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Agile Innovation: The Revolutionary Approach to Accelerate Success, Inspire Engagement, and Ignite Creativity

ISBN: 978-1-118-95420-1
400 pages
September 2014
Agile Innovation: The Revolutionary Approach to Accelerate Success, Inspire Engagement, and Ignite Creativity (1118954203) cover image


Find your company's unique innovation style, and nurture it into a powerful competitive advantage

Praised by business leaders worldwide, Agile Innovation is the authoritative guide to survival and success in today's "innovate-or-die" business world. This revolutionary approach combines the best of Agile with the world's leading methods of Innovation to present a crisp, articulate, and proven system for developing the breakthrough capabilities every organization must master to thrive today and tomorrow.

You already know that effective innovation doesn't happen by accident—it is achieved by careful design. Agile Innovation addresses the three critical drivers of innovation success: accelerating the innovation process; reducing the risks inherent in innovation; and engaging your entire organization and your broader ecosystem in the innovation effort.

The key frameworks described here build on the proven success of Agile to provide a comprehensive and customizable Innovation Master Plan approach to sustained innovation improvement in the five critical performance areas: strategy, portfolio, process, culture and infrastructure.

Major topics include: the power of Agile in the innovation process, how to overcome innovation risk, the best tools to evoke engagement and collaboration, branding as an integral element of innovation, and the best leadership skills and practices that create the special environment that enables transformative growth. Readers will learn specifically how to create better ideas, develop them more efficiently, and work together more profitably and effectively to achieve breakthroughs.

The insights offered in this book are highlighted in 11 detailed case studies illustrating the world's best innovation practices at Wells Fargo, Nike, Volvo, Netflix, Southwest Airlines, NASA,The New York Times, and others, in dozens of specific business examples, in two dozen powerful and unique techniques and methods, and a full set of implementation guidelines to put these insights into practice.

Key Insights:

  • Understand how to implement the many ways that innovation efforts can be accelerated to achieve even greater competitive advantage
  • Learn to create a culture of innovation, greater engagement, and rich collaboration throughout your organization
  • Discover how to reduce risk and accelerate learning
  • Implement your own unique plan to enhance collaborative innovation, from leadership through operations
  • Integrate key agility principles into your strategic planning decisions for sustained improvement
  • Explore dramatic new approaches to open innovation that optimize large scale innovation
  • Apply the latest and best technology tools to enhance innovation, reduce risk, and promote broad participation.

This is a must read book, a practical guide for fostering a culture of innovation, nurturing creativity, and efficiently developing the ideas that drive strategic growth.

And since innovation is not imitation, you know that copying the ideas and strategies of other successful organizations will not produce the desired outcomes. Hence, all leaders must develop their own way of innovating and nurture the right style of collaborating for their own organization. This book will guide you to find your own unique pathways to success.

Blaze your own trail to the high levels of innovativeness and organizational agility by learning from the expert guidance and practical, actionable advice offered throughout this important book.

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Table of Contents


Mastery of Innovation xviii

Why Don’t Large Firms Innovate? xix

Part I The Innovation Revolution 1

Chapter 1 Starting at Sprint Zero: A Better Way to Innovate 5

Wait, Is There . . . Resistance to Change? 8

The Secret Sauce of Innovation 10

Be Your Own Revolution 17

Chapter 2 Becoming Agile Rapidly and Painlessly 21

Individuals and Interactions 23

Working Innovations 25

New Habits 27

Customer Collaboration 27

Adapt or Die 30

The Challenge 31

Chapter 3 Transforming How We Work 34

Innovating Is Learning 36

Transforming Ideation 38

From Insight to Disruption 40

The World Is Changed 41

Transforming Execution: From Assumptions to Evidence 49

Transforming Time: From Meetings to Productivity 50

Transforming Organizations 52

Summary: Eight Organizational Principles 54

Chapter 4 Thriving in Change 59

Defining the Innovation Process 60

Change and Mind-set 62

A Framework for Transformation 66

The Innovation Master Plan 67

Part II Managing Innovation for Tomorrow 71

Chapter 5 Accelerating Success 73

The Need for Speed 73

The Scrum and the Sprint 75

The Agile Software Sprint 78

Innovation and Extreme Sports at Wells Fargo 80

Uncertainty 81

The Agile Innovation IdeaScrum 82

Social Workflow 89

The Research Cycle: Need Finding, Modeling,

Ideation, and Prototyping 92

Volvo + Apple + Symbio + Agile = Creating a New In-Car Interface in Record Time 101

