Innovation Community with Books as Tools

by Lynda Koster

As a businessperson who has spent most of my career so far in some type of integrator role, I have been exploring different ways to meet the demands of today, while building bridges for the future.

This includes learning new things, connecting the old to the new, leveraging past experience, and equally as important – doing some “unlearning” along the way as well. Innovation requires learning, unlearning, integrating and building.
This all seems necessary if we are to become more innovative at a time that requires us to enter into a world filled with new dynamics and a certain level of uncertainty.

A Reality of Learning Through Exploration and Experimentation

For many of us working to make this transition, the last few years have required a different kind of exploration in order to identify the multiple forces at work, while gaining a better understanding of their implications. And with that, generating new ways to apply different approaches to learning and innovation through experimentation.

As exciting as this may be to many of us in discussion, there is a reality when you roll up your sleeves and get right in there to do it. “It,“ being considering an idea and then making the movements toward, and in, execution.

It takes a special type of team, deep exploration, collaboration and hands-on experimentation. And, in a “live” environment, the acceptance of a new level of vulnerability, humility and tension that gets introduced – especially when things don’t go as planned or when a mistake is made.

Of course it is natural to avoid these feelings of conflict, but unless we get out there and try some things out with the possibility of “failure,” how else are we going to learn and innovate? How else will we lead new initiatives or expect others to take risks when these dynamics are introduced?

And for those running a business right now, how in the world can we do all of this while keeping our core business running? Where do we even start?

Books as Tools and Innovation Excellence

Through my own personal journey through many of these questions, I recently connected with an incredible team at Innovation Excellence. An amazing new opportunity was presented for me to collaborate in a new role as their “Integrator 3.0,” as well as on new initiative called Books as Tools.

Coincidentally, the launch includes a book authored by Dartmouth professors Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble who speak to all of this and provide a unique approach to group learning. In addition, there is a community open to those interested in listening in on and/or sharing personal experiences surrounding implementing innovation.

The First Tool: How Stella Saved The Farm
What a refreshing read. Once I saw the authors’ names and read the first chapter, I was hooked and finished it that day.  It is based on another book they wrote titled, The Other Side of Innovation, which I have written about in the past.

How Stella Saved the Farm is described as,
“…a simple story about a farm in trouble, and how it innovates to get out of trouble. It is a light read, but with very serious intent. Grounded in over a decade of research, Stella offers simple, elegant, and practical principles for making innovation happen in any organization.”

If you were to open up my hard-copy you would see ink, scribbles and drawings throughout, relating personal experiences with new ideas conceptualized on its pages. For anybody working to create new paths for their businesses or themselves, I am confident that you will be able to relate while getting inspired as well.

In addition to reading the book, I tried out the discussion guide and started to journal some ideas. What a fantastic way to engage our teams – as an established company working through an innovation initiative, or as an entrepreneur building a team from scratch.

Working Together as an Innovation Community

At times, it can get lonely when you are trying to do something new. It can be a pretty private experience based on where you are in your own personal process. However, once you get out there and start meeting similar people and find your tribe…that’s when the magic starts to happen.

That is what this community is all about – to listen in on and when you are ready – share your own personal experiences with a diverse community of experts, newbies and everything in between. A community who is open and genuinely interested in trying some things out together.

The Perfect Time

I hear people say that they were born at the wrong time or wish they could go back fifty years. To me, it feels like the perfect time…to be part of something pretty incredible right now.

While I do recognize the uncertainty brought about by some of the challenges that lie ahead – to a puzzle person, who loves to be surrounded by creative people who are shaping the future, it can also be pretty incredible.

And who knows, maybe together, we will create a new bridge to another future…something altogether new…

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Lynda Koster is the Programs Partner and Integrator 3.0 for Innovation Excellence. Living and working at the intersection of creativity, data and technology, her core expertise is strategic development and implementation planning, providing integrated business, and marketing solutions to clients. She is a hands-on explorer and life-long learner focused on new and evolving trends and innovations that impact the future of business, marketing and people. She is author of Business Reads Today.

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