Innovation Books

Innovation is a complex endeavor that engages and stretches the minds of many to come up with ‘things’ that benefit humanity, the planet, or enjoyment by some people, somewhere.  Here you’ll find some books that may influence you to lift your head from the immediate problem around to consider other viewpoints, other solutions, or something completely different.

Are Your Lights On

This book is an entertaining read for anyone trying to grasp the nature of a ‘problem’.  It’s an older, yet timeless, and very amusing book. It would especially help people understand better the difference between a problem and a solution.

Breakthrough Thinking, the Art and Logic of Breakthrough Thinking.

A fair amount of puzzle solving here presented so that you can discover these ‘breakthrough’ ways of thinking that will lead to ‘transformative invention’.

Thinkertoys Brainstorming Ideas

This set of cards goes along with a book called Thinkertoys. The book covers physical world products. The cards, on the other hand provide a gateway for creative ideation no matter what the topic. Both are useful if you want to find ways of categorizing questions that might lead to innovative thinking.

Facilitation methods

Liberating Structures
Lots of great ideas here for working with groups, even very large groups, to tackle both wicked problems, and less complex ones.  Try TRIZ as a retro format.

Innovation Games
This set of facilitation techniques is geared largely to product development. The author of the book, Luke Hohman went on to create large scale remote facilitation platform called Conteneo, It is like MIRO on steroids, where the output from running the facilitation techniques in a distributed platform is immediately accessible.  All the inputs are stored and encoded in a database, and it then can be much more quickly analyzed than a brainstorming session in MIRO.  However, it was bought up by Scaled Agile recently, and I haven’t used it since then, so not sure of the current state. There are amazing stories of its use at large corporations and even citizen participation in San Diego for prioritizing how to create the budget priorities.

This improvisation book has lovely ideas for quick exercises to build your flexibility in the face of ‘the same old’. Written by two improv artists who have helped many agile teams, their craft is well tested, even in the software development community.  Pick one game of the day for your team and give it a try.

Six Thinking Hats

Edward DeBono is famous for Lateral Thinking concepts and has written many books on creativity and innovation. Six Thinking Hats is one facilitators can relatively easily apply to ensure themes are addressed from many angles in a structured way.

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