8 Steps to Innovation by Vinay Dabholkar & Rishikesha T. Krishnan


8 Steps to Innovation Going from Jugaad to Excellence is one of the most practical books I have read on Innovation. It draws from the experience of a wide variety of innovative work that authors have done, studied. And the ocean of literature that they have read on Innovation. Before I write the review I must confess that I know Dr. Vinay Dabholkar. I am a fan of his Innovation blog. And have always enjoyed discussing Innovation with him. At the end of the book, I realized he has mentioned my name in acknowledgments. I am not sure if I did anything to deserve that mention, but thank you. Dr. Krishnan, I know through various columns that he writes. I intend reading his earlier book sometime.

The title is very catchy. It almost makes you feel if you follow these 8 steps and your innovation journey is taken care of. It is not so. Authors take you through a framework that you need to apply to your situation, customized to your needs. With a lot of thought-provoking insights from innovators – past and present. The title, take my word is misleading. At a broad level, they talk about building an idea Pipeline. Improving the idea velocity and increasing the batting average or success rate of your innovation experiments or initiatives.

The best part I found about the book is the diversity of examples it gives to innovation situations. From Tihar Jail to Google, from Gandhi to Anna Hazare, from Edison to Jobs. And from Indian Railways to Tatas. What the examples from the era of Edison and Einstein tell you is that the principles that they worked on to become the biggest innovators of their times are still relevant. And probably the best examples of what worked. At the same time, they also pick up examples from what we traditionally do not associate with a business. Like the management of Tihar Jail. Or driving innovation and entrepreneurship there.

They pick up ideas like Dandi March of Gandhi. And how this was championing the idea. What they essentially make you do is look at any kind of success. And see what worked and why. They do not say that you have to be successful all the time. They tell you that practically when you set out on a new path, you can fail. But when you fail, to remember what did not work. The sheer variety of examples makes this book invaluable. And the subtle message is, keep your eyes and ears open. Wherever you are, not just when you are at work or when you are trying to work on Innovation program or a new idea.

A couple of places where I do not agree with the authors are:

  • They advocate that organizations should invite as many ideas as possible, the more the ideas the better participation so a greater probability of a bigger success. Practically speaking, I know many organizations that create the entire buzz around submitting ideas. And then do not know what to do with thousands of ideas sitting in their mailboxes. They do not have bandwidth or resources to even evaluate those ideas. Forget about giving feedback or selecting the best ones. I believe there has to be a bit of focused idea generation. And there should be a platform along with the culture that allows anyone, anytime to share a new idea with relevant people.
  • Second, in the SAP labs examples, they give examples of putting a chip in computer monitors that would sense the user movement and switch off the monitors to save electricity. Did someone think about the energy spent in the building, fixing, disposing of those chips…

Honestly, this is nitpicking, all because this is my favorite subject of exploration.

Read 8 Steps to Innovation to get a general direction that you need to follow for innovation in your environment. Read it for all those brilliant examples to draw inspiration and insights from. And read it to know a long list of Innovation books that are mentioned. Read it to know that Innovation can be achieved systematically.

This book 8 Steps to Innovation is highly relevant for the practitioners of systematic innovation, but others would also enjoy it.

You may buy this book – 8 Steps to Innovation Going from Jugaad to Excellence by Vinay Dabholkar & Rishikesha T. Krishnan at Amazon.

Other books on Innovation reviewed on AnuReviews.

8 Steps to Innovation by Vinay Dabholkar & Rishikesha T. Krishnan

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  1. Anu, Thanks for writing this review! It is by far the best review on the book. I am really impressed by the rate at which you are able to generate quality book reviews. I don’t know how you manage it. Perhaps a topic of discussion over a cup of coffee when we meet in Hyderabad. My parents read your review of “Don’t kill him” and liked it too.

    Thanks again.

    • Thanks Vinay, thanks for mentioning quality, not many people focus on that in the blogging world.

      Please tell your parents that Ma Anand Sheela’s interview is coming up shortly on this blog.


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