Resources, Work, Writing

03: Innovator’s Bookshelf

January 3, 2018

My 2017 Reading List was incredibly fun to assemble and even more fun to discuss with friends and colleagues. I decided to create a permanent reading list of inspirational material- books, articles, stories, and more. Actually, I decided to create one for each of my interests or projects. I’ll be adding to each list a little at a time over 2018.

Today I’d like to introduce you to the Innovator’s Bookshelf. I’ve been on a career path in Innovation for the last 10 years or so, except that diversion through my own startups. In this bookshelf you will find a hearty blend of entrepreneurship, innovation, and technical pieces meant to help corporate citizens navigate building against the grain of their companies’ businesses.  To balance the academic, I’ll occasionally inject a little oddity.

Actually, that starts now. The inaugural spot on my Corporate Innovator’s Bookshelf belongs to Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie.

This is a diary of an early Corporate Innovator inside Hallmark (yes, the greeting card company) and his exploits through the ups and downs of introducing new ways of working, organizing, and thinking to his coworkers. Written from a designer’s perspective, the lessons are steeped in creative thinking, reflected in the sometimes whimsical layouts (see the gallery for examples).  This isn’t a paint-by-numbers guide on how to build an innovation program. Rather, it’s a hopeful and sometimes frustrating preview of what’s ahead of you should you choose the same path.

I accidentally discovered Orbiting while browsing through Powells during a career rough patch. Reading it was like applying salve to a wound.  I revisit this book when I need to step out of the ordinary or remind myself how to fight the good fight. I’ve read this so many times it’s become like a friend I can commiserate with when things go wrong, and a partner-in-crime to celebrate with when things go so, so right.

If you’re building a library to aid you on the journey of Corporate Innovation, Orbiting the Giant Hairball would make a perfect companion.

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  • Reply Tim Denney January 4, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    Thank you for the book recommendation, Shashi. I ordered it and excited to go through it.

    • Reply skjain2 January 4, 2018 at 8:46 pm

      Tim, reach out when you’ve had a chance to read it. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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