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Getting Innovation Right: How Leaders Leverage Inflection Points to Drive Success

ISBN: 978-1-118-37833-5
272 pages
March 2013, Jossey-Bass
Getting Innovation Right: How Leaders Leverage Inflection Points to Drive Success (1118378334) cover image
Real-world strategies for uncovering potential and capitalizing on opportunity

Innovation is worth little unless it generates lasting success, and gaining measurable results from new ideas requires more than creative risk-taking. Successful innovation demands a tactical approach, and Getting Innovation Right reveals how your company can secure real traction and growth in the marketplace. With Seth Kahan's outcome-based approach, based on his experience leading innovation initiatives at a diverse range of organizations, you will identify the inflection points that generate market opportunities for your company and leverage the best techniques for securing a foothold in a lucrative new space.

  • Offers a framework of 7 key activities for results-driven innovation, from intelligence-gathering through execution
  • Goes beyond abstract advice to offer hands-on approaches that are relevant and applicable in any organization
  • The companion and follow-up to Seth Kahan's bestselling first book,Getting Change Right and FastCompany.com blog Leading Change

Grounded in market-based reality, Getting Innovation Right is an indispensable resource for leaders looking to drive results and move in fresh directions.

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List of Figures and Tables ix

Introduction xi

1 Pursue and Leverage Inflection Points 1

Expert Input: Cindy Hallberlin of Good360.org on Getting Ahead of an Inflection Point 31

2 Build Innovation Capacity 37

Expert Input: Jeanne Tisinger of the Central Intelligence Agency on Building Capacity 44

Expert Input: Paul Pluschkell of Spigit on Idea Management 59

3 Collect Intelligence 65

Expert Input: Ken Garrison of Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals on Competitive Intelligence 86

4 Shift Perspective 93

Expert Input: Roger Martin of the University of Toronto’s Joseph L. Rotman School of Management on Thinking Differently 104

5 Exploit Disruption 109

Expert Input: William D. Eggers of Deloitte’s Public Leadership Institute on Disruption and Government 124

6 Generate Value 147

Expert Input: Mark Katz of Arent Fox LLP on Generating Value 158

7 Drive Innovation Uptake 183

Expert Input: Mark Hurst of Creative Good on Getting Close to Customers 201

Appendix A: Sample Business Intelligence Contract 219

Appendix B: High-Level Outline of a Typical Business Plan 223

Appendix C: Simplified Business Plan Financial Model 225

Notes 227

Acknowledgments 233

About the Author 235

Index 237

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Seth Kahan is an executive strategy consultant and author. He works directly with CEOs on change and innovation initiatives and teaches over 25,000 professionals every year in conferences and professional seminars. He has worked with Royal Dutch Shell, World Bank, the Peace Corps, and many other organizations. His first book, Getting Change Right, was a Washington Post bestseller, and he writes regularly for Fast Company's website. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife, daughter, and son.

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“Everybody knows you have to innovate to be a success, but it's easier said than done. Getting Innovation Right is a master class in mastering the current business landscape. Reading this book will give you real-world examples of innovation at work, along with tested templates for action, so you can take your creativity and drive and use them to create exciting products and services your customers will clamor for.”
—Daniel H. Pink, author, Drive and A Whole New Mind

“In this dynamic and challenging global economy, those that succeed will be those who innovate. Seth Kahan's new book outlines the step-by-step keys to successful innovation and a brighter future. Getting Innovation Right is a must-read roadmap to success.”
—Steve Neibergall, president, Safeway Eastern Division

“It is important to get some practical advice in a world filled with innovation theory. That's exactly what Seth offers in Getting Innovation Right.
—John H. Graham, IV, CAE, president & CEO, American Society of Association Executives

Getting Innovation Right is one of the most compelling business books to come around in a long time. The tools and techniques Seth Kahan has outlined are clear, direct, and easy to apply to any business situation. His well-reasoned approach will allow all leaders to engage in key activities that will drive success in the marketplace for their innovations.”
—Mary E. Power, CAE, CMP; executive director, HR Certification Institute

Getting Innovation Right is, most of all, a pragmatic read. Imagine if you had a systematic approach to improving your thinking. This is it.”
—Alan Weiss, PhD, author, Million Dollar Consulting and The Innovation Formula

“With Getting Innovation Right, Seth has delivered a guide for leaders everywhere to help accelerate their team’s innovation through real-world examples and pragmatic insight.”
—Kevin Parker; president, CEO, and chairman of the board, Deltek, Inc.

