From Publishers Weekly
What if innovation could be made routine-if assembly-line procedures could churn out brilliant ideas on command? O'Connor, the founder of online ad wholesaler DoubleClick and an unremitting entrepreneur, relishes innovative ideas-from a youthful scheme to shock a troublesome raccoon to DVD rentals that self-destruct instead of having to be returned-and offers here a "reproducible" process that will "force innovation" and "improve both the numbers and the quality of ideas." He calls it the Brainstorming Prioritization Technique, which turns out to be a lot like garden variety brainstorming, with voting to winnow out the likeliest ideas followed by "research" into the best idea; when BPT is used to pair business opportunities with new technology, O'Connor says, "solutions pop out." The process remains somewhat mysterious-BPT relies on "really smart and innovative people," some of whom should be experts on the issue at hand, and others who should have a "knack for creativity in any area"-and O'Connor concedes that "not everyone who applies these principles will be successful-in fact, few of you will." Indeed, after a while he rather drops the subject of innovation and concentrates on general advice on entrepreneurship and marketing. Here the book comes into its own, with practical and colorful tips on negotiating with venture capitalists, launching new products, sales and telemarketing, hitting up friends and relatives for money and motivating workers with stock options instead of cash. None of this material is wildly innovative, but O'Connor and co-author Brown present it in a breezy, acerbic style that cuts through managerial cant.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
O'Connor started three highly successful companies, including DoubleClick, which is usually lumped with Ebay and Amazon.com as one of the few Internet survivors. Dubbing himself a "serial entrepreneur," he has developed a methodical approach toward product innovation that has a contrary assumption that new ideas can be forced out and made to happen, an approach reminiscent of such great inventors as Thomas Edison. At the outset, O'Connor admits that there is about a 10 percent chance of generating a great idea and a 10 percent chance of actually bringing it to fruition, making for a probability of 1 percent chance of success. Given such poor odds, why should anyone make the effort in the first place? The early stages of product innovation are often the most exciting, but it's the ability to stick with it that distinguishes the winners. By creating a large number of viable ideas, sticking to a strategy, getting and keeping the money, and hiring a smart team, the chances of succeeding are vastly improved. David SiegfriedCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved