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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Book Review - "Robert's Rules of Innovation"

by Braden Kelley

Robert's Rules of InnovationA few weeks ago I received "Robert's Rules of Innovation" by Robert F. Brands with Martin J. Kleinman in the mail. "Robert's Rules of Innovation" is an approachable 200 pages, and is an easy, and pleasant read.

Robert F. Brands is a consultant, speaker, contributor to Blogging Innovation, and former CEO of Airspray N.V. - manufacturer of the ubiquitous foaming pumps on soaps of all kinds.

The book lays out a self-described 10-step program for corporate survival as a set of ten 'innovation imperatives' that are as follows:
  1. Inspire
  2. No Risk, No Innovation
  3. New Product Development Process
  4. Ownership
  5. Value Creation
  6. Accountability
  7. Training and Coaching
  8. Idea Management
  9. Observe and Measure
  10. Net Result and Reward

The book highlights the importance of an innovation audit before your innovation efforts begin, and includes sample innovation audit questions in the book and a more complete version is available on the supporting web site.

If new product development processes have not been formalized sufficiently in your company, the book devotes a significant portion of the text and appendices to new product development process flow charts and other resources and information.

There are many different definitions and quotes about innovation and there is one mentioned from Bruce Sauter in the book that is an interesting one to think about:

"Innovation is a holistic strategy for building organizational culture, empowering the passion to create, developing creative environments that can execute effectively, and creating the potential for market leadership. Innovation is not just happening in the front end of the business development process - it needs to be pervasive throughout the entire value chain."

Robert reinforces more than once in the book the importance of the CEO to innovation. In fact you might infer his perspective to be that the Chief Executive Officer should be the Chief Innovation Officer for innovation to be successful.

At the same time, numerous pages are allocated to the subject of teamwork and the delicate tension between giving "creatives" enough separation to have freedom to create and feel safe to push the boundaries of failure, without separating them too far so that resentment builds or the engagement of other employees falls.

Taken all together I found "Robert's Rules of Innovation" to present a clear approach to innovation for managers looking to begin their innovation journey or for people looking to read up a bit more on the topic.

Please also see our interview with Robert F. Brands.

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Braden KelleyBraden Kelley is the editor of Blogging Innovation and founder of Business Strategy Innovation, a consultancy focusing on innovation and marketing strategy. Braden is also @innovate on Twitter.

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Blogger David said...

If the CEO is important, something is wrong. It's all nice an orthodox to say such a thing, but even in a startup the CEO sells the company to the financial markets, while a product manager sells the product to the market.

5:04 PM  

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