innovation, leadership and execution into easily grasped concepts that can be applied directly to the reader's own situation. And, they accomplish all of this in a very approachable, easy-to-read fashion.
This book is an essential guide for anyone leading or participating in the innovation process in a business setting. It allows you to assess your own situation versus their well supported framework. The examples underlying the framework provide a strong basis to compare yourself vs. those who have succeeded before you. Whether you are a leader or participant, the book challenges you to ask whether you are truly set to innovate like the most successful companies and leaders. Most critically, it offers highly practical advice on how you can bring your own innovation effort into alignment with those leaders.
I also found myself nodding my head through most of Part 2 - Leadership and Innovation. It made so much sense to connect the dots between people's preferences and their ability to successfully innovate in various dimensions.
"Breaking Away" was thought-provoking and a wonderful read.
I am, of course, a great believer in innovation. I think one of my strong points is high creativity (not in the artistic sense but in the business innovation sense). I also see success as being tied to those that can innovate and that involves openness to change.
Early in the book, they make the distinction between innovation and discovery and invention which although they are "cousins" are not the same. By their definition, innovation has to be unique, valuable and worthy of exchange.
The authors use a 4 part model for innovation - Transformational, Marketplace, Category and Operational. Each innovation in these quadrants have their own characteristics.
One subsection that really resonated was "don't just listen - hear". Logical and should apply to almost everything in life.
And the book ends with how to create an innovation strategy for a company:
1 - Set Innovation Priorities (I know that setting goals in anything is the best way to accomplish things so this one makes total sense to me)
2 - Establish Success Metrics
3 - Develop Clear Communications
And it ends with GO - Just do it.