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The Idea Hunter: How to Find the Best Ideas and Make them Happen Hardcover – April 26, 2011

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The Idea Hunter: How to Find the Best Ideas and Make them Happen + How to Get Ideas + A Technique for Producing Ideas: The simple, five-step formula anyone can use to be more creative in business and in life!
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (April 26, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470767766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470767764
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #365,921 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Humans make progress by discovering new ideas, but also, importantly, by repurposing the ones that already exist. Boynton and Fisher show how each of us can get better at this critical skill, identifying and reapplying existing ideas."
―Paul Romer, Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research

“Hunting is an apt metaphor.  Ideas exist everywhere in the wild. The trick is knowing where to look for them and how to capture them.  Boynton and Fischer tell us how.”
―Ron Sargent, Chairman & CEO, Staples, Inc.

“The Idea Hunter is unique.  It’s about curiosity, agility and perpetually hunting for better ideas.  It’s a must read for anyone who wants to compete and collaborate more effectively each and every day.”
―Greg Brown, President & CEO, Motorola Solutions.

“This book upends a number of persistent myths about innovation and what it takes to be an ‘idea person.’ It shows that what’s required is not spectacular creativity or remarkable IQ, but curiosity—a genuine desire to engage in a daily search for ideas.  It will help transform the way you and your business operate.”
―Jay Hooley, Chairman, President & CEO, State Street Corporation

“The Idea Hunter is not only an enjoyable read. It offers a practical method so that anyone or any firm can learn the secrets of harnessing the power of ideas to drive success.”
― Laura J. Sen, President & CEO, BJ’s Wholesale Club

“Boynton and Fischer offer powerful and practical advice on how to jump-shift the flow of ideas in your organization.  This will become required reading for any leader intent on shaping a high-performance organization.”
―Michael D. White, Chairman & CEO, DirecTV

Observe, ask questions, be curious, dare to throw odd ideas into a group’s conversation to make it better. Be an Idea Hunter!
Ton Büchner, CEO, Sulzer, Ltd

My company aims to add about $4 billion in new sales every year. This won’t be possible without everyone in the organization contributing new ideas. The Idea Hunter is an essential guide to systematically developing this critical capability.”
― Werner Geissler, Vice Chairman, Global Operations, Procter & Gamble

“Thrilling, fun, and inspiring, The Idea Hunter tells stories and discerns patterns of behavior and habits shared by the great innovators of the past century. It finds similarities among the greats ranging from Warren Buffet to Steve Jobs, and even going back earlier in the century to Walt Disney and Thomas Edison. Through brief stories and simple self-reflection exercises, this book distills the quirky essence of leading imagination in a way we can consume it, and hopefully aspire to become one with it.
― Aaron C. Sylvan, Serial Entrepreneur and Technologist (One Technology, TrustWorks, LemonadeHeroes, Sylvan Social Technology)

“We rely on using the ideas of thousands of experts to win against tough competition in a crowded market. Using The Idea Hunter as a trail map, any leader can win the daily wars of ideas that differentiate the innovator from the rest.”
―Jack Hughes, Chairman and Co-founder, TopCoder, Inc.

“Idea hunters are normal people, with a normal life in a common social contest. The only difference is that they have an open mind and are skilled in searching. This brilliant book is an ideal guide to achieve an open mind in our complex world.”
Maurizio Marinelli, Visual Artist & President of Baskerville Research Center on Communication, Bologna, Italy

From the Inside Flap

"Breakaway ideas come to those who are in the habit of looking for them."
from the Introduction

Ideas are arguably the most valuable asset in an information-based economy. But how do you find the best ideas—the kind that can boost careers, change organizations, and ramp up the value of projects? Why do some people seem to come up with these ideas whenever they need them?

In this myth-busting book, the authors reveal that great business ideas do not spring from innate creativity, or necessarily from the minds of brilliant people. High-value ideas come to those people who are in the habit of looking for such ideas—all around them, all the time. These are the Idea Hunters. Such people do not buy into the notion that the only great idea is a pristinely original one. They know better. They understand that game-changing ideas are already out there, waiting to be spotted and then shaped into an innovation.

The authors present an eclectic band of Idea Hunters, ranging from Thomas Edison, Mary Kay Ash, and Walt Disney, to Warren Buffett, Apple's Phil Schiller, and others including the leaders of Twitter, Pixar Animation Studios, and the Boston Beer Company. These people have certain characteristics embodied in the four I-D-E-A principles (Interested, Diverse, Exercised, and Agile). They also know their gig—their personal mission, and why it matters. They don't let the organization, job, industry, or profession define their Idea Hunt. And they recognize how the world around them connects with their plans and projects.

