Digital Innovation Playbook

If you are looking for an interesting book to start off 2012, the Digital Innovation Playbook might be for you.  Author and Innovator Nicholas Webb has provided his unique perspective on the use of digital and social media to drive customer value.  Rules of successful innovation management have changed drastically. Topical questions such as:

o  How does the digital universe is driving the most innovative organizations?

o  How do you increase breakthrough in incremental innovation?

o  How do you digitize open innovation?

o and for all you number crunchers out there, How do you build sales while reducing costs?

will be explored and answered.  Do you need a digital culture? Yes, most certainly.  Corporate culture is the foundation on which you build your organization and your ability to innovate.  Webb speaks to the need for active listening – a novel concept to many organizations who pay lip service to ‘customer feedback’ but do not actually listen to what their customers want.  Digital technologies can provide a listening platform that will drive profitability and develop an authentic relationship with your customer. Why pay attention? As Peter Drucker so wisely stated “there will be two kinds of managers – those who think in terms of a world economy and those who are unemployed.”  Webb gives insights into reaching and listening to that world economy.  You choose which manager you wish to be.

Best wishes for 2012!

The Digital Innovation Playbook: Creating a Transformative Customer Experience

Grow from Within: Mastering Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Robert Wolcoot and Michael Lippitz are both from the Kellogg School of Management and have written an interesting guidebook for breathing new life into organizations. Taking innovation to a new level, corporate entrepreneurship is building new businesse within the framework of the old business.  One of the most important issues addressed by Grow from Within, is how to link your innovation program with corporate strategy.  Designing a new business enterprise is largely about defining and more importantly, implementing a new business model.  As Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft likes to point out: All products and businesses go through three distinct phases – vision, patience and execution. This book will give you some valuable insight into those phases and how you can import them into your current organization. Check out the website as well.

Grow from Within: Mastering Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Seeing Differently

John Seely Brown has long been a favourite author of mine.  His insights on innovation are timeless and this book proves no exception.  First introduced in 1988 and revised most recently in 1997, Seeing Differently is worth revisiting.  Why?  John Ruskin (Modern Painters) in 1888 says it best –

“The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something, and tell what it saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion — all in one.”

To do things differently, we must see differently.  Seely Brown shows us how.

Seeing Differently: Insights on Innovation

Design-Driven Innovation

The Italians have known something about design for centuries so it should be no surprise to find this book coming out of Milan. Roberto Verganti has written an elegant treatise on the principles of design and how they apply to driving a culture of innovation that creates new markets, new ideas and new paradigms. Juicy!


This is one of the best books I have read in a long time.  Authors, Mario Raich and Simon Dolan have produced an intriguing roadmap into our future – business and society in transformation. Dolan, a professor at ESADE is one of the reasons why Barcelona has one of the best business programs in the world.  This book will give you a taste of where business needs to focus in order to survive in this new economy.  It also shows why North America is falling behind in innovation.

Beyond: Business and Society in Transformation


The brothers Heath have done it again.  If you liked Made to Stick, you will enjoy this new offering. Change management is a buzzword that describes an interesting occupation.  Most change agents last about 18 months on average in an organization, before the organization ‘kills’ them and the change initiative.  Why is change so hard?

Using storytelling narrative, the authors explore how our emotional brain drives behavior – shedding light on why logic doesn’t produce change.  Change is hard because people wear themselves out – the authors point out that people may be just exhausted.  If our unconscious emotion drives behavior – how to reach it?  This book tells you how.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Creativity in Business

This book is “Dedicated to the Creative Resource within everyone and to those who enjoy making life itself a work of art.”

In the late 1970’s, Michael Ray and Rochelle Meyers pondered the massive amount of information in business and the inability to cut through the growing chaos. Their answer  – to launch a course called Creativity in Business for the Master of Business Administration program at Stanford. Both were dedicated to creative work – Meyers as an artist and musician and through her work as a business consultant through the Meyers Institute for Creative Studies; Ray as a social psychologist and business professor who had worked with creativity in the classroom since the 1960’s.

The course was developed because of the growing concern over the failure of an over-reliance on the analytic approach to business. They found that there was more than just inductive and deductive reasoning in business success – abductive, intuitive processes were also at work.  How to capture this undervalued mode of thought?  And most importantly, how to grow the creative impulse found in all of us to drive business innovation?

The result was the beginning of a movement called ‘Creativity in Business’ that is still alive and well today.  If you want to explore your creative capacity, this is an excellent place to start your journey.

Creativity in Business