This book review was an assignment for my recent MBA course on Organizational Change. The read/write was simply fun! People write books to put their thoughts and ideas into words. Books are made up of words and words are symbols. Books will be sold and authors will make money. People read books to be entertained, to relax and to learn. Not every book is well written and informative. Books populate our university libraries, decorate our coffee tables, line our bookshelves, and others stack up on our night tables. Some books end up in the front of a bookstore bargain rack and some books end up in the Good Will Bin. Some books will make the digital path onto our e readers. People read books for many reasons and people write books for many reasons. A book about the creative process of innovation is a rare treat. The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm, written by Tom Kelley, provides a blueprint for managers who must innovate to survive. Kelley is the general manger of IDEO, a company that is recognized as a leader in innovative design. He positions himself as an expert in the field, convices clients to use their methods and inspires us to think out-of-the box.
Michaelangelo, Van Gogh, Brams, and Bob Dylan did not write books about their work while Martha Stewart just keeps publishing. Once our society achieved industrial maturity, we found time to be creative and not just survive. Perhaps we gained insight from a letter or a biography. Although innovation is far from a commodity, design thinking to fuel innovation is within everyone’s grasp. The folks at IDEO survive to create.
1. INNOVATION AT THE TOP: According to Kelley, Innovation was not always a Silicon Valley “hot topic.” Companies outsourced product development for four reasons: raw capacity, speed, expertise and innovation. Kelley contends that innovation is now at the top of this list. He attributes a blend of methodologies, work practices, culture and infrastructure as the formula that has worked for IDEO. This mix includes understanding the market, observing real people, visualizing, evaluating and refining, and implementing to bring order to apparent creative chaos.
2. WINGING IT IN START-UP MODE: a very short synopsis of who and when.
3. INNOVATION BEGINS WITH AN EYE: “If you are not in the jungle, you are not going to know the tiger” and the importance of “focused observation”, “listening to kids”, “learning from people who break the rules”, and “seeing things as verbs.”
4. THE PERFECT BRAINSTORM: “Brainstorming is the idea engine of Ideo Culture” and the seven secrets for better brainstorming include: sharpen the focus, playful rules, number your ideas, build and jump, the space remembers, stretch your mental muscle, and get physical. If you want to kill a brainstorm: the boss gets to speak first, everybody gets a turn, experts only, do it off-site, no silly stuff, and write down everything.
5. A COOL COMPANY NEEDS HOT GROUPS: get the right people, empower teams with the help of “crazy deadlines” and “seemingly unreachable goals.” Characters for hot groups include: the troubleshooter, iconoclast, pulse taker craftsman, technologist, entrepreneur and the cross-dresser.
6. PROTOTYPING IS THE SHORTHAND OF INNOVATION: prototyping is iterative problem solving, a culture and a language and better than pictures. Kelley tells a fascinating story about how Amazon’s Jeff Bezos urgently forged his way from Wall Street to Silicon Valley.
7. BUILD YOUR GREENHOUSE: tear down the walls, don’t take the space seriously, and keep an eye on the body language of your company and have a story-telling entrance.
8. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED: subscribe and surf, play director, hold an open house, inspire advocates, hire outsides, change hats, and cross train to cross pollinate.
