Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret: Why Serial Innovators Succeed Where Others Fail by Larry Osborne sounds like a pop psychology motivational book that would be sold on radio commercials and in hotel ballrooms. The title, the writing style and a few of the flashier illustrations all have that unfortunate infomercial quality to them; yet, the heart of the material is better than its trappings.
Osborne discusses the inevitability of failure, the pitfalls of changing something that isn’t broken and the difference between true innovation and mere invention. Instead of “selling change” which usually means “change to do what I am doing,” Osborne is helping organizations to manage change. He addresses questions to ask to identify if change is even necessary. He suggests ways to communicate regarding change within an organization in a way that minimizes resistance and disappointment. He also suggests the type of person who is the best to lead truly innovative change well.
The section on identifying innovative people was my personal favorite. While Osborne does not use Meyer’s Briggs Temperament in his assessment, anyone as familiar with Meyer’s Briggs as a Covenant Seminarian/Wife would read his three paragraphs regarding the perfect innovator and summarize it this way: hire an NTP. As an ENTP on the Meyer’s Briggs Temperament Analysis, I was a little tickled at that chapter. In fact, the book could be broken into two headings “Why You Should Hire An NTP” and “How an NTP Should Communicate With the Rest of the World.”
Unfortunately, Larry Osborne is a pastor of a mega church, and he uses his church as an example for several of his points. In every case, as a confessional Presbyterian I was put off but what I saw as “fixing” something that wasn’t actually broken. If you are a pastor and you think your church needs some innovative change, may I suggest The Creedal Imperative by Carl Trueman instead.
However, I think this would be a handy book for anyone leading a healthy business or not for profit organization. Small businesses and organizations often need innovative change, and don’t know how to go about doing it. While not a magic wand, Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret could jump start some discussion regarding healthy innovation instead of chaotic change. The diagnostic questions at the end of each chapter are alone worth the price of the book and the over the top writing style.
I received no compensation for this post. I was provided a hard copy edition for the purpose of review. I was not required to provide a positive one. I keep a disclosure statement here.