The Truth About Innovation

“infobox Book”
name The Truth About Innovation
orig title
author Max Mckeown
country United Kingdom
language English
classification Non-Fiction
publisher Prentice Hall
release_date 2008
media_type Print (Paperback)
pages 264
isbn ISBN-10: 0273719122 (first edition)

Executive Summary

Max Mckeown, an influential management consultant, further established his credibility with his sixth book, the comprehensive, practical, and readableThe Truth About Innovation, published in 2008.
Mckeown explains 55 truths, or principles, about innovation that are drawn from the body of research and the experience he has of working with large organisations that are attempting to innovate.

Chapter Summaries

Truth 01: Innovation is new stuff that is (made) useful

Mckeown defines innovation as new stuff that is made useful. This definition leads to two questions “how new is new?” and “useful for whom?”. He distinguishs between ideas, insights, inventions, and innovations. He categorises the newness of innovation from incremental, radical, and revolutionary. He makes a distinction between innovation that is independent and that which is dependent – concluding that most innovation is dependent on other ideas, innovations, and inventions. He argues that the user determines how useful an innovation is and that human kind ‘make’ innovations useful through adaptation.

Truth 02: A beautiful idea is never perfect

Mckeown uses the examples of Target, Walmart, and K-Mart to argue that a beautiful idea is never perfect. All these companies were founded in the same year with the same idea – discount retailing. However each one has prospered at different times by improving upon the implementation and conceptualisation of the idea. K-Mart did time-limited bargains, Walmart did everyday low prices, while Target asks it’s customers to pay less while expecting more.

Truth 03: A crisis is a terrible thing to waste

Crisis creates urgency that can be used to encourage action and help people out of their complacency. Those leaders that use external crises to promote innovation and those that can emphasis a sense of urgency will be more likely to overcome the barriers to innovation. Examples from Samsung are given in which the CEO time-limits product go-to-market times in order to heighten creativity. Examples also given of Intel’s paranoia with it’s strengths and weaknesses.

Truth 04: A great innovation deserves a great name

Truth 05: A fool can do either, a genius does both

Truth 06: All new ideas are made of old ideas

Truth 07: Bet small to win big

Truth 08: Better to ask forgiveness than permission

Truth 09: Creativity is a process not an action

Truth 10: Creativity is its own reward

Truth 11: Crowds are mad, bad,and advantageous to know

Truth 12: Cut innovation some slack

Truth 13: Cure apathy by sharing purpose

Truth 14: Do what your competition wont

Truth 15: Don’t get lost in translation

Truth 16: Different structural strokes for different folks

Truth 17: Even useless can be useful

Truth 18: Every company needs an idea market

Truth 19: Everyone can learn to think better

Truth 20: Find the buzz that can work for your people

Truth 21: Free your children before someone eats them

Truth 22: Get your ducks in a row

Truth 23: Got to share to get more

Truth 24: Hell hath no fury like a talent spurned

Truth 25: Hire for how they learn, not what they know

Truth 26: How much is the future worth?

Truth 27: Ideas are fragile, handle with care

Truth 28: Innovate your way out of recession

Truth 29: Innovation can be measured

Truth 30: Innovation is not everywhere

Truth 31: It’s a cultural thing

Truth 32: Just enough disunity for progress

Truth 33: Leaders get the innovation they deserve

Truth 34: Little differences make a big difference

Truth 35: Look outside for a bigger brain

Truth 36: Madonna knows more than your boss

Truth 37: Meeting of minds not mindless meetings

Truth 38: Most things will fail, get over it

Truth 39: Not all networks are created equal

Truth 40: Open spaces, open minds

Truth 41: People judge your first, then your ideas

Truth 42: Power is originality’s best friend

Truth 43: Quick fixes can lead to great innovations

Truth 44: Reinventing the wheel is a good thing

Truth 45: Second can be better than first

Truth 46: Some ideas are easier to swallow

Truth 47: Sometimes you have to gamble everything

Truth 48: Success is an S-shaped curve

Truth 49: The ideal design is the simplest design

Truth 50: This is going to hurt

Truth 51: Understand change to make progress

Truth 52: Welcome to the innovation factory

Truth 53: What you know can hurt you

Truth 54: Who the hell cares where it was built

Truth 55: You can’t control waves so learn to surf!

: Business, Investing, Finance