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The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun
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The Myths of Innovation (edition 2007)

by Scott Berkun

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5901029,812 (3.62)1
How do we know if a hot new technology will succeed or fail? Most of us, even experts, get it wrong all the time. We depend more than we realize on wishful thinking and romanticized ideas of history. In the new paperback edition of this fascinating book, a book that has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, Slashdot.org, Lifehacker.com and in The New York Times, bestselling author Scott Berkun pulls the best lessons from the history of innovation, including the recent software and web age, to reveal powerful and suprising truths about how ideas become successful innovations -- truths people can easily apply to the challenges of today. Through his entertaining and insightful explanations of the inherent patterns in how Einstein's discovered E=mc2 or Tim Berner Lee's developed the idea of the world wide web, you will see how to develop existing knowledge into new innovations. Each entertaining chapter centers on breaking apart a powerful myth, popular in the business world despite it's lack of substance. Through Berkun's extensive research into the truth about innovations in technology, business and science, you'll learn lessons from the expensive failures and dramatic successes of innovations past, and understand how innovators achieved what they did -- and what you need to do to be an innovator yourself. You'll discover: Why problems are more important than solutions How the good innovation is the enemy of the great Why children are more creative than your co-workers Why epiphanies and breakthroughs always take time How all stories of innovations are distorted by the history effect How to overcome people's resistance to new ideas Why the best idea doesn't often win The paperback edition includes four new chapters, focused on appling the lessons from the original book, and helping you develop your skills in creative thinking, pitching ideas, and staying motivated. "For centuries before Google, MIT, and IDEO, modern hotbeds of innovation, we struggled to explain any kind of creation, from the universe itself to the multitudes of ideas around us. While we can make atomic bombs, and dry-clean silk ties, we still don't have satisfying answers for simple questions like: Where do songs come from? Are there an infinite variety of possible kinds of cheese? How did Shakespeare and Stephen King invent so much, while we're satisfied watching sitcom reruns? Our popular answers have been unconvincing, enabling misleading, fantasy-laden myths to grow strong."-- Scott Berkun, from the text "Berkun sets us free to change the world."-- Guy Kawasaki, author of Art of the Start Scott was a manager at Microsoft from 1994-2003, on projects including v1-5 (not 6) of Internet Explorer. He is the author of three bestselling books, Making Things Happen, The Myths of Innovation and Confessions of a Public Speaker. He works full time as a writer and speaker, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Forbes magazine, The Economist, The Washington Post, Wired magazine, National Public Radio and other media. He regularly contributes to Harvard Business Review and Bloomberg Businessweek, has taught creative thinking at the University of Washington, and has appeared as an innovation and management expert on MSNBC and on CNBC. He writes frequently on innovation and creative thinking at his blog: scottberkun.com and tweets at @berkun.… (more)
Member:bren
Title:The Myths of Innovation
Authors:Scott Berkun
Info:O'Reilly Media, Inc. (2007), Hardcover, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:innovation, management, creativity

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The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun

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Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Not much: Innovation doesn't happen as described in the popular press. Duh. ( )
1 vote wrk1 | Jan 15, 2014 |
Well-written, humorous. A good collection of tangible facts debunking myths, action plans, and things to avoid. ( )
  shdawson | Jan 2, 2013 |
I immediately liked this book after reading the "Commitment to research accuracy" page near the front. Any author who goes above and beyond in their effort to provide the most accurate information they can and even provides a link to report inaccuracies cares about his readers and this resonates throughout the rest of the book.

Mr. Berkun has clearly been on a quest to discover not only the basics of creative thinking, but how it relates to entrepreneurs and invention. Using this bottom up approach to innovation allows him to target 10 myths of innovation and analyze them so we can understand where they came from and how to avoid them. Each myth is allotted its own chapter and they are as follows (along with my quick thoughts on each chapter):

1. The myth of epiphany (epiphany looks like hard work and wears overalls)

2. We understand the history of innovation (the victors write the history)

3. There is a method for innovation (great chapter, worth the price of whole book)

4. People love new ideas (great ideas usually don't look great, ask Google)

5. The lone inventor (one of my favorite chapters - nobody goes it alone)

6. Good ideas are hard to find (have more ideas, have crazy ideas, have no fear with your ideas)

7. Your boss knows more about innovation than you (don't confuse power with creativity)

8. The best ideas win (winning isn't based on how good the idea is)

9. Problems and solutions (problems matter and how you define them matters more)

10. Innovation is always good (unintended consequences matter)

Berkun closes the book with chapters on hype and history, creative thinking hacks, how to pitch an idea and how to stay motivated. His aside in the hype and history chapter that "if you want to be creative, you must create things" is at first glance simple advice, but for me it speaks to the core message of this book: if you want to get anything out of this book you have to do something. He has provided the roadmap, we have to begin the journey.