The Agile Innovation Process 105

Chapter 6 Reducing Innovation Risk 115

A System for Innovation 116

Strategy for Agile Innovation 118

Four Types of Innovation 125

Innovation Portfolio Design 128

Portfolio Success Factors 139

Measure to Manage 140

Broader Innovation Portfolio Metrics 142

Automating Portfolio Management 144

Summary 148

Chapter 7 Engaging with Collaborative Teams 150

Transcending Limitations 150

What Is Innovation? 152

People Are the Core 153

The Virtuous Cycle: Key Elements of the

Innovation Culture 155

Promoting Comprehensive Transformation at Wells Fargo 165

Summary: Innovation Culture Metrics 169

Chapter 8 Building Agile Innovation as a Core Competence 171

Agile Coaching 172

Facilitating and Managing Collaboration 173

Removing Roadblocks 178

Orchestrating Team Rhythm 179

Innovation Is a Team Sport 181

Summary: Courage Is a Core Competence 184

Part III Leading the Revolution: From Plans to Actions 187

Innovate as If Your Life Depends on It 187

Chapter 9 Developing Agile Leadership 189

How Apollo 13 Was Able to Return to Earth 190

Is Failure an Option? 198

Leadership and Uncertainty 198

Don’t Settle 199

The Self-Actualized Innovator 200

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs 201

Self-Actualizing Organizations 203

Metavalues 204

Action Steps: It’s All about Leadership 206

What Is Your Passion? 207

Chapter 10 Cultivating Core Creativity 209

Seeing More Deeply 210

Multivisioning 216

Great Stories 219

Practice 220

From Fear to Flow 223

Chapter 11 Achieving an Iconic Brand 226

Branding and Totems 227

Overcoming Brand Blind Spots: A

Case Study 228

Brands and Archetypes 231

Storytelling 237

The Business PanoramaTM 239

Creating Your Icon 244

Chapter 12 Optimizing Your Infrastructure 246

Exploration and Production 247

Dealing with Uncertainty 248

The Virtual Infrastructure 249

Collaboration and Ideation 249

Workflow 250

Portfolio Management 250

Engagement 251

Connectability 252

Dashboards 252

Engagement in a Shared Mental Space 252

Facilitating Innovation 257

The Physical Workplace for Innovation 259

Summary 263

Chapter 13 Advancing Open Innovation 265

Engaging Smart People in Your Innovation Effort 265

Agile + Open = Ecosystem Innovation 269

Openness in Business Ecosystems 271

Technology-Enabled Openness 272

IdeaXML 273

The Next Generation Tool Set 279

The Promise of Intelligent Openness 281

Chapter 14 Traveling the Road to Revolution 284

10 (Easy) Steps 284

The Revolutionary Leader: What Kind of Revolutionary Are You? 288

The Power of Commitment 290

Chapter 15 Using Agile Strategy to Shape Your Organization’s Future 293

Acceleration 294

Agile Strategy: The Evolution of Innovation 296

Three Eras of Innovation Tools 298

Agile Strategy and the Acceleration of History 302

The Approaching Singularity 306

The Agile Economy 307

Our Conclusion: Agile Capitalism 308

Appendix A Critical Questions 315

Questions About You 315

Innovation as a Process 317

Corporate Culture and Management 318

Competition 320

Intellectual Property (IP) 320

Customers 321

Strategy and Leadership 321

Appendix B Resources for Your Revolution 324

The 12 Agile Principles Adapted for Innovation 324

The Eight Cs of Transformational Change 325

The Elevator Test Statement 326

Ideation Lenses and Perspectives for Multivisioning 327

The Business PanoramaTM 329

Appendix C Definitions 330





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Author Information

LANGDON MORRIS is Senior Partner of InnovationLabs, recognized as one of the leading innovation consulting firms worldwide. He is also a Senior Editor of The International Journal of Innovation Science and a Board Member of the International Association of Innovation Professionals.

MOSES MA is a Technology Innovator and Partner at NextGEN Ventures, an advanced technology venture incubator working on leading edge cloud, mobile, and web technologies. Praised by Time magazine and the New York Times, he also writes an acclaimed blog on the psychology of innovation.

PO CHI WU is Vice Chairman of Invotech Hong Kong, a catalyst for change, and Adjunct Professor at the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, where he teaches innovation and entrepreneurship to new generations of Asian business leaders.

