The Way of the Innovation Master – a New Book by jpb.com Founder
Jeffrey Baumgartner, founder of the JPB companies has just published a book on organisational innovation. The Way of the Innovation Master, published on December, weaves together the story of the journey of a newly appointed CEO, a dialogue between two old company presidents and a series of short lessons to create an unusual business book.
Chuck Frey, the founder of the influential Innovation Tools web resource, says of the book. “The blend of a business parable, Q&A and practical "how-to" innovation lessons is quite intriguing, and has the effect of giving you a look at the skills of an innovation master from several unique perspectives. Jeffrey is a relentlessly creative person, and that's reflected in this fascinating book.”
The Way of the Innovation Master takes an unusual, and what the author believes to be a unique, approach to explaining the innovation process. Unlike most current business books which tend to focus on generic explanations illustrated with case studies, Jeffrey’s book aims to teach organizational innovation via three separate yet intertwined cycles. The first cycle tells the story of the fictitious company, Supertrade, which began as an innovation start-up in the garage of one of its founders. Over the years, the company grows into a global, bureaucratic monster that has lost all of its innovativeness until Jane is made CEO. Knowing that she needs to make substantial changes in order to re-ignite the company’s innovative spirit, Jane learns about and then journeys to the fabled Temple of Ideas, a haven of innovation learning hidden atop an obscure mountain in Southeast Asia.
The second cycle is a dialogue between two older company presidents. Both are upper-class British men who have inherited family companies. Both are grappling with launching innovation initiatives and one has already had experience with a master from the Temple of Ideas. The dialogue is witty, yet captures many of the fears and concerns that managers face when establishing an enterprise wide innovation initiative.
The third cycle is a series of short concise lessons explaining in jargon-free terms what a manager must do in order to plan, develop and implement an innovation initiative in her firm. The first lesson focuses on how to define and build an innovation plan, “the cornerstone of any innovation initiative” according to the book.
Thereafter, lessons build upon each other and take the reader step by step through an innovation model, motivation, idea generation, idea management, idea evaluation, implementation and much more.
The three cycles draw on each other, sometimes in subtle ways. For instance, prior to the lesson on creative problem solving, Jane is faced with a barrier to continuing her journey. In order to get past it, she needs to apply creative problem solving – in particular in terms of understanding what the barrier is and what problem she actually faces. The subsequent lesson explains creative problem
solving in detail, using Supertrade to illustrate the method.
The Way of the Innovation Master will not appeal to those who like formulaic business books or who feel that humour has no place in such literature. But for those who like a creative and occasionally humorous approach to innovation, this book is sure to appeal.
Jeffrey’s company, jpb.com, is a global innovation process management software provider with main offices in Belgium and the United states and authorised consulting representatives in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Australia.
Jeffrey Baumgartner has previously co-written “Don’t Panic Do E-commerce” a book on EU law and e-commerce in Europe, wrote in the 1990s three popular magazine columns in the Southeast Asian magazines Business Review and Nation Junior and has written numerous magazine articles and book chapters that have been published in America, Europe and Asia.