Why the strange title?
I've battled for decades on the front line of innovation: building, proposing, evangelizing, and, yes, killing things: like projects that don't work, ideas that make no sense, concepts for the sake of concepts, bullshit management theories and....
I'm here to kill one last thing: the guru!
What I've learned from years of doing innovation is that it's mostly training one's self to think and act in ways that are often counterintuitive. It requires a toolkit of approaches because any single approach might or might not work depending upon circumstances.
There is no role for "gurus" who espouse theories like "disruption" or "blue oceans" nonsense. We don't need descriptive theories. We need prescriptive actions!
Furthermore, innovation isn't just for business. It's a universal human capacity. Anyone can, with the right mindset and tools, innovate!
Ordinary folks without "official innovator" roles often fail to innovate by not even trying. Not trying is the number one cause of failure and misery. And it often stems from falling into the "guru trap." Instead of reaching inside of ourselves to use our inbuilt creative mind, we look towards gurus for feel-good answers. We watch YouTube videos or read yet another "concept" book. We sharpen the pencil, yet we don't make a sketch! We don't make moves - we watch movies!
I have titled my book in the spirit of the psychotherapy classic: "If You Meet Buddha on the Road: Kill him" which tells its readers that the answer to therapy is to be found within you, not within the therapist. The same is true of innovation.
As it turns out, our brains, despite their stone-aged wiring, can be "rewired" to see beyond the status quo whenever it takes us prisoner.
At its core, innovation is about resisting the status quo by thinking counter-intuitively and taking action. Indeed, following intuitions and systems will seldom yield results. It is why many business leaders fail to innovate. They equate "following their gut" with great leadership. It is not. They equate being energetic (about some fad) with positive action. It is not.
The 19 wisdoms in the book will help free the mind and unlock its built-in creative potential. Instead of seeing problems, you will learn to see opportunities and solutions, or some direction in which to move. As it turns out, moving (even in a random direction) can often be the answer.
My hope for this book is that the reader might build something better for herself or for others: a business, a community, a family or a neighbor.
Table of Contents
0. Welcome Success, but Know that you Cannot Succeed
1. Kill the Innovation Guru
2. Think before you think
3. Ride the Rainbow
4. Be Puzzled
5. Think Slowly
6. Lift Fewer Rocks
7. Don't Think of an Elephant
8. Jot like Crazy
9. Doodle to Noodle
10. Stop Sharpening Pencils
11. Demo Your Stuff
12. Bump into stuff
13. Scope the Real Problem
14. Be Xerox, or Picasso
15. Seek the Obvious
16. Create a Mythology
17. Get Outside Yourself
18. Experiment Fearlessly
The book will be available free of charge, once available (towards the end of 2018).