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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Book Review: Ten Faces of Innovation

Friday, a book showed up in my mailbox, sent to me by my manager's manager. It saved me a trip to the bookstore for airplane reading, since I travelled to the HL7 Working Group meeting yesterday. The Ten Faces of Innovation is written by Tom Kelly of IDEO. IDEO is a design and innovation consulting firm that has worked with many large organizations; showing them how improve their innovation skills. I finished reading it on the plane yesterday. In brief, the author describes 10 key roles that are important to promote innovative ideas within an organization.
Anthropoligist
The person who views a process from the customer's viewpoint.
I've done this a few times and really enjoy it. I don't get the opportunity to do it often enough. My favorite experience was playing fly-on-the-wall during rounds at Intermountain
Experimenter
The person who enjoys quickly prototyping and demonstrating possible solutions.
I've built a number of prototypes over the years for IHE Connectathons and demonstrations (one of my favories is here). Some of them have made it into production systems, which I always find pleasing.
Cross-Pollinator
Someone with breadth in many spaces who can bring experiences from another domain into the problem domain.
Bringing together past experiences with current actiivities is something I did in this post.
Hurdler
A can-do person who figures out how to get over (or around/through/under) obstacles in creative ways.
My favorite method is around, after all, it is easier to get forgiveness than permission ;-)
Collaborator
A person who brings diverse groups together to solve a problem
I'm less of a collaborator that brings together dierse groups, and more of one of those people who gets pulled in to diverse groups
Director
Someone with the overall vision that helps the team solve problem.
Sometimes I have visions. It could be the hour, or too much caffeine, but at least they are consistent. But I'm not very good at building the right team and getting out of their way.
Experience Architect
Someone who looks at and develops the customer experience, thinking about "what are we trying to do" in refreshing ways
That's one of my favorite questions
Set Designer
A role that looks at how spaces and people interact
I've moved my office to be closer to people that I interact with, but these days that's a bit difficult
Care Giver
A role that anticipates customer needs and delivers what is needed to them.
Story Teller
Someone who communicates fundamental insights by relating them to well told, authentic stories
A lot of what I write here is storytelling.
In any book looking at and classifying roles, of course my first response was to find myself. You can see my comments on where I found myself in italics. The author points out that these are roles on a team, and that different team members may take on multiple roles at different times as appropriate.
One role that I've often taken up that he also mentions is that of "Devil's Advocate". While I won't ditch that role, I think I'll try to combine it with the others so that when I find problems, I also think about solutions.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Keith,

    Definitely sounds like a good read. I'm curious about how these roles typically occur in multiple - for instance, Care Giver, Anthropologist, Experience Architect and Collaborator might overlap in a person who advocates for customer needs and then follows through on these needs. A person's role may shift during a project lifecycle.

    Might be useful to identify where you anticipate gaps or surplus in these roles within an organization or project (too many directors, not enough Care Givers...)

    I would characterize "Curmudgeon" alongside Devil's Advocate - the most useful person in any innovative group in which I've been involved has been the Yoda-person, who alternates between "we tried that two years ago and it failed" and "maybe it's time we tried that again..."

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