The Enemy of Innovation?

Expertise, Says Author of "Best Practices Are Stupid", Stephen Shapiro People tend to think an expert is the be-all and end-all - the A-to-Z on an impo rtant subject. But that's not true when it comes to innovation, says writer and innovation leader Stephen Shapiro, author of "Best Practices Are Stupid". Expert ise can actually keep business leaders from that one great idea that will push t hem to the top. Boston, MA - October 16, 2011 (PR Solutions) -- The idea of expertise brings to mind a tub filled with everything one needs to know about a subject. The expert on dish washing soap seemingly knows everything there is to know about dish wash ing soap. But what Stephen Shapiro shows in his latest book, Best Practices Are Stupid, is that expertise is the enemy of innovation. Why? Because expertise ass umes it knows everything there is to know about a subject, when in fact it's one good "idea-merge" away from true brilliance. "The more you know about a particular topic, the more difficult it is for you to think about it in a different way," says Shapiro. "If you want breakthroughs, y ou need to bring together people from a wide range of disciplines, backgrounds, and experiences." This isn't just a theory. In his new book, Best Practices Are Stupid ( http://am ), Shapiro points to research by Lee Fleming, a Har vard Business School professor who discovered that multidisciplinary work is "fr equently superior to the best innovations achieved by conventional approaches". Interestingly, Fleming's research showed that: * Similar background teams equaled great successes, yet few breakthroughs. * Cross-disciplinary teams equaled higher failure rate, yet radical innovations with potential to create incredible value. The question Shapiro poses is whether there's a way to get the benefits associat ed with diversity without any of the undesirable effects. He answers, "Yes" - an d says the key is "open innovation". "Open innovation is all about engaging people outside of your organization to he lp solve challenges," says Shapiro (sign up for his monthly Free Innovation Tips at ). "It's like when Netflix went outside itself to find a way to improve video recommendation by 10 percent. Or when a s olution was found to help in the cleanup of the [oil spilled by the] Exxon Valde z tanker. We must choose open innovation over expertise. It's simply the way to go." Stephen Shapiro's most recent book, Best Practices Are Stupid discusses the phen omenon of Open Innovation and other paradigm-breaking ideas, and can be found on at About Stephen Shapiro: Stephen Shapiro is one of the foremost authorities on innovation and collaborati on, and has personally touched hundreds of thousands of lives in over 40 countri es. While Stephen's insights apply to virtually any organization, big or small, he has contributed to shifting the innovation culture for such Fortune 500 organ ization as Staples, GE, BP, Johnson & Johnson, Fidelity Investments, Pearson Edu cation, Nestle, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. As the founder and creator of a 20,000 person internal innovation practice within Accenture, and advisor to hundreds o f organizations worldwide, Stephen possesses a rare and extensive arsenal of too ls, allowing him to arm any organization with the knowledge they need to shift t heir most threatening challenges.

Stephen can be reached at 617-379-1177 or online at Press Contact: Stephen Shapiro 24/7 Innovation 2001 Marina Drive Suite 8078970 Quincy, MA 02171 617-379-1177 Please contact for corrections or updates.