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Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire by Braden Kelley

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Foreword

Innovation is not what it used to be. In fact, if you were to pick up a book on innovation from the 1970s and compare it with the book you are now holding in your hands, you would probably find the difference quite remarkable.

Back then, there were basically two areas of focus in the field of innovation. One was on boosting a company's research and development (R&D) capability, which was essentially all about developing new technologies and products. You would have been hard-pressed to find any book at that time that dealt in a serious way with how to innovate around operational processes, services, cost structures, customer experiences, business models, management practices, or industry architectures. The dominant paradigm of that era—at leading companies like IBM, Xerox, or Procter & Gamble—was that innovation was something you did almost exclusively in a scientific research center. And those research centers were usually kept quite separate from the company's core business. They were funded to explore fringe ideas that may have had little or nothing to do with the real work of the company, or nascent technologies that would require a very lengthy time frame before they could ever be commercialized.

The other area of innovation focus in the 1970s was personal creativity—how to "harness your imagination" and "unleash your creative potential" to come up with breakthrough ideas. In many ways, the popular paperbacks of the day helped perpetuate the myth that innovators are ...

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