The Myths of Innovation

Book description

In this new paperback edition of the classic bestseller, you'll be taken on a hilarious, fast-paced ride through the history of ideas. Author Scott Berkun will show you how to transcend the false stories that many business experts, scientists, and much of pop culture foolishly use to guide their thinking about how ideas change the world. With four new chapters on putting the ideas in the book to work, updated references and over 50 corrections and improvements, now is the time to get past the myths, and change the world.

You'll have fun while you learn:

  • Where ideas come from
  • The true history of history
  • Why most people don't like ideas
  • How great managers make ideas thrive
  • The importance of problem finding
  • The simple plan (new for paperback)

Since its initial publication, this classic bestseller has been discussed on NPR, MSNBC, CNBC, and at Yale University, MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, Microsoft, Apple, Intel, Google,, and other major media, corporations, and universities around the world. It has changed the way thousands of leaders and creators understand the world. Now in an updated and expanded paperback edition, it's a fantastic time to explore or rediscover this powerful view of the world of ideas.

"Sets us free to try and change the world."--Guy Kawasaki, Author of Art of The Start

"Small, simple, powerful: an innovative book about innovation."--Don Norman, author of Design of Everyday Things

"Insightful, inspiring, evocative, and just plain fun to read. It's totally great."--John Seely Brown, Former Director, Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)

"Methodically and entertainingly dismantling the cliches that surround the process of innovation."--Scott Rosenberg, author of Dreaming in Code; cofounder of

"Will inspire you to come up with breakthrough ideas of your own."--Alan Cooper, Father of Visual Basic and author of The Inmates are Running the Asylum

"Brimming with insights and historical examples, Berkun's book not only debunks widely held myths about innovation, it also points the ways toward making your new ideas stick."--Tom Kelley, GM, IDEO; author of The Ten Faces of Innovation

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Table of contents

  1. Commitment to research accuracy
  2. Preface for the paperback edition
  3. 1. The myth of epiphany
    1. Ideas never stand alone
      1. Beyond epiphany
  4. 2. We understand the history of innovation
    1. Why does history seem perfect?
    2. Evolution and innovation
      1. Innovation and evolution demystified
      2. Dominant designs dominate history
  5. 3. There is a method for innovation
    1. How innovations start
    2. The seeds of innovation
      1. Hard work in a specific direction
      2. Hard work with direction change
      3. Curiosity
      4. Wealth and money
      5. Necessity
      6. Combination
    3. The challenges of innovation
    4. The infinite paths of innovation
      1. Flickr
      2. 3M
      3. Craigslist
    5. Finding paths of innovation
  6. 4. People love new ideas
    1. Managing the fears of innovation
    2. Negative things innovators hear
    3. The innovator’s dilemma explained
    4. Frustration + innovation = entrepreneurship?
    5. How innovations gain adoption: the truth about ideas before their time
  7. 5. The lone inventor
    1. The convenience of lone inventors
    2. The challenge of simultaneous invention
    3. The myth of the lone inventor
    4. Stepping-stones: the origins of spreadsheets and E=mc2
  8. 6. Good ideas are hard to find
    1. The dangerous life of ideas
    2. How to find good ideas
    3. Ideas and filters
      1. The history and misuse of brainstorming
      2. Finding ideas and turning off filters
  9. 7. Your boss knows more about innovation than you
    1. The myth that managers know what to do
      1. Why managers fail
      2. The conflicts of management and innovators
    2. Five challenges of managing innovation
      1. The life of ideas
      2. The environment
      3. The protection
      4. The execution
      5. Persuasion
  10. 8. The best ideas win
    1. Why people believe the best wins
    2. The secondary factors of innovation
    3. Space, metrics, and Thomas Jefferson
    4. The goodness/adoption paradox
  11. 9. Problems and solutions
    1. Problems as invitations
    2. Framing problems to help solve them
      1. Exploring problems with prototypes
    3. The truth about serendipity
  12. 10. Innovation is always good
    1. Measuring innovation: the goodness scale
    2. Innovations are unpredictable (DDT, automobiles, and the Internet)
    3. Technology accelerates without discrimination
    4. The good and bad, the future and the past
  13. 11. Epilogue: Beyond hype and history
    1. The simple plan
  14. 12. Creative thinking hacks
    1. Kill creative romance
    2. Combinations
    3. Inhibition
    4. Environment
    5. Persistence
    6. Creative thinking hacks
  15. 13. How to pitch an idea
    1. All ideas demand change
      1. Step 1: Refine your idea
      2. Step 2: Shape your pitch
      3. Step 3: Follow the power
      4. Step 4: Start with their perspective
      5. Step 5: Make three pitches
      6. Step 6: Test the pitch
      7. Step 7: Deliver (a pitch is a performance)
      8. Step 8: Learn from failure
      9. Step 9: Go your own way
  16. 14. How to stay motivated
    1. The big motivations
      1. Anger
      2. Necessity/suck it up
      3. Crazy necessity
      4. Pride
      5. Death
      6. Fun
      7. The crazy friend
      8. The discipline
  17. A. Research and recommendations
    1. Annotated bibliography
      1. Myths and mythology
      2. Business innovation
      3. Creative thinking and problem solving
      4. History and culture
    2. Ranked bibliography
    3. Other research sources
  18. B. Photo credits
    1. Chapter openers
    2. Figures
  19. C. Acknowledgments
    1. For the paperback edition
    2. For the original edition
  20. D. How to help this book: A request from the author
  21. Index
  22. About the Author
  23. Colophon
  24. Copyright

Product information

  • Title: The Myths of Innovation
  • Author(s): Scott Berkun
  • Release date: August 2010
  • Publisher(s): O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  • ISBN: 9781449389628