Finally, Berkun does an excellent job of not only listing sources in each chapter (which is nirvana for those willing to further explore original source material), but his "Research and recommendations" appendix, specifically the ranked bibliography, were outstanding ideas and deserve special mention.

A definite must read for anyone interested in innovation, ideas, creativity and not only what not to do, but what to do on their innovation journey. ( )
  BookLeverage | Dec 14, 2011 |
Good introduction to basic concepts. If this areas is new to you, it's a great place to start. If you've read widely in this area, not much new. ( )
  gsatell | Apr 26, 2011 |
Quotes: "Many bright would-be innovators make similar mistakes: they fail to spend enough time exloring and understanding problems before trying to solve them."

"Discovering problems actually requires just as much creativity as discovering solutions. There are many ways to look at any problem, and realizing a problem is often the first step toward a creative solution."

My only problem with the book is my misunderstanding of what it was about. It's clearly called the Myths of Innovation, but I expected it to talk about how to innovate. ( )
1 vote remikit | May 3, 2009 |
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How do we know if a hot new technology will succeed or fail? Most of us, even experts, get it wrong all the time. We depend more than we realize on wishful thinking and romanticized ideas of history. In the new paperback edition of this fascinating book, a book that has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, Slashdot.org, Lifehacker.com and in The New York Times, bestselling author Scott Berkun pulls the best lessons from the history of innovation, including the recent software and web age, to reveal powerful and suprising truths about how ideas become successful innovations -- truths people can easily apply to the challenges of today. Through his entertaining and insightful explanations of the inherent patterns in how Einstein's discovered E=mc2 or Tim Berner Lee's developed the idea of the world wide web, you will see how to develop existing knowledge into new innovations. Each entertaining chapter centers on breaking apart a powerful myth, popular in the business world despite it's lack of substance. Through Berkun's extensive research into the truth about innovations in technology, business and science, you'll learn lessons from the expensive failures and dramatic successes of innovations past, and understand how innovators achieved what they did -- and what you need to do to be an innovator yourself. You'll discover: Why problems are more important than solutions How the good innovation is the enemy of the great Why children are more creative than your co-workers Why epiphanies and breakthroughs always take time How all stories of innovations are distorted by the history effect How to overcome people's resistance to new ideas Why the best idea doesn't often win The paperback edition includes four new chapters, focused on appling the lessons from the original book, and helping you develop your skills in creative thinking, pitching ideas, and staying motivated. "For centuries before Google, MIT, and IDEO, modern hotbeds of innovation, we struggled to explain any kind of creation, from the universe itself to the multitudes of ideas around us. While we can make atomic bombs, and dry-clean silk ties, we still don't have satisfying answers for simple questions like: Where do songs come from? Are there an infinite variety of possible kinds of cheese? How did Shakespeare and Stephen King invent so much, while we're satisfied watching sitcom reruns? Our popular answers have been unconvincing, enabling misleading, fantasy-laden myths to grow strong."-- Scott Berkun, from the text "Berkun sets us free to change the world."-- Guy Kawasaki, author of Art of the Start Scott was a manager at Microsoft from 1994-2003, on projects including v1-5 (not 6) of Internet Explorer. He is the author of three bestselling books, Making Things Happen, The Myths of Innovation and Confessions of a Public Speaker. He works full time as a writer and speaker, and his work has appeared in The New York Times, Forbes magazine, The Economist, The Washington Post, Wired magazine, National Public Radio and other media. He regularly contributes to Harvard Business Review and Bloomberg Businessweek, has taught creative thinking at the University of Washington, and has appeared as an innovation and management expert on MSNBC and on CNBC. He writes frequently on innovation and creative thinking at his blog: scottberkun.com and tweets at @berkun.

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