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Idea Agent: Leadership that Liberates Creativity and Accelerates Innovation Hardcover – Special Edition, November 1, 2012
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"Unleash passion. Fuel drive. Embrace productive conflict. Emphasize excellence. This book shows you how." --CIO Insight
“The book is superbly well written, extremely clear…one of the best books on liberating creativity that I've read.” --Inland Empire Business Journal
“…practical methods for pulling strong-minded, visionary individuals together to solve incredibly complex problems." --New Equipment Digest
“...so rich with descriptive exacting proven methods, it may well be the ‘The Book’ you want your team to collectively read and discuss.”—PM World Journal
There is perhaps no leadership challenge more daunting than managing creativity—and more urgent than delivering breakthrough innovation. How do you harness some of the most passionate, intelligent people in your organization without stifling them? How do you simultaneously unleash their energy and channel it into something tangible?
Lina Echeverría offers seven proven principles through which new ideas come to fruition, from unleashing passion and drive, and embracing productive conflict, to emphasizing excellence and structure while living values that liberate creativity. As team catalyst, the leader delivers results while nurturing intuition and growing talent.
These principles apply well beyond traditional creative domains, propelling innovation across entire organizations. Drawing on the author’s considerable experience assembling and nurturing cutting-edge teams at Corning Inc., Idea Agent shows readers how to juxtapose creative freedom with management rigor and lead dedicated professionals as they generate and execute one great innovation after another.
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She identifies and discusses a covey of Passions of Innovation (seven, to be specific) that "come together to make up a living system whose energy radiates from a leader at the core, its heart center." She devotes a separate chapter to each. These passions, these elements, comprise what I view as a manifesto that requires a total commitment. The seven "are neither a recipe to be followed with specific ingredients added in sequence, but rather an approach and a philosophy meant as motivation and inspiration for every leader [or aspiring leader] to create a culture where innovation thrives."
These are among the passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to give at least some indication of the range of subjects that Echeverria covers:
o Know and Understand Creatives (Pages 10-12)
o Define Roles Clearly and Inhibit Conflict (29-37)
Comment: Rather, I favor principled (passionate?) dissent with good will.
o Finding My Wings (39-43)
o Make Room for Intuition (63-67)
o Making It Home: Celebrate the Uniqueness of Their Workplace (94-99)
o Ornaments, Trinkets and Cakes (109-111)
o Demand for Excellence in the Tropical Forest (129-133)
o Create Settings That Nurture Knowledge Sharing (165-174)
o Little Gestures for Big Masters (180)
o Who Has the Skills to Do What with Whom? (196-202)
o In Search of the Holy Grail (207-212)
o Empowerment (236-239)
In the final chapter and then in the Epilogue, Echeverria pulls together with remarkable skill the various themes, insights, concerns, and affirmations that have enriched her lively as well as eloquent narrative. I am especially appreciative of her discussion of authentic leadership, one that is based on integrity rather than title or status. Whatever their size and nature may be, all organizations need leadership at all levels and in all areas of operation. Only if is authentic as Echeverria characterizes it (channeling Bill George) can there be (a) mutual trust and respect that enable (b) collaborative initiatives that liberate creativity and accelerate innovation in what has become a global workplace.
That said, no brief commentary such as mine can possibly do full justice to the scope of material that Lina Echeverria provides in this volume but I hope that I have at least suggested why I think so highly of her and her work. Also, I hope that those who read this commentary will be better prepared to determine whether or not they wish to read the book and, in that event, will have at least some idea of how the information, insights, and wisdom could perhaps be of substantial benefit to them as well as to their own organization.