Best Practices Are Stupid – A Great Book on Innovation


Share on LinkedIn

So many books, so little time. I think we all know this when it comes to reading – and reviewing – books. This was also my case when I got, Best Practices Are Stupid – 40 Ways to Out-Innovate the Competition, the new book by Stephen Shapiro a few months back.

I am glad I picked up this book. I used to read lots of innovation books, but I stopped a few years back as I find more value in blog posts when it comes to insights gained versus time spent. Books are too often too long while lacking new insights and ideas.

This is not the case with this book. It is not only inviting by being fairly short. It is also well written, well organized and full of good advice.

You have 40 short chapters that give you new ideas and insights on how to innovate the way you innovate. One chapter explains why asking for ideas is a bad idea. Here Shapiro gets into the signal-to-noise ratio, which for innovation means that the signal is composed of solutions that are implemented and create value. The noise is made up of all of the ideas and suggestions that really don’t matter and don’t create value.

Shapiro tells us that if you want to increase your innovation’s signal-to-noise ratio, the first thing you want to do is to stop asking for ideas. This might sound counter-intuitive to many people, but you will find good reasons for this advice as you read along.

Shapiro is a big fan of challenge driven, open innovation which Alph Bingham, founder of open innovation intermediary InnoCentive, calls a “massively parallel process where failures and successes happen at the same time.” Shapiro worked for InnoCentive for a few years and his insights on challenge-driven innovation are some of the best in the book. It helps you understand why framing challenges rather than just asking for ideas will give you better innovation output.

I also liked how Shapiro forces you to better understand your most important capability and how to apply this for innovation. It gets even better when he follows up with a simple framework called the Innovation Targeting Matrix, which can help you identify the right innovation strategy for your business. Shapiro explains how capabilities fall into three levels of strategic importance (from least to most strategic): “support”, “core” and “differentiating.” Good stuff!

I really found lots of value in this book and I like that I can recommend it to people who are new to innovation as well as to “experts” that have read it all.

Best Practices Are Stupid – 40 Ways to Out-Innovate the Competition is simply a 5-star book! Enjoy it : -)

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stefan Lindegaard
Stefan is an author, speaker, facilitator and consultant focusing on open innovation, social media tools and intrapreneurship.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here