Step by step, The Idea Hunter unveils a strategy for unearthing new ideas in any industry or organ- ization. It is a must-have resource for anyone who wants to tap into the successful business ideas that are just waiting to be rediscovered.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 27 customer reviews
The book seems to be well researched and it is very well-written.
Book Fanatic
Buy this book and you'll make your money back the first time you have an epiphany...which probably won't take long.
The Idea Hunter is a great book for anyone looking to improve their "gig" in work or life.
Brett F

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By bronx book nerd VINE VOICE on May 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The most important message that I got from this book is that to come up with ideas, you need to have a certain mindset and attitude. That mindset and attitude is one of being in constant search for new and better ways; i.e. become an idea hunter always looking for prey. I agree. This is consistent with Edward de Bono's exhortations that creativity is a skill that can be learned and that can be improved through practice and use. The equivalent from De Bono's techniques is the idea scan, or the habit of periodically observing to note where something may be improved. The purpose of the idea scan is not necessarily to come up with a useful idea, but to develop the habit of looking for ideas. The same can be said for the idea hunter attitude that the authors encourage.

Boynton and Fischer could not help themselves and came up with a suitable acronym to capture their message - Interested Diverse Exercised and Agile. Those are the four traits that characterize an idea hunter. For example, an idea hunter is interested; i.e. curious about the world and always asking questions. Diverse refers to an idea hunter's willingness to have different experiences or seek the unusual for sources of inspiration. Exercised means the idea hunter uses his creativity to actually create ideas by applying the habits of the idea hunter. Finally, agile means the willingness to move ideas forward, change them or even drop them as necessary.

The only area where I disagree with the authors is in their pre-requisite that idea hunters first identify their vocation, or what they call their "gig", which is something that you both like to do and are good at. Why put up this roadblock before someone can start coming up with ideas?

In any case, I found the contents motivational as well as practical for anyone who wants to start generating good ideas.
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Format: Hardcover
The premise of the book is this: There are valuable lessons to be learned from those who have highly-developed skills that enable them to "find the best ideas and make them happen." Better yet, these are skills that almost anyone else can develop in combination with (a) an insatiable curiosity to understand what works, what doesn't, and why; (b) an eagerness to communicate, cooperate, and - most important of all - collaborate/co-create with others; and (c) determination to sustain the "hunt" (Thomas Edison's term for his search for solutions) despite whatever resistance, ridicule, and setbacks that may be encountered. With assistance from William Bole, Andy Boyton and Bill Fischer explain in this book what they The DeepDive(tm), a combination of brainstorming, prototyping and feedback loops merged into an approach they devised that executives can use with teams to help develop solutions for specific business challenges.

The focus of the book is on a process called I.D.E.A. whose foundation consists of four principles: Interested (i.e. insatiable curiosity), Diverse (i.e. locating or generating as many different ideas as possible from as many different sources as possible), Exercised (e.g. constant, relentless, sharply-focused observation of mental, emotional, and intuitive activity as well as whatever the senses experience in the physical world), and finally, Agile (i.e. developing cognitive and analytical skills that are razor-sharp, flexible, and resilient).
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By 82eagle on April 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
How often do we sit down quietly to proactively focus on idea development? Probably not too often,if at all. But how frequently would we LIKE to do this?

No matter what you do for a living, this book inspires and drives you to be an Idea Hunter. It provides the tools and motivation to look outside the box for ways to enhance your productivity. I've used these techniques not just at work, but in my personal life as well, to search for ideas to help make life a little easier. Buy this book and you'll make your money back the first time you have an epiphany...which probably won't take long.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Q on April 27, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A friend who knows one of the authors (Andy Boynton) recommended this book to me and I was inititally a little skeptical. In my organization I often feel that we are dealing with too many ideas and the challenge is in picking and choosing. I certainly wasn't in the market for a book that would tell me how to find more ideas. As it turns out, this book was actually quite helpful to me in my situation. It provided a useful framework for how to evaluate ideas and how to decide which ones will be mission critical to our organization and which ones need to be weeded out. I just read "Moonwalking with Einstein" which focuses on "deliberate practice" as a technique for developing expertise in an organization or an individual pursuit. I felt that the Idea Hunter picked up on that theme, in that it does not just give examples of great ideas or idea hunters, but it describes the process that leads to the successful implementation of high impact ideas. Bottom line: The Idea Hunter was both interesting and fun to read but it also left me with with practical idea hunting techniques that I know I will incorporate in mu work.
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