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Best Practices Are Stupid: 40 Ways to Out-Innovate the Competition [Kindle Edition]

Stephen M. Shapiro
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $22.95
Kindle Price: $14.08
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Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC


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Book Description

What if almost everything you know about creating a culture of innovation is wrong? What if the way you are measuring innovation is choking it? What if your market research is asking all of the wrong questions?

It's time to innovate the way you innovate.

Stephen Shapiro is one of America's foremost innovation advisrrs, whose methods have helped organizations like Staples, GE, Telefónica, NASA, the U.S. Air Force, and USAA. He teaches his clients that innovation isn't just about generating occasional new ideas; it's about staying consistently one step ahead of the competition.

Hire people you don't like. Bring in the right mix of people to unleash your team's full potential. Asking for ideas is a bad idea. Define challenges more clearly. If you ask better questions, you will get better answers. Don't think outside the box; find a better box. Instead of giving your employees a blank slate, provide them with well-defined parameters that will increase their creative output. Failure is always an option. Looking at innovation as a series of experiments allows you to redefine failure and learn from your results.Shapiro shows that nonstop innovation is attainable and vital to building a high-performing team, improving the bottom line, and staying ahead of the pack.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stephen M. Shapiro is an expert on innovation, a popular speaker, and the author of Personality Poker. He previously led a twenty- thousand-person process and innovation practice during a fifteen-year tenure at Accenture. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Investor's Business Daily, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The New York Times. Visit

Product Details

  • File Size: 435 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio; 1 edition (September 29, 2011)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0052REQB0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #313,156 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Best Practices are Stupid is the subject of one of Steve Shapiro's innovation tips and the title for this book. Rather than ridicule current approaches to innovation, Shapiro takes a comprehensive and compelling look at the next set of things companies need to do to innovate.

Shapiro points out that innovation is a well-worn subject and that in many cases those tried and true beliefs about innovation are neither innovative nor effective. In response Shapiro offers 40 tips some of which confirm but many of which breath new life into innovation thinking and practice.

The book is recommended to individuals and teams who are looking to initiative innovation programs, particularly for the first time, as it gives fresh thinking to the field. Experienced innovators or students of innovation will find much of the first part of the book familiar and may tend to discount is value. That would be a mistake as Shapiro effectively bridges the best parts of current innovation practices with new ideas to create new results.

The book presents each of the 40 tips in short and focused descriptions, many with examples that make them easier to understand and deploy. In addition, Shapiro makes use of illustrations when it matters to help people see the ideas clearly. This gives the book both an intellectual feel as its stimulates your thinking as well as an actionable and practical side needed to create value from innovation.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your new innovation bible September 29, 2011
Innovation is a term that gets thrown around a lot but it also seems like there is very little new in this area. You keep hearing the same old advice, the same brainstorming exercises, the same admonitions to just open that suggestion box and get everybody in the workplace to contribute their ideas.

In other words, it seems like the field of innovation is somewhat lacking in innovation.

Well, today an excellent new book comes out to change all that. It's called Best Practices are Stupid - 40 Ways to Out-Innovate the Competition by Stephen Shapiro and it will challenge everything you think you know about innovation.

I was blown away by all the great advice in the book. It outlines clearly what any workplace - big or small, private or public - needs to do to become more innovative.

The book is easy to read and the advice is clearly outlined and accessible. It has 40 chapters each of which challenges one of our preconceived notions about innovation.

Here are some of my favorite examples from the book:
Hire people you don't like. Because the people you like the least are the people you need the most.

Asking for ideas is a bad idea. Define challenges more clearly. If you ask better questions, you will get better answers.

The performance paradox. When organizations hyper focus on their goals, they are less likely to achieve those goals.

Expertise is the enemy of innovation. The more you know about a particular topic, the more difficult it is for you to think about it in a different way.

Basically, this book should be your new innovation bible. Read more about the book and buy it here.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even Novelists Get the Blues October 6, 2011
As a struggling novelist, I was surprised to have a read of Shapiro's book from the fiction writer's point of view - and gain insight into my craft. Among the 40 tips provided, several helped to invigorate my constant exploration of plot, character development and language.

One would think it's a long reach to compare Stephen King and Stephen Shapiro. In King's recent interview in The Atlantic, he suggests NOT writing down ideas because, "If you can't remember it, it was a terrible idea!" That is an interesting demonstration of Shapiro's theme of innovating your way of innovating - an organic aspect of the creative process which Shapiro lays out nicely. Other themes of the book, particularly in the "Creative" section, lubricate rusty parts of the creative intelligence. It's simply a matter of distilling corporate innovation into various layers of the craft of writing fiction.

