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Sidestep & Twist: How to create hit products and services that people will queue up to buy Paperback – January 13, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Sidestep and Twist isn't anti-innovation, but challenges the notion that all ideas are good just because they are new. Innovation is making new ideas useful. Gardner's book will make anyone involved in doing transformation rethink what they're doing. --Max Mckeown, Author of The Truth About Innovation, The Strategy Book and Adaptability

Forget everything you think you know about innovation. Gardner proves that innovation can be mastered - breaking down the myths that stand in the way of value creation. This book will fundamentally change how organisations compete in the 21st Century --Gabe Zichermann, Author of Game Based Marketing and Gamification by Design

I predict Sidestep and Twist's common sense approach to innovation success at scale will leave a lot of innovation gurus exposed like the proverbial emperor. If they're clever, they will grab a copy of this book and shout Eureka as they run naked for cover! --Annalie Killian, Catalyst for Magic at AMP Australia

About the Author

James Gardner has run the largest innovation programmes in the public and private sector. He is present Chief Strategy Officer at crowd innovation company Spigit, and lives in London.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Corp/Ccb; First Edition edition (January 13, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9814351105
  • ISBN-13: 978-9814351102
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,789,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Dr Gardner's "Sidestep and Twist" provides a walk through innovation as we do- and as we don't- know it. The central premise, that genuine breakthroughs are never as successful as alterations of something that already exists and that crowds and marketing are key- is well justified, with a good mix of case studies and analysis. The studies are particularly compelling, with fascinating insights in to some of the world's most successful individuals and companies. For example- did you know that the first satnav databases (created in the late 1980s) were based on people driving around the country describing important features in to a dictaphone? And did you know that the world's first vending machine (invented in Ancient Greece) dispensed holy water on the deposit of a coin in to a slot?

These anecdotes, and others like them, were well told- demonstrating Gardner's skill as a story teller. I did feel, however, that at times the central argument would have better elucidated if the case studies had been backed up with more data and/ or if the experiences of the companies had been shown on the indicative graphs; showing real data against the expected outcome would have helped demonstrate the "sidestep" and "twist" in reality. Similarly, I felt that the author sometimes focused on described the impact on the graph line rather than the impact as related to an actual example- for example, writing "this twist has the impact of moving the curve to the left" rather than "this speeded uptake."

This aside, however, this was still an excellent book which innovation teams and company directors would benefit from reading. I would certainly love to hear more innovation anecdotes (including more non-technology based examples) from Gardner- perhaps a topic for the author's next Little Book Of...?
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Format: Paperback
I've read his previous book Future Proof Bank, and I found that a hard read. Technical, full of references, very academic. Sidestep and Twist is quite another story.

Gardner has dumped all traces of the academic style he used before. Now, he tells stories and amusing anecdotes to illustrate his points. I especially liked his account of how it was that Facebook was able to decimate MySpace despite its huge leadership advantage when Facebook came on the scene.

He goes to lots of unexpected places. For example, how Amway used a Twist to make itself independent of its product suppliers. Or how nightclub owners use their pricing capability to draw men in by subsidising women. Its full of stuff like that.

It seems obvious to me, but why has none imposed a price/performance curve on a diffusion curve before? Maybe this is the book's most original contribution, and the data Gardner presents seems to support the notion that there is a real reason why going after first mover advantage can be a really bad strategy.

I can't quite force myself to believe this, though. The data is compelling the theory is sound, but really, am I truly ready to give up the dream that brilliance, talent, and genuine uniqueness is valuable?

Anyway, whether you like this book or not, I agree with the other reviewers here it will certainly make you think.
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Format: Paperback
Sidestep & Twist is a very interesting read. I always assumed that 'simply luck' played a big factor for companies being able to keep the momentum in the market space, it's great to read that there is much more to it and that great techniques can be applied to facilitate ongoing success. The book also contains many great historic cases which detail the competitive race between different inventors and how different strategies were used to keep the market interested in their inventions. There are also many recent cases described which provide great insight in how 'sidestep & twist' should be applied and how it will deliver the required success within your organisation.
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Format: Paperback
Elegantly written with cutting-edge thought leadership, James Gardner articulates innovation through creativity, competitive analysis and overcoming obstacles, while negotiating the "S-curves".

The Sidestep: Sir John Ambrose Flemings, inventor of the vacuum tube did not have the vision for his invention, but Lee De Forest did, adding another wire attached to a grid inside the bulb. Discovering that this derivative of Flemning's bulb, could amplify electronic signals.
The Twist: The rise of the free newspaper shows how twists work - instead of constraining newspaper supply to sustain prices on the reader side, they work actively to expand consumption. This creates the actual battleground over the best content, making the product better the more it is consumed.

James brings innovative ideas showing us a "double twist", the 'S-curves' and the psychology of demand. Plus he shows you how to keep competitor out, and how to build a sidestep and twist strategy. There are so many great thoughts and ideas in this book, I keep it with me to use as a reference.
Truly inspirational and a useful guide towards achieving your innovation goals.
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