I am happy to announce that my next book will be published by Portfolio Penguin on September 29, 2011.
Best Practices Are Stupid:
40 Ways to Out-Innovate the Competition.
This book contains 40 bite-sized tips and tricks for creating a culture of innovation.
Most are quite counterintuitive or irreverent. For example:
- Asking for Ideas is a Bad Idea
- Don’t Think Outside the Box; Find a Better Box
- The Difference Between a Pipeline and a Sewer is What Flows Through It
- You Get What you Measure, But Will You Get What You Want?
- Hire People You Don’t Like
And 35 other unconventional ways to make your organizations a nimble, innovation machine.
I will share more, including the book cover, as soon it becomes available.
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Researchers often throw around the Edison quote, “I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.”
Researchers use this quote because it “validates” the iterative development innovation process, which is the cornerstone of most R&D departments. They have convinced themselves that they learn as much from their failures as they do from their successes. Call it what you want, the 700 attempts were failures.
This viewpoint goes counter to the concept of open innovation (external crowdsourcing). When some R&D people look at open innovation, they see it as linear rather than iterative; post a challenge and get a solution. This seems inconsistent with their belief in learning from failures.
Perhaps the value of iterative development is overrated.
What if Edison found a solution to the light bulb challenge on the first try? Would that be bad? Would he have continued to find the 700 ways that did not work? Did the 700 failures really add that much value? Can R&D organizations afford to fail 700 times? Not in today’s competitive environment.