Managing Creativity and Innovation: Your Mentor and Guide to Doing Business Effectively (Harvard Business Essentials) Paperback – 1 Jul 2003
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Harvard Business Essentials The Reliable Source for Busy Managers The Harvard Business Essentials series is designed to provide comprehensive advice, personal coaching, background information, and guidance on the most relevant topics in business. Drawing on rich content from Harvard Business School Publishing and other sources, these concise guides are carefully crafted to provide a highly practical resource for readers with all levels of experience. To assure quality and accuracy, each volume is closely reviewed by a specialized content adviser from a world class business school. Whether you are a new manager interested in expanding your skills or an experienced executive looking for a personal resource, these solution-oriented books offer reliable answers at your fingertips.
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In this volume, Richard Luecke assembles cutting edge thinking about managing creativity and innovation, ably assisted subject adviser Ralph Katz, a professor at Northeastern University's College of Business and in the Management of Technology Group of M.I.T.'s Sloan School of Management. They have carefully organized the material within these eight chapters:
1. Types of Innovation (Several Types on Many Fronts)
2. The S-Curve (A Concept and Its Lessons)
3. Idea Generation (Opening the Genie's Bottle)
4. Recognizing Opportunities (Don't Let the Good Ones Slip By)
5. Moving Innovation to Market (Will It Fly?)
6. Creativity and Creative Groups (Two Keys to Innovation)
7. Enhancing Creativity (Enriching the Organization and Workplace)
8. What Leaders Must Do (Making a Difference)
In the two appendices which follow, there are brief but insightful discussions of "The Time Value of Money" and "Useful Innovation Tools." Luecke and Katz also provide sections dedicated to Notes, Glossary, and For Further Reading. If you need assistance with mastering essentials in only one of these areas, I urge you to purchase a copy of this book ASAP. Luecke is an uncommonly clear thinker and writer. Thoughtfully, he provides a "Summing Up" section at the end of each chapter to facilitate a review of key points.
There are four other books which I also presume to recommend highly, all of which are available in a paperbound edition. First, Michael Michalko's Cracking Creativity in which he explains how to use various strategies to overcome ("crack") barriers to human creativity: knowing how to see, making a thought visible, thinking fluently, making novel (bizarre is better) combinations, connecting the unconnected, looking at "the other side," looking in other "worlds," finding what you are not looking for, and wakening the collaborative spirit. In Expect the Unexpected, Roger von Oech discusses 30 "Creative Insights" of Heraclitus which include, for example, #2. "Expect the unexpected or you won't find it," #4 "You can't step into the same river twice,"#12 "Many fail to grasp what's right in the palm of their hand," and #26 "Donkeys prefer garbage to gold." Obviously, von Oech agrees with Jim Collins that the most formidable barriers to creative thinking include what Collins describes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." If you need expert advice on how to plan and then conduct effective brainstorming sessions, the "must reads" include Doug Hall's Jump Start Your Brain and Tom Kelley's The Art of Innovation.
As is also true of each of the others in the Harvard Business Essentials series, this volume is essentially a primer on cutting-edge thinking about an especially important business subject. Yes, much of the material is generic. No, it doesn't offer a cohesive, comprehensive, and cost-effective system for managing creativity and innovation. However, any one of the eight chapters (all by itself) is worth far more than the cost of this book. Obviously, I highly recommend it. In fact, I think every decision-maker should read all of the volumes in the Harvard Business Essentials series and then re-visit relevant portions in them (previously highlighted, of course) on an as-needed basis.
Originally the firm did not concern itself with day-to-day operations, as long as each individual firm produce and meet profit margins. But each company belonged to the same niche industry.
Today, the smaller companies are working together, and forming R&D departments. Using this book as a means of understanding; I have managed to turn these unique entities into a cohesive team. We have book reading assignments to augment our understanding, and I require this book as one of the baseline required readings. It deals simply and straightforward with innovation. It talks specifically about incremental change and radical change that is possible, and the risks and rewards for each.
It details analytical tools to evaluate each opportunity and determine which make sense to go foward with. It gives the neophyte the proper skill set to deal with managers who are interested in Return on Investment and Time Value of Money. I have a PhD in Thermodynamics, 2 masters degrees (Chemistry and Mathmatics)but I had a hard time talking Money with bean counters and really; a multi-billion dollar equity firm is all about the bean counters. I can talk to the bean counters now, and so can my team -we can see and work within the trends and anayltical tools that these guys use. This has given us focus on those items that we can get funded. All in all a great primer.
One area of weakness was that the book did not discuss implementation problems to the degree that is necessary for most organizations. This is the one area that generally troubles organizations the most. It did provide a basic framework, but little concerning the integration issues including; adapting to the current structure, organizational development, and cultural transformation, to name a few.
I am trying to present my review in a different format this time (bullet points); hopefully it makes the review easier to read.
* Nice book for beginners because it gives an overview of several topics
* Lacks the details need to manage idea generation or creativity
* Because it was published in 2003 it is lacking the most up-to-date knowledge
* There are inconsistencies with experts knowledge
* Aimed at amateurs first learning this subject
* Especially students doing their MBA
* Will be highly redundant for experts in this subject, or knowledgeable product development managers
* Easy to read, and can be completed in a week or two
* At a high level covers idea generation
* Covers some methods of managing and enhancing creativity
* Tends to leave out the details, I.E. you cannot use it as a direct guide, interpretation and filling in the blanks is needed
* Does not cover idea management (capturing, storing, & diffusing ideas)
* If you are learning product development for the first time
* If you are a student in a MBA program learning product development
* Professors who wish to supplement product development their case studies with a simple book
Do not buy this if
* You are a product development consultant
* A expert in product development, it is too simplistic to be of any uses
* You will be very upset
Dr. Brian Glassman
Ph.D in Innovation Management from Purdue University
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