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The Idea-Driven Organization: Unlocking the Power in Bottom-Up Ideas Hardcover – March 31, 2014

4.8 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

 “As leaders, we need to create an environment that effectively draws employee ideas out and empowers implementation. The Idea-Driven Organization provides a practical map on how to get there.”

—Jeff Nagel, CEO, NBTY Inc.



“We’re at the end of the age of being able to do more with less based on tired old management models and thinking. To thrive in the new era, organizations will need to be idea driven. Fortunately, Robinson and Schroeder have written a must-read guide for leaders looking to make this transformation.”

—Chip R. Bell, coauthor of Managing Knock Your Socks Off Service and Managers as Mentors



 “To succeed in business today, it is absolutely essential that you tap into the ideas, creativity, and innovation of every member of your team. Working with companies around the world, I have seen that one of the greatest roadblocks to their success is a failure to truly get the most possible value from their talent. I am extremely impressed with this book and have recommended it to many of my clients. The authors lay out a superb blueprint, with lots of tools and examples, for creating an idea-driven organization. This is one of those rare must-read books.”

—John Spence, author of Awesomely Simple



 “All outcomes measures are influenced by one critical factor: the number of employee ideas implemented by the frontline employees themselves. Alan Robinson and Dean Schroeder present research findings in many companies and industries that clearly confirm this but also explain how great leaders make it happen.”

—John Toussaint, former CEO, ThedaCare, and author of On the Mend and Potent Medicine



"The Idea-Driven Organization is a challenge to the dominant paradigm of 'Manager Knows Best', replacing it with a more balanced program of top-directed but bottom-driven initiative to keep creativity and productivity flowing. It is no less than a call for a complete house cleaning – from physical and spatial relationships, to organization and information flows, and to changing the mindsets of employees and management alike! Required reading in an increasingly globalized and competitive world."

—Dean Cycon, Founder and CEO, Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company and winner of a 2013 Oslo Business for Peace award and the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles Leadership Award for Community Engagement



 “The idea-driven organization is one that steadfastly listens to its people to ensure the organization remains safe, responsible, productive, and continuously improving. Robinson and Schroeder provide an insightful guide for leaders who are vested in engaging the minds of their frontline employees.”

—Kevin S. Crutchfield, Chairman and CEO, Alpha Natural Resources



“Robinson and Schroeder have written a manifesto that might very well spark a revolution. They show us how the ideas generated by the knowledge and creativity of frontline employees can help any organization, large or small, public or private, become more efficient, more productive, more innovative. I say let the revolution begin!”

—Stan Rosenberg, Massachusetts Senate Majority Leader



 “No one has captured the rationale and how-tos for achieving business results through frontline involvement as elegantly and convincingly as Schroeder and Robinson have. Learning how to unleash the significant power of ideas is quite possibly the most important leadership skill needed today.”

—Karen Martin, author of The Outstanding Organization



 “The Idea-Driven Organization is an exciting book that makes a compelling case for a simple but very powerful concept—business leaders who learn how to leverage the know-how and ideas of their frontline people will have a major winning edge because most of their competitors either don’t get it or don’t know how to do it. The detailed and provocative case examples are a major strength of the book—they show how business leaders can put ideas into action by tapping the expertise in their own organization.”

—Lee Bolman, coauthor of Reframing Organizations



The Idea-Driven Organization is so reasonable that the magnitude of its change message is easy to miss. The richness of the examples from all over the world make it fun to read, and the authors convincingly demonstrate the power of incorporating frontline thinking into your organization.”

—Marshall Goldsmith, author of the New York Times bestsellers Mojo and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There



“Robinson and Schroeder have learned from experience the power of people at the front line of the organization actively identifying and solving problems. Building on their previous book, Ideas Are Free, they tell us how to create an environment to encourage the free flow of ideas to become a high performing organization.”

—Jeffrey K. Liker, PhD, Professor, University of Michigan, and author of The Toyota Way

About the Author

Alan G. Robinson is a professor at the Isenberg School of Management of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has served on the board of examiners of the United States Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. His research into the best and worst practices in continuous improvement has won a number of awards and has taken him into organizations in many countries around the world. He has advised more than sixty organizations in some ten countries on how to improve their creativity.
Dean M. Schroeder currently serves as the associate dean and director of graduate programs in management and is the Herbert and Agnes Schulz Professor of Management at Valparaiso University in Northwest Indiana. He has served on the board of examiners of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, is on the board of directors of the American Creativity Association, and has served on several corporate boards.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1 edition (March 31, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1626561230
  • ISBN-13: 978-1626561236
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As leaders, we too often assume that it's our job to solve our organizations' problems single-handedly. We're getting paid more than everyone else, being awarded more benefits and latitude, and enjoying the relative prestige of our elevated positions on a daily basis. It's not surprising that we should feel a heavy responsibility to create unique solutions to increase profits, drive down costs and navigate our teams into blue oceans of opportunity. After all, that's why we're bosses, right?

