September 28th 2009

Innovation & creativity books

Innovation & creativity books

Innovation. The five disciplines for creating what customers want. Curtis R. Carlson & William W. Wilmot. 2006. ISBN 0307336697. SRI International is where the authors had their careers.  SRI has pioneered innovations that day in and day out are part of the fabric of your life, such as:

•The computer mouse and the personal computer interface you use at home and work

•The high-definition television in your living room

•The unusual numbers at the bottom of your checks that enable your bank to maintain your account balance correctly

•The speech-recognition system used by your financial services firm when you call for your account balance or to make a transaction.

Each of these innovations—and literally hundreds of others—created new value for customers. And that’s the central message of this book. Innovation is not about inventing clever gadgets or just “creativity.” It is the successful creation and delivery of a new or improved product or service that provides value for your customer and sustained profit for your organization. The first black-and-white television, for example, was just an interesting, cool invention until David Sarnoff created an innovation—a network—that delivered programming to an audience.  This book tells how to do it through the use of their real life examples.

iconoclast. a neuroscientist reveals how to think differently. Gregory Berns. 2008. ISBN. 9781422115015. By looking at lots of people “who do things that others say can’t be done” the author gives you practical ways to unleash your creativity. We know them (Steve Jobs!) and here is how they get things done. Well annotated.

Relevance. Making stuff that matters. Tim Manners. 2008. ISBN 9781591842200. Stop worrying about demographics, fads, and cutting-edge advertising. Instead, focus on relevance. Manners shares how the best of the best create solutions to their customers problems and help them live happier lives. You’ll learn how: Levis reasserted relevance when it created wardrobe solutions for men. Dunkin Donuts stopped trying to mimic the look and feel of Starbucks and found success by delivering a simple, quick cup of joe. Hasbro reinvented board games for today’s time-pressed consumers. Kleenex’s new germ-fighting tissues helped keep the company relevant by turning a useful product into a necessary one. Staples stopped wasting its shoppers time with extraneous products. Nintendo‘s simple design for the Wii appealed to consumers of all ages and game designers alike, allowing it to outsell its competitors. Well written – good for a short flight.

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

In Pursuit of Elegance. Why the best ideas have something missing. Matthew E. May. 2009. ISBN 9780385526494.  Stories about elegant things like the Sopranos finale, Sudoku, iPhoneLance Armstrong and others, this is a fun book that I found very uplifting. You will learn that the elegant things have symmetry, seduction, subtraction and sustainability.  Some of this was counter intuitive.

The  Genius Machine. The 11 steps that turn raw ideas into brilliance. Gerald Sindell. 2009. ISBN 9781577316503.   This is a step by step, pragmatic and simple system to develop an idea, think though an issue or create a revolutionary innovation. Short but really powerful book, that set me on my heels.

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