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The Ten Faces of Innovation: Strategies for Heightening Creativity

by Tom Kelley & Jonathan Littman

Publisher: Profile Books Ltd., London 2006
Tom Kelley the author digs into his nearly 20 years of experience managing IDEO the worldfamous design firm, sharing the strategies it uses to foster innovative thinking. The book talks
about power of Innovation and how people make things happen through their imagination,
willpower, and perseverance. It talks about how innovation is not a self-starting or selfperpetuating process and emphasizes that real path to innovation is through people - It is
about the roles people can play, the hats they can put on, the personas they can adopt. It talks
about Innovation in the context of the unsung heroes the front-line managers and workers,
who make innovation, happen day in and day out.
On this background, the book identifies three Personas having ten roles that people can play
in an organization to foster innovation and new ideas.
The book is filled with engaging stories of how companies like Kraft, Procter and Gamble,
Cargill and Samsung have incorporated IDEO's thinking to transform the customer
experience. The Book is an excellent guide on how to nurture and sustain a culture of
continuous innovation and renewal in an organization.
The Ten different roles can be used in different situations to create a range of solution to work
problems and also help in dealing with the cynics.
The book talks about three types of learning personas or roles. These personas believe that no
matter how successful an organization currently is, one cannot afford to be complacent in a
fast changing world. The book talks about how the learning roles help keep teams from
becoming too internally focused and smug about what they know. People who adopt the
learning roles are humble enough to question their own understanding, and in doing so, they
remain open to new insights.
Role 1 : The Anthropologist brings new learning and insights by observing human behavior
and developing a deep understanding of how people interact physically and emotionally with
products, services, and spaces.

Role 2 :The Experimenter continuously prototypes new ideas, learning through trial and
error, taking calculated risks to achieve success, with the mantra of "experimentation as
Role 3 :The Cross-Pollinator explores other industries and contexts and then deciphers
those findings and revelations to fit to ones own unique needs.
The book talks about three organizing roles, played by individuals who acknowledge the
strength of, often contrary to common-sense processes in organizations that make ideas move
forward. They accept that even the best ideas have to continuously compete for time,
attention, and resources of organization. They acknowledge that the process for example - of
budget and resource allocation is not politics" or "red tape," rather they take the process as a
game of chess, and they play to win.
Role 4 : The Hurdler knows that the process of innovation is spotted with obstacles and
develops a knack for overcoming or outsmarting those roadblocks.
Rol 5 : The Collaborator bring together wide-mix of people to the groups, and often leads
from the middle of the pack to create new combinations and multidisciplinary solutions.
Roel 6 : The Director on the other hand not only brings together a talented set of people but
also helps to spark their creative talents.
The four remaining personas are Building roles. They put into action the insights from the
learning roles and channel the empowerment from the organizing roles to make innovation
happen. When people adopt the building personas, they stamp their mark, they are highly
visible, and they will be found right at the heart of where the action lies.
Role 7 :The Experience Architect designs absorbing experiences going beyond mere
functionality to connect at a deeper level with customers' latent or expressed needs.
Role 8 :The Set Designer takes up the role of creating a stage on which innovation team
members can do their best work, transforming physical environments into powerful tools to
influence behavior and attitude.

Role 9 : The Caregiver typically is identified with the health-care professional - to deliver
customer care , going beyond mere service. They anticipate customer needs and are ready to
look after them.
Roel 10 : The Storyteller takes on the role of building both internal morale and external
awareness. Their vehicle is a compelling story that helps communicate the fundamental
human value or reinforces specific cultural trait.
The book has interesting vivid description of the ten roles or personas validated by the
references, telling one thing about them, that the personas actually work- in flesh and blood.
The Personas are not about theories and concepts; they are out there in the unforgiving world
of deadlines and delivering results. The book says that the personas are about "being
innovation" rather than merely "doing innovation." And on those lines, if we can take on one
or more of these roles, working consciously on them, then we can become innovators even in
our daily life.