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Best Practices Are Stupid: 40 Ways to Out-Innovate the Competition Hardcover – September 29, 2011


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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 stephenshapiro.com.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover; 1 edition (September 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591843855
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591843856
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #413,128 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
A must-read for any sales person!
Antony Browy
That would be a mistake as Shapiro effectively bridges the best parts of current innovation practices with new ideas to create new results.
Mark P. McDonald
The book is easy to read and the advice is clearly outlined and accessible.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on September 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
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 By Malcolm Berry on October 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
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 By T. Pryor on 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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