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Myths and Methods of Innovation

Innovation is OLD. The tactics for trying to change the present are ancient.

Was there anything really special about the Rosetta Stone? The myth of a method. The challenge with creative work, especially in a marketplace, is the many factors beyond your control. You can do everything right and still fail. Methods can be useful but they deny that the present is different from the past. There are too many variables in the present to have certainty. This is why terms like innovation system orinnovation pipeline are absurd.


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The idea of an innovation portfolio, where a range of risk is assumed, is more honest. Many books on creativity are surprisingly uncreative lightbulbs should be banned from creativity book covers and unreal. The myth we love new ideas.

Book Summary: The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun

We are a conservative species: try something as simple as standing, rather than sitting, in your next group meeting. How accepting were your peers? Conformity is deep in our biology. While talking about creativity is very popular, actually being creative puts your social status at risk. The history of breakthroughs is a tale of persistence against rejection. Much of what makes a successful innovator is their ability to persuade and convince conservative people of the merits of their ideas, a very different skill from creativity itself.

Your problem is likely not your ideas, but your skills for pitching ideas to others. In the knowledge economy, Innovation represents the Holy Grail : the undisputed source of wealth, pride and prestige. It is one of the most respected and worshiped word in corporate vocabulary. Yet you can hardly find organisations that share a same definition, let alone have a clear plan to manage it.

Suggested Reading

The reason is : we are misguided by common misconception that run rampant in business and popular culture Berkun. With The Myths of innovation , his second book, Scott Berkun aims to clarify the topic : he is merciless with wishful thinking using his ruthless wit and encyclopaedic culture on the subject. This paperback re-edition is a revised version of the original edition including four new and amazing chapters. As usual with Scott, this is a fantastic read, filled with conviction, great ideas, provocative thoughts, common sense and unexpected bursts of humour.

The telling stories, the usability of the advises, the hindsight and wisdom of conclusions and the Occam Razor approach of Scott brings bucket loads of value to the reader. You want to know how to make innovation happen? And, more importantly, what prevents it from happening because of cultural beliefs and urban legends? Read on …. Scott must be a hell of a dissatisfied guy.

The dissatisfaction acts as a fuel, a positive energy leading his writings towards the Truth. The allegoric one. The one that innervates all his best sellers and blog posts. This obsession with truth is the mark of great writers as Nabokov said about the work of Tolstoi. The tool set for this unlocking operation is books.

This is one of the reasons why Scott is such a great writer : he is a great reader in the first place. The bibliography is quite impressive and every statement, claim, position, idea in the book is thoroughly documented, balanced and has patently required substantial research work. This confers a great authority to his essays. Another reason of the great energy and conviction of Scott writings is that he scratches his own itches : he focusses on these mysteries that immediately surround him.

Scott used to be Project Manager at Microsoft on the Internet Explorer projet from versions 1 to 5 : Management and Innovation are logically the main subjects of his first two essays. Making Things Happen initially published under the name The Art Of Project Management — Scott being a doer he puts a verb in the title the second time around aimed to frame management tasks and responsibilities in a simple framework. He tackles innovation in this book.


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Being now a writer and speaker he wrote about public speaking in his third best-seller : Confessions of a Public Speaker which hypertextual reviewed a year ago FR. Whenever Scott addresses an issue he really does so thoroughly. We thought it would be fun to share some of these booklover conversations with our readers. Here are what a few in our industry are reading: and looks like there is one very popular book out there. I recently saw some statistics that last year the word innovation was used almost 35, times in annual reports of public companies and that during a day period last year, books were published that included the word innovation in the title.

A fundamental message throughout is that we are brought up with the notion that great ideas and success stories happen in a flash of genius. Berkun supports his position with many examples that innovation rarely appears without tremendous work and patience behind the scenes. Additionally, persistence is a highly valuable virtue that Berkun highlights, recognizing the myth that people love new ideas, while in fact it is generally the opposite.

New ideas come with great risk, and innovators have to be persistent in the face of many obstacles to get the rest of the world on board.