9. BARRIER JUMPING: don’t skate over cultural differences and understand market adoption.
10. CREATING EXPERIENCES FOR FUN AND PROFIT: new uses for what exists.
11. ZERO TO SIXTY: speed counts.
12. COLORING OUTSIDE THE LINES: rules are bureaucratic.
13. IN SEARCH OF THE “WET NAP INTERFACE”: keep it simple and fight feature creep.
14. LIVE THE FUTURE: don’t imitate competitors and use visual prototyping.
15. GETTING IN THE SWING: watch, play, think verbs, break rules, be human, and build bridges.
Breaking down Kelley’s book chapter by chapter was extremely helpful for me because I now have a “must do guideline” that I can use to introduce, present, inform, motivate, and hopefully lead change which is inspired by innovation. In our class we are using The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations. I’ll post some insights on this great volume shortly. When I first read Kotter’s Eight Steps I actually thought, “How disappointingly linear” and found the stories not particularly relevant and not specific. Now, however, I appreciate the brilliance of Kotter’s structure because I have come to realize that taking steps is ingrained behavior and hard-wired from an evolutionary perspective. I once worked with a manager who kept saying “we need to take little bites out of the elephant” but failed to realize that “she was the elephant” and that she needed to take “little steps” and “lead by example.” Steps can be an efficient way to get to the next level. I like how Kelley uses the metaphor of an escalator (moving steps) as a more efficient and effective corporate transport method. Kotter’s steps: Increase Urgency, Build the Guiding Team, Get the Vision Right, Communicate for Buy-In, Empower Action, Create Short-Term Wins, Don’t Let Up, and Make Change Stick (Kotter, 2002) are very organized and direct and his book, more than coincidentally was published the year of Kelley’s. The approaches are similar: lists, steps, and stories although Kelley focuses on innovation and Kotter focuses on change and the two are not identical. Change Management is a broad concept which has strategic implications for an organization and can be achieved using various models and techniques. Innovation is a proactive response to an environmental condition and is becomes part of a change strategy.
IDEO is an acclaimed and fascinating company. The first five chapters were extremely valuable because David Kelley provides lots of lists and steps which articulate the essence of innovation with particular regard to design. His stories are very interesting and inspiring. How many people actually know that Jeff Bezos of Amazon drove across America and made desks from doors? I believe in the power of story telling to move and inspire people and it is important for the story to have a purpose.
Opening each chapter with a color photo seemed compelling. For example, the photo of the elephant and the mouse which opens Chapter 8 was technically and metaphorically perfect. I think it is very hard for a book which focuses extensively on innovation to remain relevant when the pace of innovation is accelerated from sheer necessity because of the maturity of capitalism and consumer wants and tastes. This book accomplishes just that. The chapters in the first half of this book show us the what, the why and the how. Kelley provides actionable insights in a simple, straightforward manner. The who is probably more important for those who cannot imagine easily and need concrete examples for inspiration and guidance because people need real stories to inspire them.
Kelley’s book stimulated me in additional ways. I went online and visited Ideo’s brilliantly designed, user friendly website: www.ideo.com. I downloaded their company fact sheet, a well designed and informative one-page PDF. Ideo’s client page visually showcased the projects for over twenty companies. This compelling screen was followed by an alphabetized industry list which expanded to impressive client lists. I visited their very professional video channel: http://vimeo.com/channels/ideo. The c60 Redux Music Player is nothing short of brilliant because it looks like a traditional vinyl record turntable and puts physicality back into playing music while providing the component of digital mix. I shopped at the Apple App Store on my iphone, found great games for kids designed by Ideo, and downloaded Ideo’s Free Deck of Design Cards onto my phone. I listened to Ideo’s CEO, Tim Brown urge designers to think big at TEDGlobal 2009. The digital delivery of their message is consistently compelling, brilliant, entertaining, inspiring and visually rich. Kelley’s book, The Art of Innovation simply put me on a new path. The moment I finish this report, I will start reading Tim Brown’s book, Change by Design. I operated a successful floral design company for fifteen years in New Haven, Connecticut, am a published photographer and an award winning graphic designer. My urge to create comes from within and started at an early age. I enjoy helping people and relish the opportunities when my energy and vision inspire them to think in new ways.
Kelly, T. (2001) The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm. New York: Doubleday.
Kotter, J. P., & Cohen, D. S. (2002). The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.
Flowers make me happy. I love photographing flowers…white flowers are more challenging. Photoshop CS4 has introduced the adjustments panel which makes granular edits a snap.
Many white flowers are particularly fragrant. Freesia, lily of the valley, tuber roses, honeysuckle, lilac, roses, casablanca lilies, peonies, hyacinths, jasmine and magnolia all have a heavenly aroma.
White flower facts:
The White Flower Farm in Litchfield, CT was originally founded by a NY Times reporter. At first, he bred only white flowers. The strains were hard to maintain, though, and colors crept in.
