I read a book this fall and came back to over the holidays and decided to share it with you. There are tons of books about innovation, including mine. But I found Ori Brafman’s book, The Chaos Imperative: How Chance and Disruption Increase Innovation, Effectiveness, and Success, to be reassuring and insightful.
What I took away from a personal standpoint was very valuable. This book encouraged me to fill my days with even more dog walks, informal get togethers, dinners with friends, and reflective “down time.” The more of that I do, according to Brafman, assuming that I’ve got some big hairy issue I’m working on (and I always do), the more creative I’ll be in addressing the issue at hand.
This book also encouraged me to continue to push the envelope in creating safe spaces for innovation in the client work I do. Like many consultants, I am often directed by my clients to run short workshops with packed agendas so that everyone will feel productive and be able to get home quickly. But I know from experience that more open-ended discussions, more time for the group to wander the halls or the grounds, more field trips, more time to let our hair down over drinks and dinner will pay off big time in terms of the quality of the insights and the ease and speed of their implementation. It also pays off in terms of the depth and strength of the relationships we’re building. You don’t innovate with one-shot workshops; you build a rhythm, with the same motley group of unusual suspects coming back together after periods of reflection and work.
Here's my take on this book:
Why Chaos Is Important for Innovation
How an Organization, Group, or Individual Can Foster Innovation
By Patricia B. Seybold, CEO and Sr. Consultant, January 17, 2013