Chapter 1. Make Innovation Your Business: Differentiating Yourself in the Age of Disruption, Downsizing, and Discontinuity

My work with organizations in more than 35 countries reveals that despite all the talk about innovation, the phenomenon is still a daunting topic to most. The individuals I survey and talk to seem to sense the need to develop new leadership aptitudes beyond their functional expertise. But they are confused about what they should do or what these skills might be.

The skills this book explores aren't taught in universities or business schools. Job descriptions barely mention them. They aren't scored in most performance reviews.

The skills we'll explore in these pages have less to do with formal education or raw intelligence than with attitude, perception, intuition, street smarts, collaboration, passion, and creativity. Taken together, they constitute a powerful new type of expertise that, once you develop it, makes you a rare and much needed contributor.


After 23 years in the innovation field, and after interviewing 43 standout managers and contributors for this book and combing the literature, I have identified what it takes to be a successful player in this brave new business world.

What I found were established, highly respected contributors who had developed unconventional skills on top of functional and execution skills. In all of my interviews, what struck me about these contributors time and again were their reputations ...

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