“Eat Sleep Innovate: How to Make Creativity a Daily Habit in Your Organization” by Scott D. Anthony, Paul Cobban, Natalie Painchaud and Andy Parker. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2020. 272 pages, $ 28 (hardcover).
“We have been at the forefront of innovation efforts and have seen the good, the bad and the ugly,” explain Scott D. Anthony, Paul Cobban, Natalie Painchaud and Andy Parker in “Eat Sleep Innovate: How to Make Creativity an Everyday Habit Inside Your Organization ”, their introduction on how to harness the imagination and inventiveness of your entire team. “If you’re skeptical, we understand. In our experience, companies are well intentioned – they want to innovate and they want to build a stable of creative employees – but their attempts usually fail or, in some cases, backfire altogether. Hence the skepticism.
“It’s easy to assume that people can’t change,” they add later. “That lifelong workers have deep-rooted habits and lack the knowledge required to adopt advanced technologies. This book presents a system-level way of encouraging and enabling people to think and act beyond the status quo. Our approach is located at the intersection of four research streams: organizational culture, changing habits, behaviors promoting innovation and structures and systems promoting innovation. “
Has your interest been piqued again? Or asked in another way, have you ever wished that the people you work with were more original in their approach to the challenges and problems they face on a daily basis? More importantly, have you ever wondered if you can motivate them to think outside the box on a more regular basis? Not only do these seasoned professionals provide detailed explanations that help shed light on these ever-changing queries, but they also take it to the next level by giving you the tools you need to accurately diagnose current issues and take action. fixes that will help you stay viable – and competitive.
Structurally, the book consists of an introduction, “The World’s Greatest Untapped Energy Source”, eight chapters organized into two main sections: “Part One: Laying the Foundation” (comprising the first four chapters) and “Second part: Tips, Tricks and Tools ”(which includes the last four chapters), and a conclusion,“ Starting a movement ”. Concepts and applications are based on evidence-based research, with seven pages of source notes. Oddly enough, I found the rather large appendices included at the end of the main story to be particularly illuminating; they are organized into five sections: “Library of the culture of innovation”, “Review of the literature on culture change”, “Diagnosis of the culture of innovation”, “What is the status of your relationship? ‘innovation?” and “Bag of 101 BEANs,” which is an acronym for Behavior Enablers, Artifacts, and Nudges.
The ideas – and resulting recommendations – recounted in “Eat Sleep Innovate” are fairly comprehensive and cover both the human side of the equation as well as the technical considerations inherent in any successful business. Culture shapes the tools we have used; the inevitable tools shape culture in a continuous feedback loop that defines almost every aspect of the modern world – especially the provision of goods and services that keep us moving at an ever faster pace. A representative excerpt emphasizing the relevance of the human component of the environment can be found in “Driving a Cultural Spring”, the fourth chapter and the one I found particularly intriguing:
“People need to adopt new behaviors before they can devise ways to encourage and empower them. Just because almost everyone intuitively understands the importance of culture doesn’t mean everyone is willing to spend time advancing culture. Providing first-hand experience on the power of particular behaviors is the best way to convince people of the importance of BEANstorming in order to enable those behaviors. “
Likewise, a good illustration of the interplay between people and technology – at least from a historical point of view – can be found in “Phase 4: Advancing Ideas”, chapter eight:
“Probably the biggest advantage of ‘born digital’ businesses is that they recognize that technology is business. In contrast, many traditional businesses view IT as a necessary but largely unwanted cost. A 1979 Harvard Business Review article, for example, suggested creating a “banking back office” to increase IT efficiency and allow “real business” to focus on what matters: engaging with customers. and earn money. This shift has created unhealthy tensions between revenue-hungry front-line executives and IT departments tasked with injecting huge amounts of software change into increasingly critical systems while keeping them stable. A master-servant relationship evolved, in which the front office held the purse strings and prioritized new revenue-generating features over improvements needed for stability. “
Anthony is a senior partner at Innosight, a growth strategy consulting firm; in 2019, he was recognized as the 9 most influential management thinker by Thinkers50, a biannual ranking of global business thinkers. His previous books include “The Silver Lining: Your Guide to Innovating in a Downturn”, “The Little Black Book of Innovation: How It Works, How to Do It”, “The First Mile: A Launch Manual for Getting Great Ideas into the Market ”and“ Double Transformation: How to Reposition Today’s Business While Creating the Future ”with Clark G. Gilbert and Mark W. Johnson. Cobban is Data and Transformation Manager at Singapore-based DBS Bank; he also chairs the Institute of Banking and Finance Future Skills Working Group and is an IBF member. Painchaud, who holds a BA with Honors in Industrial Relations from McGill University in Montreal and an Advanced Executive Coaching Certification from the Columbia University Coaching Program, is Director of Learning at Innosight. Parker spent five years with Accenture’s London-based Global Strategy Group, where he worked on numerous transformational and strategic projects for consumer goods and services clients; he is also a partner at Innosight.
“The good news is that innovators in large companies can access the same tools as entrepreneurs,” note the authors towards the end of the book. “They can combine these tools with hard-earned scale assets. And this combination can be absolutely magical.
After reading through this enthusiastic but captivating treatise on the confusing but ultimately inspiring world of contemporary commerce, I couldn’t agree more. Highly recommended.
– Reviewed by Aaron W. Hughey, University Professor Emeritus, Department of Student Affairs and Counseling, Western Kentucky University.