This is an interesting book. I am writing this summary two days after the passing of Steve Job’s. Here is a man that epitomized Innovation. This is what caught my attention with this book. Everybody thinks of innovation being delivered from the top down. This is true in some cases but not true if you want to cement your value for the organization you work for.
Why is this important to me?
I am not going to waste your time. Let’s face it – most people work for somebody else and this is where this book can really help you in your career. I will put a spin on the ideas and share with you how I act when my teammates demonstrate these traits. I can tell you that they get rewarded even if we disagree. I need unique thoughts, innovations and opinions to keep our organization winning the game.
The number of people sleep walking through their jobs is heartbreaking. I would not wish that upon my worst enemy because it is a waste of time and energy. A Towers Perrin study shows that just 21% of employees are engaged in the work they do and 38% are totally disengaged. This equates to below average results, bad customer service and no profit.
The cornerstone of innovation is a pretty simple idea and that is to Eliminate. If you consider the design of the IPOD you see elimination at work. Compare it to a standard Casio MP3 player and look at the differences in packaging, buttons, sturdiness and usability. The IPOD has a lot less and is worth much more.
Robert’s book is broken down into 7 different Innovation or I-Skills. For the sake of time, I am going to highlight three major points and give you my spin on why they are important from a business owner’s perspective.
1. Annoyances – Annoyances provide unlimited opportunities for innovation. Think about every time your customer calls in with a complaint there is an opportunity to think about the complaint and fix it so it does not happen again. This is an iterative process that yields results. The key is to put a solution into place and start it.
2. Eliminate – People buy for two reasons either to eliminate pain or gain pleasure. In order to have more pleasure than eliminating the non-essentials becomes critical. Creating value and focusing on value oriented work is the staple of a successful organization. Thus the nonsensical work needs to be identified and eliminated. The key is to schedule time and take note of what you are doing. Think about these stats – the average manager receives 150 emails per day, knowledge workers get interrupted on average, every three minutes and 25% of workers say their meetings, emails and voicemails are unmanageable. How much of this busy work truly adds value? Answer that question and you can contribute to making a great organization.
3. Action – Innovation is a mindset that simple requires you take action. Assuming that nobody cares or nothing will ever change is a cop out and excuse to stay disengaged. I can tell you that if you show potential as an innovator there is one person in the organization that will care and that is the one who signs your checks.
For your review, below are the seven I-skills. I won’t go into detail on them in the summary but want to share them so you get a flavor of the book.
Embrace the Opportunity Mindset
Become an Assumption Assaulter
Cultivate a passion for the end customer
Think ahead of the curve
Become an Idea Factory
Become a Standout Collaborator
Build the Buy-in for New Ideas
Innovation truly is Everybody’s Business. Engage in the thing that most people won’t and watch your career blossom. Henry Ford said – “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably why so few engage in it. I hope you have found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is to Eliminate. Take inventory of the things you do each day for one week and see where your time goes. Are you spending it or investing it? Focus on the investment side and your career and life will change.
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