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"In today’s world of always-accelerating global competition, organizations either innovate or die. And as the authors of this worthwhile book make clear, innovation in the Networked Age is a team sport. It’s no longer enough just to think differently. You have to think faster. You have to think more productively. And to do that, you need to think collaboratively. This book is filled with good advice on how to do just that. Read it, then share it with your co-workers!"—Reid Hoffman, cofounder/chairman of LinkedIn and coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestseller The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age

“No matter what business you are in, innovation is at the heart and soul of success in the Digital Age. This thought-provoking and inspirational book is a must read for anyone seeking to master the art and science of innovation and accelerated business development. Simply put, it's a map that will lead you and your organization to exponential breakthrough success in the new Digital Gold Rush.”—Jack Canfield, coauthor of The Power of Focus and The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

Agile Innovation promises to profoundly transform businesses and institutions. By bridging the worlds of Agile and traditional corporate innovation, the authors have created a mash-up for business strategy that enables the transformation of self-organizing toward self-optimizing teams and offer a map for the journey to the development of self-actualizing organizations. This must-read book is a strategic imperative for anybody aiming to successfully deliver new products or services in a brutally competitive, digitally-accelerated business world."—Errol Arkilic, CEO of M34 Capital and co-creator of the Innovation Corps

“Innovation is not about new products or services. It is about speed. Agility. The old methods of innovation are slow and rarely involve those who matter most: front-line workers. This book absolutely changes the game and it will change the way you innovate. Don’t delay. Read it now!”—Stephen Shapiro, author of the bestselling Best Practices Are Stupid & 24/7 Innovation, and formerly Director, Accenture, Global Process Excellence Practice

“Innovation has been a hot topic in the worlds of business and academia for most of the last decade. Finally, a comprehensive book has been written about what specific skills and behaviors are need to narrow the gap for companies of all sizes to have innovation become a core driver of sustainable growth and positive financial impact. Today’s corporate leaders must build a culture of agile innovation and this book is the perfect manual for business today.” — Harry W. Kellogg, Vice Chairman, SVB Silicon Valley Bank

“Innovation is too often discussed in the abstract, almost as a spiritual totem. The authors of Agile Innovation de-mystify innovation, and lay out a thoughtful road map for readers to understand how to create innovative organizations. The methodology applies as well to large organizations as start ups and should be on the reading list of anyone who wants to prepare their companies for the rest of the 21st century.”—Gary Rieschel, Founder and Managing Director, Qiming Venture Partners

“Sustainable Innovation: the speed to innovate and the ability to foster a culture where constant creativity is the norm is becoming a critical function for organizations and individuals given the fast pace of today’s global business. Agile Innovation captures the essence of this domain in a succinct, informative and highly engaging manner.”—George Thomas, Partner and Director, IBM Corporation

Agile Innovation is a rare and exceptional book. It has the potential to move the entire field forward, through the clarity of its writing and the importance of its message. If you are going to read any book on innovation this year, make it this one.”—Pascal Baudry, PhD, Founder, WDHB Consulting Group

"This is a very important book, and makes a strong case for a paradigm shift in the methodology of innovation, based on the Agile approach. This must read book is successful in practicing what it preaches – in not just preaching innovation but by demonstrating innovativeness – and deserves to be read carefully and digested thoroughly." —Jeff Sutherland, co-creator of Scrum and author of Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

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Press Release

September 19, 2014
Agile Innovation: Leap to the Next Level of Innovation New Book Proposes Powerful, Systematic Approach to Breakthrough Innovation

Innovation is one of the most important topics in business today, with its many variants ranging from incremental innovation to frugal innovation; from disruptive innovation to sustainable innovation. Companies all over the globe are focused on this key aspect to continuously improve their business models and adapt to the ever-changing business environment.


With their book Agile Innovation: The Revolutionary Approach to Accelerate Success, Inspire Engagement, and Ignite Creativity (WILEY; September 2014; Hardcover & e-book; ISBN :978-1-118-95420-1; $32.00) co-authors, Langdon Morris, Moses Ma and Po Chi Wu offer a compelling new approach for sustained innovation improvement and draws from thought-provoking real-world examples to show how companies, from underfunded startups to monolithic global businesses, can take the next big leap in both strategy and implementation to achieve true innovation, sustainable growth and competitive advantage.

The book offers a comprehensive Innovation Master Plan Framework, which provides critical performance areas and how to optimize them for sustained innovation improvement. This framework includes:

  • Managing innovation risk to optimize rewards.
  • Creating a culture of innovation that engages everyone in your organization.
  • Sustaining improvement by integrating agility principles into strategic planning decisions.
  • Optimizing large scale innovation to explore powerful new approaches to open innovation.

 Agile Innovation: The Revolutionary Approach to Accelerate Success, Inspire Engagement, and Ignite Creativityteaches how to discover and develop better ideas, learn and work together more profitably and effectively to create breakthroughs.  

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