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The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO's Strategies for Beating the Devil's Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization Hardcover – October 18, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Kelley's latest builds on The Art of Innovation, which celebrated the work culture that distinguishes his high-profile, award-winning industrial design firm, IDEO. This book covers much of the same territory, but focuses on the type of worker and team-building rather than the work environment. The authors define 10 personas, including Anthropologists, who contribute insights by observing human behavior; Experimenters, who try new things; Hurdlers, who surmount obstacles; Collaborators, who bring people together and get things done; and Caregivers, who anticipate and meet customer needs. Like its predecessor, the book is breezy and well written, with plenty of self-promotion. Kelley and Littman weave classic and recent stories of business innovation, such as 3M's Scotch tape, Volvo's three-point seatbelts and Netflix's mail-in DVDs, with IDEO's own success stories with clients ranging from the Boston Beer Company, for whom IDEO designed a new Sam Adams tap handle, to Organ Recovery Systems, for whom IDEO helped develop ways to expedite kidney transport. Aspiring business innovators and fans of The Art of Innovation may find further inspiration in this handbook. (Oct. 18)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Advance Praise for The Ten Faces of Innovation
"Essential reading for every single person in your organization--even the CEO should read it! Each page contains a nugget that's worth the price of the entire book. Wow."
—Seth Godin, author of Purple Cow
“A concensus is emerging that Innovation must become most every firm's ‘Job One.’ ‘Hurdle One,’ however, is a doozer: establishing a Culture of Innovation. IDEO thought leader Tom Kelley offers a thoroughly original and thoroughly tested approach to creating that ‘culture of innovation.’ Rigorously applying his ‘Ten Faces’ will get the innovation ball rolling ... fast. Bravo!”
— Tom Peters
Critical Acclaim for Tom Kelley’s Previous National Bestseller The Art of Innovation
“Tom Kelley has unlocked the magic box of innovation for corporate America.”
—Bruce Nussbaum, BusinessWeek
“In light of all the books on the market about creativity, it takes a certain amount of chutzpah to call your book The Art of Innovation. Yet Kelley makes a good case.... Practical, clearly written, and highly detailed.”
“On nearly every page, the story of some upstart invention is recounted in patter that's as good as a skilled magician's…. Almost like visiting an IDEO workshop in person.”
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"The Ten Faces of Innovation" (Tom Kelley - Currency - Doubleday, 2005)
Kelley elaborates discovery "personas", with a specific role for innovation. The results are underwhelming and this book, like so many others of the genre, perpetuates a pop view of innovation.
Kip Garland (*)
Tom Kelley is best known as a product design specialist. Together with this brother they preside over Ideo, a well known product design house in the USA. "Ten Faces" is Kelly's second book, following after "The Art of Innovation".
The overall theme of the book is set out in it's lackluster forward, which extols the virtues of innovation with the same platitudes heard in the popular press about innovation. In fact the forward is so content and insight-free that the big highlight is that... "The Economist Magazine claimed innovation as the most important ingredient in any modern economy". Ahh.... Isn't this the same kind insight-less generalizing we are used to over-hearing? Something akin to - "good economies are essential for a country". At least other pop-innovation titles, like Michael George's "Fast Innovation" try to make some serious grounding for their claims using valuations and other rooted arguments, instead of the same old worn-out innovation platitudes.
The book rolls along at a yawning pace, outlining the three Persona categories for the Ten Faces. These include the "Learning Personas", The "Organizing Personas", and the "Building Personas". In the process Kelley builds a nearly shameless running advert for his own consulting firm. However, before he outlines his "Faces" he takes shots at the big anti-innovation organizational boogey-man... the "devils advocate" (come-on Tom, who really advised you to write to your audience at a third grade level?). Without giving any real understanding for the motivations, organizational values, situational contexts that drives "devil's advocate" he simplistically says that his ten faces will help an organization defeat the evil "devils advocate" in your organization. Like the rest of the books, Kelley's arguments are weak, and his explanations extremely simplistic, and conclusions obvious.
We then move into the actual Ten Faces that make up the bulk of Kelley's book. In theory, I guess the concept of these "persona" could be really cool. However in reality... well, lets just say they could be much more, uhum... interesting. Kelley uses the first-hand throughout the book which limits the bulk his focus to the "Ideo world" (very limiting indeed..). Additionally there is a huge gap in terms of theory, or that is, attempts to explain the "why" behind the assertions he makes. He tries to sprinkle the book with a good dose of practical "tips", but the collection is altogether uninspiring (do we need to be told to go to news-stands to find "meta-leaning" (ie - scan magazines..)??) since there are no common underlying themes or premises that tie these together and most of the tips are quite obvious or trivial. A deeper dive into development psychology, pedagogy, and other behavioral and organizational constructs would help greatly.
However, the biggest gap in the book is related to its lack of foundations in growth (the overall "why" of innovation, and, at the core premises of any efforts to innovate). Missing is any hint of understanding of the sustaining and disruptive innovation. He uses the same muddled language as all the pop-innovation books, using the confusing term "breakthrough" as equivalent as disruptive. He fails to develop any line of thinking about how you might apply "faces" or "personas" to create disruption, where a fundamentally different set of resources, processes and values are needed (and, therefore, very different set of discovery lenses would be needed). In line with the rest of the pop-innovation crowd, his examples are all sustaining. In fact the good bulk of his work is focused on very narrow definitions of existing customers and circumstances (like for example putting a clock on top of a soda machine to get train passengers at stations to buy more soft-drinks) , which is the very nature of the innovator's dilemma. In this respect the book turns from an obvious and innocuous fast read to a toxin - dispelling just plain bad advice. All and all, Kelley's book is not a particularly good read, however at least it isn't particularly "heavy" either (i.e. the effort to benefit ratio is not completely out of whack), thereby having the additional benefit of not spitting any "grease" on you in the process. Guess this is fitting for a book from a California-roots design firm. And while the book is "fat-free", there really is nothing particularly innovating about this book.
* Kip Garland is an Adjunct Professor at the Fundacao Dom Cabral in Brazil. He is the founder of innovationSEED and implemented the Latin American portion of the global innovation process outlined in Harvard Business School Case # 9-705-463 (translated into Portuguese with permission by the Fundacao Dom Cabral). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelley is up front about his purpose, "This is a book about people", specifically, "the roles people can play, the hats they can put on, the personas they can adopt" (p. 7). Using the notion of persona, Kelley puts forth 10 innovation personas. His starting point is to point out the ill effect the "Devil's Advocate" can have on innovation by drawing the conversation towards negativity and nay-saying. Kelley asserted, "By developing some of these innovation personas, you'll have a chance to put the Devil's Advocate in his place" (p. 7). Kelley organizes his personas into three categories (pp. 09-11):
The Learning Personas - The Anthropologist, The Experimenter, The Cross-Pollinator
The Organizing Personas - The Hurdler, The Collaborator, The Director
The Building Personas - The Experience Architect, The Set Designer, The Caregiver, The Storyteller
Kelley is quick to note that the personas are NOT personality types, instead they are important roles that can be adopted by team members (p. 13). He goes on to say the "innovation roles give you a chance to broaden your creative range" (p. 13).
This book enhanced my reflection of prior experiences with team formation and gave me a new toolkit from which to consider team member strengths and the overall team makeup appropriate for a given project's objectives. It also gave me new lens from which to consider scenarios. For example, How might a hurdler look at this situation? How might a set designer? How might an anthropologist? etc. By imagining the differing roles and trying to see the world as an innovation personal might see them, I'm asking new questions and considering things I might not have considered before. A wonderful book!