The Truth about Innovation

What is innovation? How does it happen? How can businesses encourage innovation? Is it possible to create a culture of innovation? How do you move from an idea to an insight to an innovation?

Max McKeown attempts to answer these questions and many more in his new book, The Truth About Innovation.

The book is well written and well researched, McKeown makes great use of examples from industry to illustrate his fifty-five "truths" and succeeds in reminding the reader that at its core innovation is about keeping our eyes and minds open, and constantly questioning what we know.

When a writer attempts to distil some research and broad based thinking on any subject into what appears to be a set of rules there is always a danger that he or she could fall into the trap of sounding excessively idealistic or offering advice that is either too vague or not at all practical. Thankfully this is not the case with McKeown.

What he has written is short, sharp and extremely focussed, but is also tempered by an honest, down-to-earth style that makes it not only easy to read but also easy to identify with.

Each of the fifty-five truths will resonate with any businesses that has attempted to create and cultivate a culture of innovation. McKeown differentiates between those cultures that encourage innovation and those that discourage innovation in a way that will force you to think carefully about which of these cultures reflects your business or the company you work for.

People are at the heart of innovation, and if there is one lesson you take from this book its the recognition that in order for any organisation to be innovative it has to have the right people. In fact one of the sagest pieces of advice in this book is to "hire people for how they learn, not what they know".

For those who have been advocating the adoption similar cultures and have struggled to convince managers of the need to change, or show what the value of such a change might be, or even how it could be measured, this book provides wonderful examples and insights into how some of the most respected companies in the world have recognised and embraced their own individual cultures of innovation.

McKeown deserves credit for creating an intelligent, easy to use, practical guide to innovation that hammers home the importance of the need for cultural change within businesses that want to succeed. This book is not only a shining light, it's also a great read.

Nadeem Shabir