The JFK library is Boston, MA has a beautiful planting of rambling roses and pines reminiscent of the Cape Code seashore. Over the years, pink roses have appeared because the white strain orignally planted is impossible to maintain intact in nature.
Shakespeare’s works are planted with multiple references to flowers.
Antheriums, orchids, amaryllis, and cala lilies are beautiful and a pleasure to photograph but not so fragrant.
My husband is very interested in politics so one ear in our liberal house is always tuned to a political discussion. Personally, I have less than zero tolerance for the “right” viewpoint. It seems that the “right” is winged out a bit and lacks leadership. Years ago, as an undergrad, I started as a political science major but switched to art history and now study Business Administration. Not exactly full circle but definitely non linear.
Recently, I ran across an interesting scholarly article that connects politics and blogging. This study applies Word Wide Web network theory to an examination of the community structure of the 2004 U.S. Democratic Presidential candidates John Kerry’s blog. The study used data mining to reveal strong similarities between candidate’s blog networks and Word Wide Web networks. Burstiness is comment activity during real-world campaigns. Blog networks are interpersonal communication devices.
For me, the main takeaways of this interesting article:
- There was little use of blogs before 2004 to engage citizens
- 2004 campaign introduced strong use of social software and was inspired by the unsuccessful primary campaign of Howard Dean
- Barak Obama used his senate blog and podcasts and campaigned successfully leveraging technology
- Blogs sidestep the mainstream media
- Network theory has its foundation in math graph theory and overlays the scalable theory of internet communication
- The world wide web is a scale free network which gains distinction from random networks
- Network theory is useful when applied to real word social networks, information networks, tech networks, and bio networks
- Patterns of linking structure exhibits a power law distribution which results in a smaller number of web pages having a great majority of inbound links
- Information is rapidly diffused via scale free networks
- Weak ties serve as bridges between diverse networks and network values scale exponentially
- The internet and blogs reengage citizens
- Cyberbalkanization (really cool word…but nothing in Wikipedia) is group polarization and the movement to more extra positions.
- Additional Reading
- Burstiness predicts states of network development
- A few blog users are responsible for a great percentage of comments
- Analysis of the Kerry Blog data included retrieving and storing data after the campaign blog went down and looking through code for time stamping, names, comments, etc.
- SQL uses robust macro analysis – this technique was employed to retrieve the data
- Power law applies the notion of early entrance and continuity
- Surface level burstiness maps to real world events – this a very significant finding
Run a search for author Sharon Meraz at http://www.allacademic.com
Meraz, Sharon. “Using Blogs to Extend the Public Sphere? Data Mining the John Kerry Candidate Blog for Networked Community Structure Dynamics” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Dresden International Congress Centre, Dresden, Germany, 2009-02-05
The one event I look forward to the most every year is the Orchid Show at The New York Botanical Garden. On Sunday, I spent several hours in the Enid Haupt Conservatory at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. I just spent most of the next snowy day, Monday, March 2, in front of the computer and I ‘m reasonably satisfied with the results. I pumped up the blacks in Lightroom and cropped aggressively. I prefer macro work which focuses on the center of you guessed it….orchids. A visit to the NYBG Orchid Show is infinitely more satisfying than taking photos in my studio. I absolutely love the interface for the show…the brilliant orchids against that vibrant green say so much about the concept of the show.
Let’s step aside a moment to consider Holistic Marketing where everything matters and explore the connection to the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden.
Just so we’re in sync – the four components of holistic marketing are:
1. Relationship marketing - builds mutually satisfying long-term relationships. .
2. Integrated marketing - satisfies needs and surpass expectations.
3. Internal marketing - all teams work together and think customer.
4. Performance marketing - is financially accountable and social responsible.
Back to the Orchid Show at the New York Botanical Garden. Consider me a target customer. I give the NYBG a 100% rating. This is a snapshot of our day:
- Visit the NYBG website at home in CT, order and print tickets.
- Find it easy top park in their Lot and there is plenty of extra parking across the street.
