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Leapfrogging: Harness the Power of Surprise for Business Breakthroughs Hardcover – August 6, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Leapfrogging challenges its readers to break out of conventional thinking by employing a few simple notions: know who you are, stay true to your purpose, and enjoy the journey along the way. By showcasing examples of challenging conventional thinking, embracing surprise, and welcoming failure as a learning exercise, Kaplan invites readers to learn from the stories of others. Leapfrogging shows that leaders who look inward to challenge the status quo will be on track to truly change the game.”
—Sarah Robb O’Hagan, President, Gatorade

“Breakthroughs in business don’t follow set formulas. We must continually explore options, test, and modify our assumptions based on results and feedback. Then, we can adapt to what we experience and learn. Leapfrogging delivers new principles and tools that readers can apply to their business, whether they’re just starting out or leading an established organization. It is the new guide for entrepreneurs and leaders in today’s environment.”
—Glenn Allen, cofounder, OpenTable

“We as business leaders are always talking about, but rarely find, the key to lasting breakthroughs in the organizations we lead. We push and persist and still get incremental results. Leapfrogging is an extremely useful and insightful handbook for managers on how to finally break the cycle of incremental innovation.”
—Dr. Ric Roi, Senior Vice President, Global Center of Excellence; Head, Consulting Practice Leader, Asia Pacific Right Management/Manpower Group

“Superbly crafted, powerful in its simplicity, offering smart, actionable learning… Finally, a simple, holistic model that allows for breakthrough thinking and living.”
—Mary Beth Robles, Vice President, Innovation Capabilities and Knowledge Systems, Colgate-Palmolive

“Creating breakthroughs requires new approaches to how we engage in learning as leaders ourselves and as organizations. Leapfrogging reveals strategies for engaging people in the type of experiential learning that challenges assumptions and leads to breakthroughs.”
—Anne Blouin, CAE, Chief Learning Officer, ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership

About the Author

Soren Kaplan has worked within large corporations, founded and advises start-ups, consults to global companies, and educates students and executives about the art and discipline of strategic thinking, innovation, and leadership for business breakthroughs. His unique ability to uncover surprises that are "hidden in plain sight" helps leaders shift their mindsets to rethink and reinvent their organizations.
As a Managing Principal of InnovationPoint, Soren leads strategic initiatives and provides leadership development for organizations including Cisco, Colgate-Palmolive, Disney, Medtronic, Philips, Visa, and numerous other firms. He is an Adjunct Professor within the Imagineering Academy at NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences in The Netherlands. He has a Ph.D. degree in Organizational Psychology and resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, two daughters, and hypo-allergenic cat.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1 edition (August 6, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609944941
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609944940
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #417,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Leapfrogging provides an in depth look at how to create new products, services, business models or
processes that are "breakthroughs" or that "change the game" in some way. The author makes the case
that anyone who wants to do something big and important will have to wrestle with uncertainty and
respond to unforeseen "surprises" during the process.

Overall the premise makes sense, and many detailed examples from organizations like Apple, Four
Seasons, and OpenTable back it up. The diversity of stories is good since a number of small lesser-
known companies and even nonprofits are profiled that have done some very innovative things. The
book also does a nice job of applying the concepts to specific business functions (there's an interesting
case from DuPont's legal department for example).

A model called "LEAPS" delves into the phases of creating breakthroughs. The five LEAPS phases are
all about the leadership and organizational experiences that occur during the process of creating
breakthroughs, most of which address the social and psychological issues that are at play and typically
go unspoken in most organizations. Examples include how uncertainty and fear of failure lead to
risk-aversion -- which in turn leads people to retrench into behavior that worked in the past but
that undermines the future. Other examples talk about how to overcome the deer-in-the-headlights
syndrome by minimizing risk through defining the smallest steps possible to test your highest potential
opportunities and biggest assumptions.
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Format: Hardcover
As I began to read this book, I was reminded of an observation by Oliver Wendell Holmes: "I wouldn't give a fig for simplicity this side of complexity but would give my life for simplicity on the other side of complexity." This is what Soren Kaplan has in mind when suggesting that the single most important factor in fostering true game changers in innovation is "the way leaders and organizations handle the discomfort, the disorientation, and the thrill (and pain) of living with uncertainty, finding clarity from ambiguity, and being surprised." Very few business leaders and their organizations are both willing and able to work heir way through the complexity of what I view as "the fog of innovation" until, finally, there is a business breakthrough.

In Leading Change, James O'Toole suggests that many change initiatives fail because of cultural resistance that results from what he so aptly characterizes as "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom." Kaplan duly acknowledges that leapfrogging - "the process of overcoming limiting mindsets and barriers to create business breakthroughs - is almost never easy. On the contrary, the status quo always has staunch defenders and many of them reside in the C-suite. More often than not, the current status quo is one they created by the same process of transformation to which Kaplan refers. That is, in response to what was then the status quo, they and their associates "delivered exactly what groundbreaking innovations always deliver: something new, something powerfully effective, and - most important - something [begin italics] unexpected [end italics]." Now the target is on their backs. Moreover, the greatest threat the organization now faces is not from a competitor.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is on a shelf in my boss's office, so I picked it up. Wow. Terrible writer, lousy communicator. I barely made it through the first chapter. So how on earth is Leapfrogging a bestseller? I Googled the title and found out. Turns out, the author hired a marketing firm to buy large quantities of the book, goosing it onto the best seller list. In other words, it's a sham. Sales skyrocketed in week one, plummeted to almost nothing in week two. But it had the desired effect: Kaplan can now market himself as a "bestselling" author. I have zero doubt that these glowing Amazon reviews were planted by the agency as well.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book to have some informative thought. It did give me the prospective from the authors’ point of view. I have read the reviews on, Amazon .com only to find them over the top. So in consideration I think the (1-star review has gotten this right); the reviews are a false, promoted buy propaganda. I read all the books of business I can so, I can refer to some of the best books written to people I consult. I would refer this book if someone was looking to come up with a breakthrough idea, to give us a point of reference to start from.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having been "in the business of business" for 30 years and having taught University-level business courses, I have had the opportunity to read many books, articles, dissertations, and treatises on related subjects. I believe it is hard to come up with something new given the foundation built by Drucker, Kotter, Nadler & Tushman, Moss-Kanter and those who have been writing for many more years than Soren Kaplan and seem to have said it all. However, I applaud Kaplan's ability to simplify complex theories and approaches into something quite concrete and understandable. Business is complex - yet some of the more common sense discussions bring more clarity to their application. Some of his examples bring the most surprise to the discussion - as it does not take a Fortune 50 Company from which to learn the best current innovations.
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