Publication Date: November 12, 2012
This book is about the people whose ideas continually transform the way we do business through new products, markets, and opportunities touching every aspect of what an organization does. It is a field guide for those intent on reaping the full rewards of strategic innovation.
Who are the real innovators? How do they function in a business context? Why does the author presumptuously dub them Giraffes? And how can leadership support them in producing on-going innovation? Strategic business consultant John Di Frances identifies the motivations and key personality traits of the business community's most creative members. Giraffe innovators have an extraordinary ability to recognize or 'see' emerging opportunities. They thrive on discovering simple solutions to complex problems. But CEO's beware! Giraffes have also been known to drive themselves and others to the very brink in their tenacity to realize 'what is possible.'
If innovation can, indeed, pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat and turn flagging organizations into marketplace leaders practically overnight, then why have so few been able to harness the 'rags to riches' power of this important strategy? The truth is that the subject of innovation is surrounded by much confusion. Author John Di Frances not only dispels common misunderstandings but explains that the benefits of innovation are not just the purview of organizations with hefty R&D budgets. On the contrary, they are within our reach — that is with the help of a Giraffe or two or, depending on the size of your business, maybe even an entire herd.
While the current trend revolves around philosophies, systems and methods, Di Frances takes a different approach. He maintains that successful innovation is largely dependent on an organization's culture and that 'The People Side of Innovation' must be its primary driver. Leadership needs to shift its focus to the visionary Giraffe innovators, so named because they share an interesting assortment of characteristics with real-life giraffes.
Readers learn fascinating details about the more familiar, long-necked giraffes native to the African plains as the author demonstrates that building an innovation-friendly, organization-wide culture around the 'ideas people' is the most effective way to accomplish systemic innovation. Packed with historical references and brimming with examples, the book includes vital object lessons and professional insights derived from an exceptional business career. Stories of famous innovators and questions designed to spur thinking follow each chapter.
A uniquely unconventional perspective on achieving future sustainability through the cultivation of breakthrough innovation. Business leaders will gain new understanding on the critical imperative of Minding the Giraffes.
* This is the first book of John's Understanding Innovation Series: Book I - The People of Innovation - Minding the Giraffes, Book II - The Leadership of Innovation, Book III - The Process of Innovation, and Book IV - The Product of Innovation.