Praise for Look At More
"Andy Stefanovich is a masterful storyteller and a true 'curator of inspiration.' Look At More gives you a dose of Andy's adrenaline and creative can-do spirit, and it provides you with a powerful how-to guide for inspiring workplace innovation that lasts."Beth Comstock, chief marketing officer, GE
"Andy Stefanovich has always exhorted his clients to 'look at more stuff, think about it harder.' With this inspired and inspiring book, he shares dozens upon dozens of ways to put that principle to work. Look At More offers a way to real business transformation." Daniel H. Pink, author, A Whole New Mind and Drive
"Andy offers the reader a unique insight into what it really takes to create innovation within the structure of a corporate environment today. Andy doesn't think outside the box. He blows it up and starts again, helping large corporations think and behave like start-ups." Duncan Wardle, vice president, Creative Inc., Disney Company
"Andy Stefanovich delivers a host of innovative approaches to transform you and your business. The addictive narrative, while informative and actionable, is as creative as he wants us all to be."Ivy Ross, executive vice president, marketing, Gap Brand at Gap Inc.
"Look At More gives business leaders a practical and comprehensive framework to build, maintain, and most importantly inspire innovation not only at work but in all parts of life."Stew Friedman, Wharton professor and author, Total Leadership
Interview with Author Andy Stefanovich
What inspired you to write this book?
|Author Andy Stefanovich |
A couple of years ago, I was in the office of a global process company, standing in front of a giant flowchart on the client’s wall. The Innovation Director was walking me through the company’s creativity and innovation process—a tangled web of decision trees, rectangles, arrows, and stage gates. And nowhere on the chart was a shape representing the individual. It was cold, mechanistic, uninspiring. And frankly, it depressed me. I asked where the inspiration for the process came in. She couldn’t answer me.
I am on a mission to change the way business does business. It sounds arrogant, but this passion comes from a very sincere place. Business has managed to turn innovation into mechanical conference room brainstorms, clichéd ropes course retreats, and giant flowcharts that fail to inspire. I’ve worked to change this for the past 20 years. To put humanity back into innovation. So I wrote a book called Look At More
. What does LOOK AT MORE mean?
For me, innovation begins with LAMSTAIH—Look At More Stuff; Think About It Harder. LAMSTAIH (pronounced “Lamb’s tie”) is less complicated, easier to learn, and a lot more effective (by that I mean more likely to inspire) than other approaches to innovation you may have come across. It puts people rather than process at the center of innovation. If it were a flowchart, it’d be two shapes. Look at more stuff. Think about it harder.
LAMSTAIH, and that idea of inspiring people, is the foundation for the 5M approach to innovation that is explored in the book. The 5Ms are Mood, Mindset, Mechanisms, Measurement, and Momentum. And while it may sound like another process, it is actually a framework that recognizes the importance of inspiration and people.
For example, setting the right mood for innovation involves understanding the attitudes, feelings, and emotions that create the context for innovation. Or recognizing the right mindset for innovation addresses the intellectual foundation of creativity and our individual capacity for getting and staying inspired. Getting the 5Ms right leads to inspired people and more powerful ideas. How do you define inspiration?
The most effective way to unleash innovation—whether at the individual, team, or organizational level—is through inspiration. Inspiration fuels creativity and engages your people. And creative thinkers innovate. Look At More
offers a proven approach for fueling inspiration. How often do you sit in your office or cubicle, or “brainstorm” in a conference room – waiting for inspiration to strike? You need to engineer inspiration—you need to look at more stuff.
Sources of inspiration can be direct, tangential, or abstract. Examples of direct inspiration or "stuff" are those things related to your business, product, or service. Tangential inspiration is the next level out and includes other industries, products, or services that have similar issues or opportunities. Finally, there’s abstract inspiration—what can you learn from random and metaphorical connections? This is where real transformation comes from. Is it possible to jumpstart and harness innovation and creativity?
We often think of inspiration as a strike of brilliance, something that happens serendipitously. But that’s a limited characterization. I think there are three ways to get inspired and inspire others—inspiration by delight, by design, and on demand.
Inspiration by delight are those serendipitous moments. Inspiration by design is when you deliberately put yourself in a situation to be inspired. The last is inspiration on demand, a collection of inspiration that you can access at anytime.
By creating a discipline around inspiration, you can start to develop your ability to engineer inspiration. And that leads to better innovation. What would you tell business leaders who wonder if innovation and inspiration are sustainable?
As a leader you have to actively champion and celebrate innovation—this is related to the fifth of the 5Ms, momentum. I’ve seen over and over again business leaders launch internal innovation campaigns with posters, e-mail blasts, and a quick speech in the cafeteria during an ice cream party. And then check it off their performance plans. Innovation strategy launched. Check. But no real innovation has occurred.
The reality is, innovation and inspiration need constant support and frequent acknowledgement. They need to be more than words on a poster. I tell leaders that organizations need to build rituals and symbols that communicate and reinforce innovation. These become the baseline support for innovation in an organization, the cues to your people and teams that “yeah, inspiration and innovation are valued here.”
But you can’t stop there. You need to periodically celebrate and reward innovation. Link your innovation inputs, outputs, and processes to larger strategies. And then celebrate them. And not just the “big wins.” Celebrate and recognize the sources of inspiration, the path to creativity, and the innovation outputs. And most importantly, celebrate the people.