In his book Pathway to Liberty, The great innovator Thomas Willhite, founder of PSI, brought "Change your Thinking" into the contemporary corporate model. In Best Practices Are Stupid: 40 Ways to Out-Innovate the Competition, Stephen Shapiro has both amplified and fine-tuned the concept, even for us right-brain types who would rather get lost than have to follow directions to get there.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Success is NOT logical. October 28, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have never been a big fan of benchmarking. Comparing your organization's results to others in your industry either send a false positive ... We're better than everyone else ... or a true negative ... We're not good because we're different than our competition.

Because the number one need of most organizations in 2012-2013 is growth, Shapiro offers several thought-provoking ideas to promote innovation. I did not find all 40 ways listed as useful, but here's a list of my Top Three:

A. Innovation is not a vertical department or division of a company. Instead, the best innovation results from a horizontal cross-functional process. Shapiro says on page 27 cross-disciplinary teams have a higher failure rate BUT their innovations are more radical and greater potential value.

B. Perfection is taking away, not adding. 99% of Microsoft Office software is not used. Google's innovation years ago was based on simplicity, not complexity. I use 1-page business plans and 1-page strategic plans because they force business leaders to takeaway instead of add.

C. One of the most profound statements in the book is on page 77. The three requirements for an individual or organization to successfully change are:
1. You must be dissatisfied with the current state of affairs.
2. You must be aware of a better way.
3. You must believe that you can achieve the better way.

The tendency of most change processes is to leap to step 2 without gaining consensus that the current situation is unacceptable. Also, I've seen many change iniatives fail because the people in an organization agree step 2 is good BUT don't believe they can implement and sustain it.

To create innovative ideas, say "Yes AND" instead of "Yes BUT".

Will you benefit from this book? Yes AND you'll likely make it an ongoing resource.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth Reading
The discussions of how to get ideas from employees without sifting through mountains is worth the price, and more importantly, the time to read this book. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Long Time Programmer
4.0 out of 5 stars We Need to Readdress Innovation
The author introduces a great premise … it’s time to innovate the way we innovate. Innovation tends to be episodic but Shapiro emphasizes the need to consistently produce fresh... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jeffrey Swystun
4.0 out of 5 stars Great approach
I bought this book after hearing a 1 hour webinar on this book with the author. I have to say that the webinar was one of the best I've heard all year. Read more
Published 10 months ago by groupworker
5.0 out of 5 stars A Powerful Vision
It is great to read innovative ideas about innovation! In this book, Stephen M. Shapiro gives the reader a powerful vision, while writing in a fresh and intelligent way. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Dorie Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars His sections on game play are worth the price of the book
A small but powerful book that leaders will need to have on their bookshelf. The author knows this topic ans is able to deliver the 40 tips concisely with impact. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Reg Nordman
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing quick read
Shapiro gets you there amazingly fast with the counter-intuitive principles that can shake up your thinking. It's a must read in the innovation space.
Published 13 months ago by Robert Richman
1.0 out of 5 stars Buzzwords & Jargon for People Who Love Buzzwords & Jargon
If you like vagueness and hindsight set in a pop culture tone then Best Practices Are Stupid (BPAS) is for you. Read more
Published 13 months ago by TPS Report Fighter
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are a manager it is a must read!
Managers need to look at both sides of the issues and this book helps to modify the stuff you learned in college so that you can be the complete manager.
Published 16 months ago by The Job Doctor
5.0 out of 5 stars Shapiro is/has always be a pleasure to read!
A must-read for any sales person! It does work, if you apply it. He has a great set of books.
Published 17 months ago by Antony Browy
4.0 out of 5 stars Unconvential wisdom
As unconventional as it gets yet it provides strategies for fostering innovation. While most leaders follow best practices, those tried and true formulas, it tends to suffocate... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Jamie Gianna
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More About the Author

Stephen Shapiro is one of the foremost authorities on innovation culture, collaboration, and open innovation.
During the past twenty years, his message to hundreds of thousands of people in forty countries around the world has remained the same: Innovation only occurs when organizations bring together divergent points of view in an efficient manner.

Over the years, Stephen Shapiro has shared his innovative philosophy in books such as 24/7 Innovation and The Little Book of BIG Innovation Ideas. He has also trained more than 20,000 consultants in innovation during his 15 year tenure with Accenture. His latest creation Personality Poker, has been used by more than 25,000 people around the world to create high-performing innovation teams.

In addition to being an advisor, speaker, and author on innovation, he serves as the Chief Innovation Evangelist for InnoCentive, a pioneer in the burgeoning field of open innovation.

His work has been featured in Newsweek, Investor's Business Daily, Entrepreneur Magazine, O- The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times, and other prestigious publications. His clients include Staples, GE, BP, Johnson & Johnson, Fidelity Investments, Pearson Education, Nestlé, and Bristol-Myers Squibb.


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