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The Ten Faces of Innovation

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The Ten Faces of Innovation

IDEO’s Strategies for Defeating the Devil’s Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization


15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

Role playing isn't just for actors. Trying out new worldviews to experiment with ideas could be good for your business.

Editorial Rating



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Welcome to an enjoyable, easy read – which is not to dismiss Tom Kelley's fine ideas. With the aid of Jonathan Littman, Kelley works throughout this book to show how innovation can be much more painless than most people think, and more fun. Kelley makes thinking collaboratively sound like a blast. In the process, he convinces you that your organization should nurture and cherish playing with ideas. Although he admits that his consulting company, IDEO, found itself grinding along on tedious projects at times, and that he has watched people shoot down perfectly good suggestions, his underlying message is one of open possibility. He presents 10 roles you can play during meetings, any one of which would be enough to add considerable value. By showing that these roles are temporary, he sends the message that if you want to stay competitive, you can change, and even must. As he examines everything from product names to rules governing how workers decorate their cubicles, Kelley demonstrates the many opportunities you have to create something new. The cost is often little or nothing; sometimes innovation simply means getting out of your employees' way. getAbstract recommends this book to managers who wish to break old patterns and encourage creative thought companywide.


Beat the Devil

You've probably attended more than one meeting in which a participant proposes a new idea only to have someone ask permission to "play devil's advocate for a minute." Just like that, he or she stomps on the new idea and stifles creativity. However, using role playing to experiment with ideas is not a bad tactic. Although the devil's advocate role is negative, its effectiveness demonstrates that taking on a pretend persona can completely change what you see in a given situation. Role playing is a good way to encourage innovation.

The term "innovation" needs some explanation. The 3M Company defines it as "new ideas – plus action or implementation – that result in an improvement, a gain or a profit." In fact, many ideas don't go anywhere, so 3M's inclusion of "action or implementation" in the definition is important. So far, so good. However, a complete definition of "innovation" should also emphasize the role of people – plural – in the process. Innovation doesn't just "happen." It requires determination and teamwork.

"Learning," "Organizing" and "Building"

Role-playing can add energy and excitement to your meetings, and help your company...

About the Authors

Tom Kelley, who wrote The Art of Innovation, is managing director of IDEO, a creative design and innovation consultancy. Jonathan Littman is a contributing editor of the magazine Red Herring, and author of The Fugitive Game and The Watchman.

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    M. A. 1 decade ago
    i am not able to download it
    • Avatar
      1 decade ago
      Hi Mohammed,

      I apologize for the late reply. Were you able to receive the summary?

      Please let me know if I can do anything to assist you.

      All the best,

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