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Innovate Like Edison: The Five-Step System for Breakthrough Business Success Paperback – October 28, 2008

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Innovate Like Edison: The Five-Step System for Breakthrough Business Success + The Appreciative Organization + The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO's Strategies for Defeating the Devil's Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; Reprint edition (October 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452289823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452289826
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“People who haven’t considered Thomas Edison since high school will see him in a new light, so to speak, after reading Innovate Like Edison.”
USA Today

“[A] must-have for anyone who wants to turn creative ideas into profitable reality.”
—Dr. Vijay Govindarajam, Amos Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, author of Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

MICHAEL J. GELB is the author of the international bestseller How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci. He is an internationally renowned pioneer in the field of organizational innovation.
SARAH MILLER CALDICOTT holds an MBA from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and is a twenty-year marketing veteran. She is the great-grandniece of Thomas Edison.

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Customer Reviews

A well written book with lots of good insight into business and innovation.
B. W. Gebers
The book closes with a series of self-assessment tools useful in developing a personal blueprint for innovation literacy.
Stephen J. Susina
If you are curious about an inventor's mind and Edison's background then this book is for you.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Stephen J. Susina on October 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The first thing you'll realize is that this is not your ordinary business book. You will not find self-serving case-studies of previous consulting assignments. You will not read broad generalizations thinly supported by a limited number of examples. You won't learn best practices designed for R&D managers.

What you will find is an extraordinarily researched book that provides a rich narrative of the life and times of Thomas Edison. At the same time Innovate LIke Edison crafts a framework that describes how Edison managed his business ventures to achieve his remarkable record of innovation. The payoff is that you will be able to learn how to apply Edison's thinking to today's life and work.

The book is filled with some very interesting anecdotes that show both the complexity and elegance of Edison's work. For example, within the first half-dozen pages you'll learn, that the light bulb is not a single invention, but rather a combination of five separate inventions: an improved vacuum process; a thin, high-resistances filament, platinum lead-in wires; a method for holding the filament in place; and connecting these elements in a glass-blown bulb.

At the heart of Innovate Like Edison is an approach to categorize the innovation process into five broad competencies: solution-centered mindset, kaleidoscopic thinking, full-spectrum engagement, master-mind collaboration, and super-value creation. Each competency is characterized by five individual elements, making it easy for the reader to understand and grasp the building blocks of innovation. Much as electric light is based on multiple individual inventions, Edison's innovation is the culmination of multiple best practices.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Blaine Greenfield on November 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Michael J. Gelb has become one of my favorite non-fiction
authors . . . his bestseller, HOW TO THINK LIKE LEONARDO
DA VINCI, impressed me so much that I now use it the Creativity
course that I teach . . . several other books followed, and
while they were all good, I do believe that he has topped himself
with his latest effort: INNOVATE LIKE EDISON, co-authored with Sarah Miller Caldicott--Edison's great-grandniece.

INVENTOR, it is a winner from the very first page . . . there's
a short but fascinating biography of Edison, followed by
an easy-to-apply system of five success secrets--known as
the Five Competencies of Innovation.

These are as follows:
1. Solution-Centered Mindset: how to keep unwavering focus
on finding solutions;

2. Kaleidoscopic Thinking: how to juggle multiple projects, generate
many ideas and the make creative connections or discern patterns;

3. Full-Spectrum Engagement: how to manage and balance a
massive workload with social life, family and other obligations;

4. Master Mind Collaboration: how to multiply individual brain power
by bringing the right people together; and

5. Super-Value Creation: how to target all creations to an existing
market and provide value to potential customers.

Gelb and Caldicott describe these secrets, then show how they
can be utilized in many different situations . . . I liked how
they gave real examples, using both large and small companies . . . in
addition, they effectively "updated" Edison's work by viewing it
through the eyes of such contemporary thinkers as Edward
de Bono, Martin Seligman, Daniel Goleman and others.
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26 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Ian on October 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
Edison was America's most prolific inventor whose creations were not just novel and commercially successful but created entire new industries including electric light and power, sound recording, motion pictures and industrial cement and concrete manufacture. He left an enormous legacy in the form of detailed laboratory notebooks, correspondence and legal testimony that documented the way he created these inventions and the commercial enterprises that grew out of them. Gelb is described in the book as "the world's leading authority on the application of genius thinking to personal and organizational development" and Caldicott, a great-grandniece of Thomas Edison. Together these are the ingredients for an innovative, even ground breaking work that merges historical insights with contemporary needs.

Alas this book is not it.

Despite writing that, "The competencies and elements for Innovate Like Edison that we describe in the following pages guided us through our entire creative process" (page xi), the book itself is far from innovative and instead patches together an assortment of other self help books with cursory historical anecdotes. It is a cook book of grandma's recipes sprinkled with a few of her memories.

I had the impression that perhaps Gelb had written the book for another purpose and employed Caldicott to garnish it with bits of family history.

Moreover, it fails to address potentially significant insights that flow from Edison's work particularly by comparing his many successes with his numerous failures.
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