On Innovation: The Art Of Becoming An Innov-Preneur
October 15, 2021
Posted by: Abner Rodas
Anyone who claims innovation is easy is kidding himself. Commanding your employees to “be innovative!” is like shouting, “Quick—don’t think about elephants!”, and then wondering why their eyes glaze and minds go blank.
More importantly, proponents frequently suppose that innovation begins and ends with creativity, thereby discounting the vast number of electrifying ideas that die unimplemented.
Turning good ideas into corporate breakthroughs requires people committed to rolling up their sleeves and making the ideas work—the people eager to be the internal entrepreneurs.
These “innov-preneurs” are the subject and stars of Innov-preneuring for Results. Recognizing that those who dominate language dominate thought, the authors embrace their neologism with quiet fervor, offering a sequence of rules, guidelines, examples, and observations on what it takes for the innov-preneur to clear internal hurdles and “make innovation happen within established organizations”.
Here the subtitle suits words to action: the volume is a true handbook, linking prescription to prescience when discussing such issues as the crucial role of sponsors, the design of “innovaprise” workshops (a particularly strong chapter), and the opportunities to develop innovation within a structured process.
The authors are also remarkably adept at offhand insights, ranging from “ask for resources before asking for advice” to “lower your status by lowering your height”. If you’ve ever been intimidated by an overly tall boss who insists on delivering counsel from his personal mountaintop, then you’ll recognize the truth in the advice.
Complementing this sage wisdom is the book’s tone of calm conviction, of ardent urging minus artificial urgency. The authors are to be congratulated for eschewing self-promotion; although they inevitably cite their own clients and case studies, they barely mention their own involvement.
Similarly, in an extended description of intrapreneuring in the U.S. Forest Service, Pinchot and Pellman list several reasons why the Forest Service’s enterprise team experiment succeeded, none of which is “input from inordinately brilliant consultants”. Thus when the authors take particularly provocative stands—the best intrapreneurs “come to work each day willing to be fired”—the reader is far more likely to interpret them as wise counsel and give them the credit they’re due.
Intrapreneuring in Action cannot be all things to all people. Although the authors believe their principles apply as readily to internal system improvements as to new products, they unconsciously overemphasize the latter in their notions of market research, financial planning, product launch, and the like.
The handbook style can verge on the choppy and disconnected, so many readers—as the authors themselves acknowledge—may prefer to skip around and pluck out sections as needed.
Nonetheless, Intrapreneuring in Action remains one of the most accessible and invigorating of the innovation books currently fighting for space on Amazon.com’s virtual shelves.
Aspiring intrepreneurs, not to mention past proprietors of neighborhood lemonade stands, will have plenty of reason to read this book through. Twice.
Author: Abner Rodas
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