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Book Review – Innovation You

Review of Innovation You

Jeff Degraf

I listened to this a week ago on CD in the car, and just now getting around to writing about it.

As I look at the cover, I am trying to remember the 3 takeaways that I had listed to myself as I was finishing up with it and finding it hard to remember.  Seems Innovation You‘s message was not that memorable.

Jeff is very relatable for me, coming from the next state over of Michigan and working with University of Michigan. He does the reading for this book, and I needed the 1st CD to get used to his voice and not feel it grating on my senses.

His stories are very relatable and useful.  Especially the need to pay attention to the weather as a sailor, or anyone in the midwest where a tornado can change the day in a hurry. The analogy is that business and your life can also be changing quickly. However often there are hints of the changing world in advance to let us know that it is time for us to change as well, and now. The challenge is to be in tune with those indicators and learn to read the changes be it weather or business or life.

The  rest of the 6 1/2 hours is spent reminding us that what worked yesterday may be useful today. That in a world where everyone is changing rapidly, there is more then a fair chance that we need to consider a new approach and new methods. The changes may be uncomfortable, but adapting will be more comfortable then not adapting and using old approaches with the new storm on the horizon.

His other big takeaway is the continual reminder that in most endeavors of life, perfection is not expected during a career to be the best (he uses Gretzky and shots on goal as the example), and certainly while learning a new area (even surgeons get to practice before working with live humans). The key is to keep trying and learning from what you attempt. Don’t get hung up in analysis by paralysis but keep attempting and improve from your attempts.

Of course in our incredible world that is continually expanding, it is important to remember to look for worthwhile goals to shot at. Look at what is worth the effort and keep adjusting to the world that is adjusting around you.

Jeff’s book is framed around a quadrant model of different ways people ‘fundementally’ approach life and challenges. He does recognize that many times the best solution is to blend 2 quadrants to come up with the best solution to a challenge. His labels for the quandrants is based on colors. Of course as an audio book, these colors did not map well for the concepts he was referring to. Concequently, much of the ideas were confusing for me as I was trying to visualize, but had not made a clear picture of his model in my mind. His description of the colors and quandrants did not anchor. Perhaps if he had included some key charts to audio book, it might have made a more lasting impression. My copy of the audio book was a library copy, which only included the cover in a library case, so maybe the retail version addresses this.

His website seems to have more tools, but they are all linked to those that got the program as a premium for his PBS special/pledge package. If you did not get the program as PBS pledge it takes a lot of wandering around the site to find out that you need to spend $100 on paypal to get access to other resources. More wandering around the site infers that it includes access to audio, video, iPhone app (no indication of Android version), and perhaps a chart (what I was looking for to see his color map explained). A poor sales job and poor communication job, so I conclude that the resources would probably be poor as well.

Not bad for reminding of the basics. It has a potential idea for modeling that you need to emphasize different modalities for different situations. If the way you solved the problem last time did not work this time, then try a different model (approach or method) using a different mindset/framework. And understand that much of succeeding in today’s world will require changing your framework on an ongoing basis. And success is not just in terms of money or career, but on your values.

two stars of 5.

Have you read Innovation You? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


May 26, 2011 Posted by | How To, Reference books | , , | Leave a comment