Best Practices are Stupid 40 Ways to Out Innovate the Competition is the subject of one of Steve Shapiro’s innovation tips and the title for this book. Rather than ridicule current approaches to innovation, Shapiro takes a comprehensive and compelling look at the next set of things companies need to do to innovate.
Shapiro points out that innovation is a well-worn subject and that in many cases those tried and true beliefs about innovation are neither innovative nor effective. In response Shapiro offers 40 tips some of which confirm but many of which breath new life into innovation thinking and practice.
The book is recommended to individuals and teams who are looking to initiative innovation programs, particularly for the first time, as it gives fresh thinking to the field. Experienced innovators or students of innovation will find much of the first part of the book familiar and may tend to discount is value. That would be a mistake as Shapiro effectively bridges the best parts of current innovation practices with new ideas to create new results.
The book presents each of the 40 tips in short and focused descriptions, many with examples that make them easier to understand and deploy. In addition, Shapiro makes use of illustrations when it matters to help people see the ideas clearly. This gives the book both an intellectual feel as its stimulates your thinking as well as an actionable and practical side needed to create value from innovation.
Among the better tips I found in the book include:
- Don’t think outside the box; find a better box
- The performance paradox
- Hire people you do not like
- Why pyramids are one of the seven wonders
Other tips are more familiar but provide a comprehensive view of the issues and practices associated with innovation. The combination creates a new set of ‘proven’ practices that give people a leg up on getting new results from their innovation projects.
Read the whole book, which may sound silly but the information in the introduction, overview and appendices is valuable not filler.
The book is recommended for teams starting innovation projects where these new ideas can have the greatest impact. Experienced teams will tend to view many of these tips as ‘old ground’ and need to be encouraged to think differently about innovation and how to employ it in your organization.
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