What you could learn from ‘The Innovation Book’ by Max McKeown (2014, 245 pages)
What is innovation? How do you and your company become more innovative? How do you lead and manage creative people? How to you turn your companies best ideas into reality?
All of these questions are challenging for leaders in large organisations. Max McKeown’s ‘The Innovation Book’ is an excellent resource to help you answer these questions. The book is divided into six chapters. The preface discusses what innovation is; then chapters 1-5 show you how you can improve your ability to innovate and how to encourage innovation within your organisation. The final chapter is dedicated to helpful tactical tools and frameworks.
Initially, the book focuses on defining innovation. Max argues that innovation is ‘practical creativity’ and demonstrates that the word ‘innovate’ comes from the Latin to renew or alter. Defining innovation as renewal is compelling, but the implications of this powerful. Renewing or altering your current offerings or processes will involve change. However, for or many organisations, change is tough, as most large modern companies are optimised to do a few things well.
Chapter 1 focuses on improving your creativity and innovative ability. There are practical tips on nurturing your creativity, and how to release the status quo and your past work, to pursue new ideas.
Chapter 2 addresses the issues of leading other innovators. Max’s main argument is that you the need to improve the quality and quantity of connections within your organisation, as well as how you create an organisation and culture which encourages innovation.
Chapter 3 shows how you can turn innovation into improvement. Rebels and mavericks can be used to challenge the status quo, and Max also offers tips on how to make the long hard slog from insight to impact.
Chapter 4 covers the essential topic of using innovation to win. While many companies are not at a loss for ideas, most companies struggle using innovation to create a sustainable competitive advantage. By testing your ideas more often, and only scaling ideas that your company is best placed to capitalise on, you can improve your innovation pipeline. In this chapter, Max also cover the need to sell you ideas, both inside and outside your organisation, and also highlights the importance of adapting your organisation to exploit new ideas.
Chapter 5 and 6 draw together and summarise the book, while also offered some useful frameworks and tools to help you on your journey to better innovation.
The Innovation Book is well researched and very well written. Read this book to get a great overview of innovation, as well as tools and techniques to improve both you and your organisation’s ability to innovate.