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Book Review: The Innovation Playbook: A Revolution in Business Excellence by Nicholas J. Webb

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Sustainable success in business needs more than products, money and luck. It needs innovation. Yet, the success rate in innovation is only four percent.

The Innovation Playbook: A Revolution in Business Excellence is a book you can turn to again and again. It’s full of thoughtful exercises and planning strategies, as well as bite-sized ideas that will have you firing up a brilliant email to your team. But be aware of of the many reasons why innovation fails. Author Nicholas Webb reprints a list of 56 reasons such as a “risk-averse culture,” “no company-wide process for managing ideas,” and “no sense of urgency.”

When we fail to solve a problem, move ahead of the competition, or fix a broken system, we fail to innovate. The result is we either stand still or worse, we lag behind the market. Webb goes deeper into leadership and organization climate, showing cases where modifying long-standing rules and traditions can bring about positive change. He also lists his picks for the biggest innovation killers. These ten points are the land mines you want to avoid in taking your business to new heights.

For most of us, the drive to succeed in business comes from satisfying our customers. Beyond this critical customer focus, we also need an effective process that keeps innovation moving along, and a supportive innovation-focused culture.

The Innovation Playbook‘s case studies are brief and to the point. Webb, an innovator himself, also includes his RealOpen framework, to help you create a blueprint to diagnose and fix the biggest problems. The technique is used to demonstrate how a company that used only part of the RealOpen process still had extraordinary improvements and success with a simple product: a garlic press, now in 800 retailers worldwide. Learn exactly why innovation fails time after time, and then look at ways to make it succeed for your firm. The smart purchase of The Innovation Playbook can add value to your company, even before you learn about open innovation, enhancing value and improved customer experience.

Much of the book drives home the requirements for net customer value and provides the tools to start a dialog, face problems, and find solutions before it’s too late. Digital culture is also addressed with the “listening post” concept as it pertains to viral networking, keywords, crowdsourcing, and the buzz you’ll need to get word out to customers about your next new innovations.

About Helen Gallagher