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The Innovation Acid Test

The Innovation Acid Test

Ratings: (0)|Views: 1,128|Likes:
Published by Triarchy Press
What links the world's most dynamic, successful companies - the companies that are transforming the way we live our lives? Rootling around in the Googlemould, Dr Andrew Jones has unearthed some remarkable connections and consistencies.

In The Innovation Acid Test, he lays out for us the defining practices and procedures of a select few of these companies - Southwest Airlines, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Google, Innocent Drinks, Shanghai Tang and others. He pieces them together to reveal a pattern of distinctive ways in which they differentiate themselves from traditionalist firms: from managing their businesses and running their workplaces to talking to their customers and recruiting, motivating and rewarding their employees.

From this pattern, he constructs an intriguing model, built on the principles of architecture, design and anthropology. Finally, he sets out the ground rules for implementing that model and creating organizations that are equipped not merely to 'manage the known' but also to 'build the unknown'.

The result is a book that will catch the imagination of any reader interested in work and organizations.

Today, Generation Y employees and ever-more-demanding customers are setting the agenda for business. The Innovation Acid Test offers a clear guide for any company seeking to transform itself into the kind of human-centred enterprise that is equipped to meet these challenges.

Andrew Jones was trained as a cultural anthropologist, receiving his Ph.D. in 1997 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For the past ten years he has been a university lecturer and organizational consultant to businesses in the US and the UK. He taught anthropology, management, and organizational behaviour at the University of Alabama, Birmingham for many years, and more recently he has been Lecturer of Leadership in the Department of Management Learning and Leadership at Lancaster University Management School in the UK.

He has consulted with companies in the food and drinks industry, construction and building, executive education, software, for-profit education, and sports-management. He currently works with the innovation agency, Aquifer Design, which develops tools and technologies for innovation, and with the innovation practice at Mettle Group. Mettle Group, which has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, and London, is an organizational consultancy that helps companies to align strategy with culture and leadership. He is also Visiting Lecturer of Innovation and Leadership at Lancaster University Management School. He is based in Austin, Texas.

He has published articles in magazines including Leadership, Culture & Organization, Organizational Dynamics, Human Organization, Consulting Times, and Professional Manager. This is his first book.
Reviews of this book

"Author Andrew Jones looks at the connection and consistencies of the world's most successful companies which are transforming the way we live in the Innovation Acid Test.

He describes the book as being about the gap between the rhetoric about innovation and the commitment to it. He looks at seven companies which innovate with their products and services and the processes by which they get to their customers. Innovation is defined as "people generating value through the implementation of new ideas" (Tom Kelley, IDEO).

The disciplines of architecture, design and anthropology are key elements of the agenda for innovation and there are examples of how they are incorporated into daily business. The British architect, Christopher Alexander, suggests that the built environment can potentially "come to life" as an extension of nature if it is conceived of and executed according to what he calls "the timeless way of life". Currently 70 per cent of Americans dread going to work, so there seems to be scope for improvement here.

Design is not to be seen as added value but the corporate strategy. It is about growth through differentiation, innovation and sustainable
What links the world's most dynamic, successful companies - the companies that are transforming the way we live our lives? Rootling around in the Googlemould, Dr Andrew Jones has unearthed some remarkable connections and consistencies.

In The Innovation Acid Test, he lays out for us the defining practices and procedures of a select few of these companies - Southwest Airlines, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Google, Innocent Drinks, Shanghai Tang and others. He pieces them together to reveal a pattern of distinctive ways in which they differentiate themselves from traditionalist firms: from managing their businesses and running their workplaces to talking to their customers and recruiting, motivating and rewarding their employees.

From this pattern, he constructs an intriguing model, built on the principles of architecture, design and anthropology. Finally, he sets out the ground rules for implementing that model and creating organizations that are equipped not merely to 'manage the known' but also to 'build the unknown'.

The result is a book that will catch the imagination of any reader interested in work and organizations.

Today, Generation Y employees and ever-more-demanding customers are setting the agenda for business. The Innovation Acid Test offers a clear guide for any company seeking to transform itself into the kind of human-centred enterprise that is equipped to meet these challenges.

Andrew Jones was trained as a cultural anthropologist, receiving his Ph.D. in 1997 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. For the past ten years he has been a university lecturer and organizational consultant to businesses in the US and the UK. He taught anthropology, management, and organizational behaviour at the University of Alabama, Birmingham for many years, and more recently he has been Lecturer of Leadership in the Department of Management Learning and Leadership at Lancaster University Management School in the UK.

He has consulted with companies in the food and drinks industry, construction and building, executive education, software, for-profit education, and sports-management. He currently works with the innovation agency, Aquifer Design, which develops tools and technologies for innovation, and with the innovation practice at Mettle Group. Mettle Group, which has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, and London, is an organizational consultancy that helps companies to align strategy with culture and leadership. He is also Visiting Lecturer of Innovation and Leadership at Lancaster University Management School. He is based in Austin, Texas.

He has published articles in magazines including Leadership, Culture & Organization, Organizational Dynamics, Human Organization, Consulting Times, and Professional Manager. This is his first book.
Reviews of this book

"Author Andrew Jones looks at the connection and consistencies of the world's most successful companies which are transforming the way we live in the Innovation Acid Test.

He describes the book as being about the gap between the rhetoric about innovation and the commitment to it. He looks at seven companies which innovate with their products and services and the processes by which they get to their customers. Innovation is defined as "people generating value through the implementation of new ideas" (Tom Kelley, IDEO).

The disciplines of architecture, design and anthropology are key elements of the agenda for innovation and there are examples of how they are incorporated into daily business. The British architect, Christopher Alexander, suggests that the built environment can potentially "come to life" as an extension of nature if it is conceived of and executed according to what he calls "the timeless way of life". Currently 70 per cent of Americans dread going to work, so there seems to be scope for improvement here.

Design is not to be seen as added value but the corporate strategy. It is about growth through differentiation, innovation and sustainable

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Published by: Triarchy Press on Aug 18, 2009
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