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Introduction


An Innovation Master: (n) someone who uses her (or his) knowledge of group creativity and innovation in order to lead an organisation on a journey of growth through the power of its collaborative mind.


        The Way of the Innovation Master is not your typical business book.
       But, think about it for a moment. Do you really want a book about innovation to be a typical business book? Might a more creative approach to the topic be more suitable? After all, innovation is not a typical business process, which is a big reason why so many managers have trouble getting their heads around the concept. Unlike most other business processes, such as accounting, marketing, product development, innovation is vague, fuzzy and difficult to measure.
       Worse, it even involves some actions that the average manager will find less than palatable, actions such as wasting time generating lots of ideas that the company will never use, taking risks and handing big-budget project responsibility to rebellious people. When you look at it this way, it is no wonder so many CEOs proclaim that “Innovation is our number one priority”, in order to seem trendy, but avoid actually implementing any real innovation process at all costs. Talking is easier than doing. Or so it may seem.
       The problem is that without innovation, companies stagnate, which is not a good thing at all for a business like yours. Meanwhile, if your competitors are adopting innovation processes, they are likely to take the lead in a market you and I know is rightfully yours! Like it or not, then, you will have to adopt an effective innovative process in order to keep your competitors firmly in the rear-view mirror of your corporate vehicle.
       And that, my friend, is the whole point of this book. Its aim is to turn you into an Innovation Master so that you can grab your business by the horns and take it down a path of innovation. By so doing you can expect some beneficial side effects, including: increased profitability, improved growth and being a really cool place in which to work.

The Elegance of Threes
       The number three permeates the arts. In literature, we have the trilogy. In painting there is the triptych. Architects are taught the rule of three. The very space we live in comprises three dimensions. There is even a theory of cooking which states that the best dishes have three distinct flavours (and, as a side note, if you ever are improvising a dish for a meal, aim for three distinct flavours. It works.).
       There is a reason for this preponderance of threes. Three is an elegant and beautiful number. The human mind seems particularly comfortable with sets of three and artists have exploited this fact for centuries.
      Now I am exploiting it in this book. The Way of the Innovation Manager is a book of three parallel, yet intertwined cycles which, I hope, will deliver to you all the knowledge and insight you need to become an Innovation Master.
       The first cycle is the semi-spiritual journey of Jane, a manager in a large, bureaucratic company that was once an innovative start-up. She must follow the path from her office to the Temple of Ideas, a place where she hopes to study to become an Innovation Master. But, along the way, she will learn subtle lessons about innovation that will help her greatly with her studies.
        The second cycle is a dialogue between two old-school company presidents. One has started working with an Innovation Master who is helping him transform his business. The other is only just starting to take an interest in organisational innovation. Both are conservative and find it hard to get their heads around innovation. Nevertheless, through a series of conversations, they both become more more comfortable with innovation and its potential. Their dialogues are vaguely modelled after the dialogues between the gods in Greek drama. But, the company presidents, although powerful, are very human indeed.
       The final cycle is a series of straightforward lessons. We start by learning a framework for an innovation plan. We follow that with a structure for organisational innovation. We then work our way through a series of lessons which build upon each other. Many of these lessons, by the way, are based on articles I originally wrote Report 103, an eJournal on business creativity and innovation which you can find at www.jpb.com/report103.
       The purpose of this book, of course, is also to take you on a journey from the chair you are sitting in now to the Temple of Ideas where you too will gain the knowledge and insight necessary to become an Innovation Master. Once you have achieved that, your next step will be to take your business on a similar journey.
       I hope you and your colleagues will find it a pleasant journey.

 

 

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Publication Date: 1 December 2010
ISBN/EAN13: 9491156004 / 9789491156007
Page Count: 230
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 6" x 9" / 15.24 x 22.86 cm
Language: English
Inside colour: Black and White


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Jeffrey Baumgartner
Bwiti bvba

Erps-Kwerps (near Leuven & Brussels) Belgium