The Innovative Leader by Paul Sloane

4 August 2015 | I read a few books. The Innovative Leader by Paul Sloane is the most interesting and helpful I have read. It is because of not only the information, stories, and structure but also plenty of notes and ideas have come while enjoying reading the book. Indeed, many of them became presentations and talks delivered to corporate clients. Thanks to Paul Sloane.

It is noteworthy that a good book does not need be good by its contents and authors but the ideas it brings to readers. It is even better if the ideas are different from what the authors are telling.

Section 1: Leading innovation
1. Have a vision for change
2. Issue a declaration of innovation
3. Set drastic expectations
4. Fight the fear of change
5. Tell stories
6. Set goals for innovation
7. Get rid of the cynics
8. Throw down a challenge
9. Encourage dissent
10. Be an arsonist and a fire fighter
11. Think like a venture capitalist
12. Break down internal barriers
13. Destroy the hierarchy
14. Have your best people working on innovation
15. Be passionate

Section 2: Problem analysis
1. Diagnose the current situation
2. Analyse problems
3. Ask ‘Why, Why?‘
4. Use Six Serving Men
5. Redefine the problem
6. Ask ‘What business are we in?‘

Section 3: Generating ideas
1. Have a suggestions scheme
2. Run ideas events
3. Allow line manager bypass
4. Plan your brainstorm meetings
5. Brainstorm meetings – generate great ideas
6. Brainstorm meetings – evaluate the ideas
7. Juice up your brainstorm meetings
8. Bring in unrelated experts
9. Use a facilitator
10. Break the rules
11. Define your ideal competitor
12. Try weird combinations
13. Go for quantity
14. Try a different environment
15. Conceive a different business model
16. Ask ‘Who killed our business?‘
17. Look for new ways to reach the customer
18. Anticipate the wave
19. Innovate by subtraction
20. Look for the solution within the problem
21. Ask ‘What if…?‘
22. Pass the parcel
23. Look for a distant relation
24. Idealize the answer
25. Be careful what and how you reject
26. Wear Six Thinking Hats

Section 4: Implementing innovation processes
1. Allocate time and resources for innovation
2. Give everyone two jobs
3. Identify the need for replacement
4. Borrow with pride
5. Train for innovation
6. Measure progress
7. Broadcast success
8. Reward success
9. Track the astonishing
10. Be cool or outsource cool
11. Collaborate
12. Observe customers
13. Co-create
14. Create a community
15. Crowdsource
16. Gate the process
17. Appoint innovation champions
18. Run an innovation incubator
19. Employ an ideas searcher
20. Streamline your approval process
21. Kill the losers
22. Build prototypes
23. Implement
24. Overcome customer resistance

Section 5: Building a creative culture
1. Don’t tell, ask
2. Praise the innovators
3. Focus on what went right
4. Make it fun
5. Welcome failure
6. Fear success
7. Set puzzles
8. Use the right language
9. Make your own products obsolete
10. Trust
11. Empower employees

Section 6: Personal creativity
1. Check assumptions
2. Ask questions
3. Move out of your comfort zone
4. Simplify things
5. Look at things from a different angle
6. Trust your intuitionI
7. Incubate
8. Don’t take the first answer
9. Develop your personal creativity
10. Become an evangelist
11. Simplify your life
12. Be disconnected
13. Visualize with mind maps
14. Keep fit
15. Be lucky


* Paul Sloane (2007). The Innovative Leader: How to Inspire Your Team and Drive Creativity. Kogan Page, 1st Edition.

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