I’m asked to review a lot of business books, but will only endorse those that I feel have some real value to share and ones that take a unique and practical approach to business. Braden Kelley’s Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire, is one of those books. Plus, Braden is a really great guy, and the most knowledgeable person I know on the subject of innovation.
Braden forgoes all the hype and quickly hones in on those really useful nuggets of pertinent information. If you haven’t already, you should also check out Braden’s website Blogging Innovation, which carries an absolute wealth of information from many of the world’s best innovation thinkers.
There are a lot of great points in Braden’s book, but my favorite is his focus on the importance of insight and execution in the realm of innovation. It’s one thing to have a great idea, but quite another to know what to do with it and how best to exploit it for the benefit of your customers and shareholders.
Another of my favorite parts is his clear and very powerful explanation of the nine innovation roles. The idea being that there are many aspects to innovation and your aperture should be fairly wide when discussing the topic inside your organization. You’re much more likely to be successful if everyone feels they have a role that relates to your company’s innovation vision and strategy.
- Customer Champion
- Magic Maker
Other exceptional points that Braden addresses, which makes his book unique and extremely usable in my opinion, are the following:
- Your measurement criteria may actually be restricting the flow of the very best ideas
- Use cross-functional teams to evaluate ideas, so that good ideas don’t get killed just because someone lacks the ability to explain them well.
- There is a big difference between useful and valuable – know what it is
- Slow innovation isn’t bad innovation (iPod’s took 3 years to really catch on, and the digital audio player 25 years!)
- The underlying business model of your organization will play a big role in your company’s ability to experience innovation success – don’t underestimate it!
And my absolute favorite concept in Braden’s book, which he sprinkles among the pages, is the notion that having courage and a culture aligned to innovation are key ingredients in any venture into the world of new ideas and insights. So, if you or your organization lacks adequate courage, or has a hard-line culture, disruptive or breakthrough innovation are probably not in your future.