Physicist Safi Bahcall’s original, entertaining take on managing innovation draws on decades of science, economics, psychology and history. He says that new innovations – which he calls "babies" – need protection from big organizations, or “beasts.” However, he adds, the babies also need the beasts to test them, give feedback and put them into action. Bahcall erects a fairly rigid wall between his notions of “artists” as creatives and “soldiers” as implementers, and he stumbles slightly when explaining his emphasis on structure over culture as the foundation for innovation. That doesn’t limit his insightful, inspiring portraits of seminal innovators, including Telephone’s Theodore Vail, Pan Am’s Juan Trippe, Polaroid’s Edwin Land, American Airlines’ Bob Crandall, the US Office of Scientific Research & Development’s Vannevar Bush and Pixar’s founder Ed Catmull. Despite Bahcall’s at times too-generous estimation of his own systems of classification and hierarchy, his smart rundown gives you access to some of the most important ideas of the 20th and 21st centuries.
About the Author
Physicist Safi Bahcall, PhD, co-founded Synta Pharmaceuticals – a biotech company that developed new cancer drugs – led its IPO and served as CEO for 13 years. In 2008, Ernst & Young named him its New England Biotechnology Entrepreneur of the Year.