- Stop by the Gift Shop to select a birthday present for a baby girl named Amelia and a toy for our young neighbor, Jake.
- Glance through a few of the hundreds of unique botanical books and the “official Orchid Show book” is…was that a mistake $4.99…not $17.99.
- We spent a few more minutes enjoying the Gift Shop and decide to become members. We saved 20% of our purchase in addition to refunding the price of the tickets to our purchase.
- Jim, the Director of the Shop, was genuinely cheerful and engaging. He helped me to select a pair of earrings that were real orchids coated in resin. We haven’t even gone into the show yet and already the day is perfect.
- People at the show were happy and considerate when they notice others aiming cameras. The security guards were really nice when they reminded a few visitors not to use tripods and monopods. They offered to snap shots of visitors and seemed happy to be there.
- Keep in mind that everyone at the NYBG, visitors and staff are surrounded by unsurpassed beauty.
The folks at the NYBG totally get holistic marketing. Everything matters, particularly delivering the promise of the unique value proposition. I have a long history with the NYBG. My father took me there on Saturday mornings when I was a child. I graduated from Fordham University directly across the street. I studied professional floristry there in the 1980’s. Now, almost 30 years later, The New York Times has a rave review.
The entire experience is extremely pleasant. I am inserting a few of my favorite pics into this blog.
Please feel free to visit my photo gallery from the NYBG Orchid show.
On Sunday I spent several hours taking photographs in the Butterfly Garden at the Museum of Science in Boston, MA. I love Photoshop but always aim to take the perfect picture that will need no edits or perhaps a simple level or curves adjustment and a crop and sharpen. I’ve written Photoshop actions to automatically add adjustment layers when I open up the raw/NEF files. CS4 has a nifty new ADJUSTMENTS PANEL that eliminates the need to take those extra steps for non-destructive edits. Lightroom 2 has superb Web Gallery functionality built right in and additional toning functionality more reminiscent of a “traditional darkroom” set up…not a toolbox. Again, the edits are non-destructive!
My Butterfly Garden is the first time I put up an entire web photo gallery via Lightroom without making a single edit first in Photoshop…not one. Please keep in mind that I tend to crop aggressively and prefer macro work so most of my final photos typically have an even closer viewpoint. Nevertheless, my experiment generated pleasing results. I certainly could have done some additional editing on some of the hilights and shadows in Photoshop but resisted the impulse on principle . Scott Kelby and Chris Orwig are famous Photoshop/Lightroom gurus (my favorite gurus) and they are right on target with their recommendations about incorporating Lightroom into your photography workflow.
Back to the MOS Butterfly Garden: the room is narrow, humid, and warm between 77 and 87 degrees. An entire wall of large glass panes overlooks the chilly Boston Harbor. Butterflies are everywhere. One landed on my hair. I felt the tickle of tiny steps across my head. Some of the butterflies are very active and others barely move. The varieties and colors are amazing. Visitors are simply overjoyed. I see different beautiful creatures every visit. The aroma of very ripe fruit blends with the fragrance of flowering plants. The moist air intensifies this intoxicating combination of scents. This experience is extremely pleasant. I am inserting a few of my favorite pics into this blog. Also feel free to visit my complete Butterfly Garden Web Gallery.
Back to the MOS Butterfly Garden: I left by the exit a few times just to cool off a bit. Immediately upon exiting, the corridor room seems very cool by comparison. The computer exhibit is next door to the Butterfly Garden. Not ultra nerdy…but the energy in the room is very different. You can trace the path of a keystroke input, thru BIOS to ASCI and screen output. An early Gigabyte mini drive, about one third the size of a business card is placed in front of an “earlier” hard drive larger than one of the glass panels in the Butterfly Garden next door. Both drives have their inner workings exposed and look quite similar except in dimension. Compact flash cards have non-magnetic drives which are more rugged and durable and write data quickly for digital photography. This is not quite sensory overload.
Recently, we joined the Yale Peabody Museum in New Haven, CT. The Peabody has a reciprocal agreement with the Museum of Science. Talk about ROI.