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August 7, 2003

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - The Map of Innovation

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 6:23 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

The Map of Innovation: Creating Something Out of Nothing by Kevin O'Connor, Paul B. Brown, Random House, $25.95, August 2003, ISBN 1400048311
When I think of innovation, I think OK, sure; but first I have to do this report, compare those databases, and adjust my budget, andIll think about innovation later. Or, I think innovation will come to me suddenly, out of the blue, like a lightning bolt. However, Kevin OConnor, who helped create DoubleClick, the innovative marketing technology company, claims that innovation is a process. Not only is it a processit is a process that can be taught and nurtured. He states: As counterintuitive as it sounds, I think you can innovate methodically. You can force innovation. There is a process you can follow to improve both the number and quality of ideas you can come up with.
Sure! But how do you do it? It is actually somewhat simple. OConnor uses a baseball metaphor. How do you get a hit off of a Major League pitcher even though you are a so-so athlete? Just go in the batting cage and swing with all your might? That might work, but your chances are extremely thin. The best way to dramatically improve your chances is to learn the fundamentals of hitting. Thats exactly what the author is doing with this book. Improving your chances of success. The book doesnt guarantee that you will succeed; but by teaching you the fundamentals of innovation, it should increase your chances of success.
Even though the program name Brainstorming Prioritization Technique sounds awfully daunting, it accurately describes the remarkable process of becoming a great innovator. The next five chapters show you how to be a better athlete so you might be able to face Randy Johnson and actually get bat on the ball. The final chapter, called Executive Summary, is worth the price of admission. Nutshell time! Then, the appendix gives you a lesson in writing the perfect business plan. This is a rubber-meets-the-road innovation primer.
Another plus for me is that the book has a great layout. And, just over 200 pages, its trim size fits in your hand nicely.

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.