Book Review: Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret by Larry Osborne

Some books are written from ivory towers, others are from the trenches. Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret by Larry Osborne and is an  in the trenches book that will help you navigate innovation and change.

Larry writes a fast paced book filled with the wisdom of a sage. Based not only on his experience but also the experiences of others, Larry charts a path for dealing with innovation.

By the way, the dirty little secret of innovation — it fails. That’s why you need an exit strategy and perhaps a greater realization that your greatest problem may be the road to your latest innovation.

Larry defines an innovation as having 2 components: “(1) work in the real word, and (2) be widely adopted within a particular organization or industry or in the marketplace.” 

Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret is written to leaders dealing with change and seeking to identify next steps for growth. Those looking to develop the next I-phone or latest, greatest invention will be disappointed.

Of the 7 parts of the book, Part 6: Why Vision Matters is my favorite. Mission is the elevator speech statement of what you do. Vision drills down on that statement to flesh out the mission, and develops much like a Polaroid picture — over time. Vision brings greater clarity to the mission. The Leader’s role is to create and sustain vision.

Throughout the book I appreciated not only Larry’s sharing of life experience and the wisdom from that, but the frequent inclusion of questions to ask as one works through the innovation process. Questions like: “What (if anything) do we need to change to make our mission statement more ruthlessly honest, widely known, or broadly accepted?”

I give Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret 5 out of 5 stars. The combination of in the trench experience, the ability to process that experience for others, and the brutal honesty to include the role of failure in innovation makes this a valuable read for leaders.

My thanks to Zondervan and BookSneeze for a free copy to review. I wasn’t required to give a positive review, just an honest one.

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