The problem is, one person can never have all the answers - no matter how intelligent, hard-working or creative he or she is. Furthermore, as we're promoted we become increasingly removed from the mechanics of our operations, setting up an inherent conflict with our need to be our organizations' experts. Leaders are charged with fixing everything, yet are stripped of the first-hand knowledge, peer-group feedback loops, and nuanced systems understanding that would allow them to do so.

Enter The Idea-Driven Organization: Robinson and Schroeder's impressive follow-up to their bestselling debut Ideas Are Free. The authors lift the weight of world from their readers' shoulders by showing them how to regain their organizational power...and professional joy. The authors of IDO are both mentors and practitioners, both inspirational sages and how-to guides. My advice? Read the book. Then give it to everyone you know, and watch a quiet revolution unfold in your corner of the world.
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Format: Hardcover
The Idea-Driven Organization should be read by all managers, executives and business owners. The authors start out stating that, “Most managers have difficulty believing that there is enough value in employee ideas to justify the effort of going after them”. But, “some 80 percent of an organization’s potential for improvement lies in front-line ideas”.

Hellooooo. Anyone who thinks otherwise is totally off-base. The people that know the most are on the front lines – the people doing the jobs. They see the everyday in’s and out’s – what doesn’t work or how it could work better.

I’m not bashing consultant’s (most of them anyway), but your own people have far more working knowledge. Start there. Great leaders make great things happen and Robinson and Schroeder show HOW to make things happen by implementing employee generated ideas.

The key is in creating an environment in which employee’s feel comfortable submitting ideas. Not just one, but multiple ideas. This book shows you how to take off the blinders to become open to ideas. For one, take a look at those stuffy, idea-quelling SOP’s to see what kind of impact (positively OR negatively) they’re actually making.

There are so many great stories/examples from around the world, and thought provoking ideas to implement, that you’ll be ready to make drastic changes to your organization before you’re half way done reading.
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Format: Hardcover
I love the inspiration that I feel after reading this book! What a wonderful collection of incredible stories and real life examples from different sectors around the globe. I feel confident that if organizations followed the principals found in this book, not only would their business improve, but so would the lives of their employees. I hope that The Idea-Driven Organization catches on like wildfire.
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Format: Hardcover
“Pay attention to the people who are doing the work.” That’s a great one-sentence summary of a new book by Alan Robinson and Dean Schroeder. Their “Idea-Driven Organization” is a great book with lasting impact. I especially like the example they provide toward the end of the book regarding ThedaCare, on pages 169-173. (If you’re in a health-care or related field, these pages alone are well worth the price of the book.) I also like the way the authors summarize each chapter with Key Points. In addition, they book is very well-indexed, which I always consider a plus when I want to refer to something in the future.
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Format: Hardcover
OK, I wasn't sure if I'd like this book or not, but WOW! The authors hit a homerun and champion the "idea" of how companies can grow from good to great by becoming idea-driven organizations.

They prove their point with case studies and then step by step show you how it's done.

Being idea-driven is more than setting up a suggestion box. In fact, you'll learn why that's exactly the wrong approach.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really wanted to like this book more, and I was hoping for more specific steps to take to get more ideas from employees. But, the book was geared toward much larger companies, and there weren't many specific suggestions to help get more ideas.
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Format: Hardcover
Having just read the book The Idea-Driven Organization: Unlocking the Power in Bottom-Up Ideas by Alan G. Robinson and Dean M. Schroeder, I’m eager to recommend this book to anyone looking for ways to motivate improvements in processes and incite organizational change. From the early pages in the book the authors describe the survival of a few companies, all of which are attributed to skilled innovative techniques by front line employees and perceptive managers. This book is so well researched and insightfully written, there is no way to cover all the excellent points. I’m going to skip through the book and share my favorite points. But get the book and read it for its penetrating value in creating an innovative organization.

Power in Ideas
Once a problem is identified, ask front-line staff for ideas on how to solve it. This changes the dynamic from a command-and-control approach that’s top-directed and top-driven to top-directed and bottom-driven. This leads to a more successful solution.
Problem sensitivity is a key driver to problem resolution. Ideas begin with problems. Expose people to problems so they recognize them and think about how to solve them.

Leadership differences in innovative organizations
One chapter describes the disparity between managers who pay attention to front line employees and those who have raised to superiority and are more concerned with self-promotion. Managing from a core of power undermines innovation. Power brings out tendencies that work against freedom to share and acknowledge ideas.
Read more ›
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