“As a client of Seth’s I am happy he has written a book that spells out the successes he has had with a number of organizations. There are great lessons here. He took on tough challenges and turned them into success stories. Getting Innovation Right will resonate far beyond the industries his book covers. We can all learn from others’ success when it comes to innovation.”
—Ralph Nappi, president, The Association for Suppliers of Printing, Publishing and Converting Technologies

“Seth is a boundless strategic thinker and motivator. Getting Innovation Right can propel your organization’s next move upward. Finding that elusive formula is the key to achieving sustainable, profitable revenue growth, and Seth gets the job done in an entertaining way.”
—Mike Panaggio, chairman, DME Holdings, LLC

“Seth does it again with his latest book, Getting Innovation Right, by providing a simple approach to attacking innovation. It is having the courage to innovate that will differentiate us from all the rest and is what we all strive for. After reading this book, you will not only have an approach to utilize, but the tools to help you make things happen quickly and succeed.”
—Michaela Oliver, senior vice president of human resources, Rosetta Stone, Inc.

Getting Innovation Right emphasizes a maturity that all business executives should develop. I highly recommend this book, as it captures both basic business fundamentals and a dynamic approach for executives to rethink processes and strategy on an ongoing basis.”
— Anthony J. Cancelosi, K.M., president and CEO, Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind

“In this massively disruptive and mostly distracting business environment, you have but one choice: innovate, or evaporate. But you must get it right, which isn’t easy. Enter Seth Kahan’s Getting Innovation Right.”
—Matthew E. May, author, The Laws of Subtraction and The Shibumi Strategy

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April 11, 2013
Getting Innovation Right

Innovation is often associated with creativity, freewheeling experiments, tolerance for mistakes and failures, play, collaboration and curiosity. However, clever ideas and willingness to take risks are not enough to drive results in the harsh realities of commerce. To innovate effectively, corporations must have the skills to not only create a new product or service, but also to generate market desire for this innovation, resulting in corporate profit and growth. Without such success, innovation is nothing but wasted time and money.

In his new book, Getting Innovation Right: How Leaders Leverage Inflection Points to Drive Success (Wiley; 978-1-118-37833-5; March 2013; $27.95), respected international speaker, trainer and consultant, Seth Kahan, provides the ultimate guide to innovation that yields positive results. He offers practical, outcome-based instructions for identifying and taking advantage of opportunities for innovation, generating lasting value for clients and therefore sustained market success. Drawing from his experience working with hundreds of leaders and top organizations, Kahan presents seven steps for innovating well in today’s tumultuous economy and avoiding wasting valuable resources:

  • Pursue Inflection Points: Identify and pursue potential favorable shifts in the company’s relationship with the market.
  • Build Innovation Capacity: Build the foundation of internal leadership, talent and idea management necessary to cope with the stress of innovation.
  • Collect Intelligence: Consistently gather and apply pertinent information to equip the company to make smart strategy decisions.
  • Shift Perspective: Recognize new opportunities by questioning assumptions and viewing the world from a different perspective.
  • Exploit Disruption: Turn difficult situations to the company’s advantage.
  • Generate Value: Create value that motivates customers to purchase the company’s product or service.
  • Drive Innovation Uptake: Reach out to those most likely interested in the company’s  product to ensure it is well-received in the market.

With templates, guidelines and step-by-step instructions, Getting Innovation Right enables readers to immediately implement Kahan’s instructions, generating market opportunities and securing a foothold in a lucrative new space. According to Steve Neibergall, president of Safeway’s eastern division: “In this dynamic and challenging global economy, those that succeed will be those that innovate… Getting Innovation Right is a must read road-map to success.” Grounded in real market experience and featuring advice from several innovation experts, Kahan’s book is an indispensable resource for leaders looking to push the envelope in a manner that produces the greatest possible results. 

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