This book is a solid training manual in innovation: it begins with a walk through the basics of innovations and pioneers of the art with some useful caveats that concentrate the mind, especially on one's own faults. The 28 day programme takes you through the main points of developing and implementing a programme of innovation and meeting the challenges of competition and creating customers. Innovation, as presented here is a creative process: you are, indeed, creating the future, according to Peter Drucker, one of the champions of innovation and old school exponents of business management, showcased in this book. I'm reading a lot of business books, lately, none can tell you everything you need to do, but a few valuable pointers makes some worth the cost and time it takes to read and absorb. The best, set you to work and greatly aid your ability to meet the challenges that anyone in business faces at any time, but more especially in the current marketplace and most definitely in my field of training where over-provision and, apparently, a shrinking client base, means that you need to be constantly mining new, potential markets and set yourself apart from the competition. I found this book helpful and thought provoking, able to generate ideas and inspire confidence - easily 5 stars.
I have read and reviewed all of the other books that Scott Anthony has authored or co-authored and think this is the most valuable...thus far. In ways and to an extent even Clay Christensen hasn't, Anthony has embraced his reader and said, in effect, "I am now going to share with you everything I have learned about what innovation is...and isn't, what it does...and doesn't do, and how you can master the skills of innovative thinking." He immediately establishes a direct and collegial rapport with his reader and then sustains it throughout the lively and eloquent narrative.
Although his book is technically not a memoir, Anthony draws heavily on his own experience, sharing anecdotes from defining moments and memorable relationships throughout his "personal innovation journey" that "began in earnest" during an airline flight more than a decade ago. He was carrying with him and began to read a copy of Christensen's The Innovator's Dilemma. He was among the students enrolled in an experimental course ("Building a Sustainably Successful Enterprise") at Harvard Business School taught by Christensen. Thus began a personal as well as professional relationship with him that continues to this day. Anthony's aforementioned "journey" since that day (October 20, 2000) enabled him to learn "the truth" about innovation (especially from academic researchers who have "decoded" many of its mysteries") that has prepared him well to help each of his readers to embark on a comparable journey. As he explains,
"Much of this learning is out of reach for the layperson. It is locked up in books that are too dense, or even worse, it is locked up in the heads of individuals. The Little Black Book of Innovation aims to address this issue by providing the tools and giving you [his reader] the confidence to more reliably turn your dreams into reality."
After establishing his book's "foundation" in Part I, he introduces a 28-day innovation program in Part II. Here are the primary goals for each of the four weeks:
Week 1: Discovering the Opportunities ("Wrap Up" on Page 126) Week 2: Blueprinting Ideas ("Wrap Up" on 165) Week 3: Addressing and Testing Ideas ("Wrap Up" on 206) Week 4: Moving Forward ("Wrap Up" on 245)
Anthony introduces each of the four ("This week will help you to accomplish the following [objectives]") and devotes a separate chapter to each of the 28 days, posing a "Central Question" followed by a "One-Sentence Answer" as well as a set of "How-To Tips." Within this framework, he provides an abundance of information, insights, and recommendations based on real-world situations that illustrate what innovation is...and isn't, what it does...and doesn't do, and how almost anyone can master the skills of innovative thinking.
This four-week/28-day program will be of substantial benefit both to individuals and to teams. If a senior-level executive reads this book and decides to create and lead a project team whose objective is to develop a game plan to increase and support innovation throughout the given enterprise, I presume to suggest that the executive also read Anthony's previously published book, The Silver Lining: An Innovation Playbook for Uncertain Times, in which he also offers a wealth of advice. For example:
o Identifying the "different approach to take when prudently "pruning" by obtaining the answers to five questions (Pages 30-31) o What the four business unit portfolio "traps" are and how to avoid or escape from them (Pages 34-35) o Four specific analyses that can help to determine the degree to which an existing business has unexploited or under-developed potential (Pages 38-39) o Three important lessons for cost cutting to be learned from the basic pattern of disruptive innovation (Page 52)
Note: Cost cutting provably has more "low-hanging fruit" to pick than any other area of opportunity does.
o The three-step process to drive "intelligent cost cutting" (Pages 52-63) o The three-step process that innovators have used to drive disruption to create "spectacular success" (Pages 75-82)
Note: Table 4-1 on Page 76, all by itself, is worth much more than the cost of the book. The same is true of Tool 4-1 on Pages 88-89
o Four common strategic traps that may appear (Pages 96-98)
Mind you, all this is provided during the first hundred pages.
With all due respect to the other books that have been written about these and other issues, if you will read only one, I think it must be The Little Black of Innovation. If you read only two, The Silver Lining is my recommendation.
So where is a good place to start your innovation thinking? You could do a lot worse than starting with Scott D Anthony’s Little Black Book of Innovation. It’s a great overview of the modern debates, ideas and processes surrounding how to commercialise a new idea. A large part of the book includes Anthony’s 28-day innovation programme, a chronological 4 week process. However the highlight of this book is Anthony’s introduction to the great ‘masters of innovation’. For those who are not engaged in full-time study and do not have the time or the book shelf space to collect and study the works of Clay Christensen, Pete Drucker, Steve Blank, Richard Foster and A.G. Lafley – Anthony neatly summarises the the key points to note...
You can read my full review of this book and three other great books on digital, social and innovation - here. http://goo.gl/ca3bWc
This is the first book I have read on innovation, as I try and teach myself strategy. It is very nicely written with a lively and approachable style.
The first half of the book takes you through a whistle stop tour of how the greats think innovatively - and acts as a great stepping stone for where else your reading on innovation should go. The second half then walks you through practical steps on how to adapt the way you think.
If you want a quick and practical start to thinking innovatively - this is it. And if you just want a well written bit of business literature that doesn't take itself too seriously and that is accessible, filled with practical examples (as opposed to academic and ethereal ones that business are often plagued with) - then this is also the book for you!