The Innovation Equation – Building Creativity and Risk Taking in your organisation
Book Title: The Innovation Equation: Building Creativity and Risk Taking in your organisation Author: Jacqueline Byrd & Paul Lockwood Brown Publisher: Jossey-Bass Pfeiffer ISBN: 0-7879-6250-3 Reviewer: Mike Morrison The Innovation Equation is a book aimed at explaining some of the principles and hard-won secrets behind successful innovation. It aims to clarify the characteristics of differing cultures and people that take ideas and bring new products, processes and services into existence. It seeks to clarify what innovation is and, most importantly of all, how to develop the innovative capacity of individuals, teams & organisations. The Authors begin by defining innovation they start by using a dictionary definition: “Innovation is the act of introducing something new” and explain that “the act of introducing” is akin to taking risk & “new” is about creativity. This leads on to what the authors call the innovation equation: Innovation = Creativity x Risk Taking: They make clear that innovation may be small or large and that what is innovative in one industry may have been done somewhere else before (or not as the case may be) leading the reader to recognise that innovation is available to all of us and not an elite few within organisations. Once the scene has been set the authors go on to explore the Innovation Equation in detail outlining some of the strengths of individuals and teams based upon their current capacity of Creativity and Risk Taking. They identify eight orientations to innovation and label them: Innovator, Challenger, Dreamer, Sustainer, Modifier, Practicalizer, Synthesizer and Planner.
These orientations are explored in terms of their value and limitations to the organisation and how the coach/ consultant can work with them to begin building the organisations capacity to innovative. The Creatrix model maps the orientations graphically. Included here is a short questionnaire to help the reader identify their current preference and orientation on the Creatrix. Taking the model to another level the authors identify a number of drivers for creativity & risk taking. These drivers are shown to be important in helping individuals and teams to change their current performance. The drivers for Creativity have been identified as: ambiguity, independence, inner directed, uniqueness. The drivers for risk taking have been identified as: authenticity, resilience, self acceptance Case Studies Case studies and examples of how the authors have worked with individuals to change and grow are used to show these drivers in context. A chapter is included which addresses the barriers to change which the authors call “stop signs“. They have included case studies which are accessible and valuable to the reader in understanding practical application of the Creatrix theory. In pulling it together in the context of introducing change, the authors introduce a simple model to aid the change agent in implementing some of the ideas contained in the book. They call this the 4A’s model – Aim Assess, Activate, Apply and go on to give practical guidance as to what type of activities could be done when for effective change. The last section of the book is called “the innovative consultant” and aims to give the reader a competitive advantage in working with clients using some of the concepts in the book on a personal level. Throughout the book case studies, academic references, examples and graphics are use to communicate key ideas, to help understanding and support the reader doing something with the content of this publication. Follow-up: Having followed up on the book and the ideas, the original model was developed in the 70’s and has been used as a tool with 1000’s of individuals over the years. This book marks the re-birth of the model and its re-invention for modern business. This is not just a marketing “re-brand” but a complete academic re-visit to the material and its fit for today’s rapidly changing world. It is a shame that the authors do not fully explain this pedigree within the book as at first sight the model appears to be lacking academic credibility. In summary: This is a practical book with plenty of ideas and concepts for the manager, developer or coach to take away and use. Throughout the authors have included small sections containing “ideas for the consultant” which provide valuable ideas thoughts and actions which any reader can use in their day to day work. Chapter Titles:
- Perspectives on Innovation
- Assessing Innovative Capacity
- Drivers of Creativity & Risk Taking
- Two tales of Innovation
- Stop signs to Innovation
- The Innovation Equation in Action
- The Innovative Leader
- The Innovative Consultant
Overall: It proved to be an interesting and motivating read. It aims to clarify the characteristics of cultures and people that lead new products and services to market and what you can do to improve your competitive advantage. How might it benefit you? More and more organisations list innovation as a value or competence, and too many leave it there. This book would be of value if you:
- Run development programmes that incorporate innovation or change, buy a copy and use some of the workshop ideas on your own programmes.
- Are confused by what innovation actually means in the real word.
- Are a coach who works with individuals or teams that are interested in developing their innovative capacity
- Are a clear-sighted senior manager and want to re-engage your people to become more innovative or adapt to change quicker.
Book rating: (1-5, 5 being excellent):
- Overall 4
- Helpfulness 5
- Layout 3
- Value for Money 4
- Would you recommend it? Yes
For More Information About using the Creatrix Inventory with your organisation to develop individual, team and organisational capacity contact us More on Innovation To read more thoughts in applying innovation follow these links: Developing an Innovative Culture Developing Innovation in teams Innovation and Leadership The Creatrix Micro site The BIR micro site Page reviewed June 2014