The Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelly


The Ten Faces of Innovation is the second book on Innovation from design firm IDEOs stable, by author Tom Kelly whose brother was the founder of this California based company. This book focuses on the human element involved in Innovation. It identifies the 10 roles that various members of the Innovation team may need to play to enable and evoke innovation. The ten faces or the roles identified are:

1. Hurdler
2. Caregiver
3. Collaborator
4. Cross-pollinator
5. Experimenter
6. Anthropologist
7. Experience Architect
8. Set Designer
9. Storyteller
10. Director

Roles are more or less what we commonly understand from these words. And if you think a bit, you would have played most of these roles sometime or the other in your life. If not, there would be someone you would know who plays these roles in the daily life. The author relates these to various innovation projects that they have done at IDEO. He actually profiles IDEO employees based on these roles. And for each role, he has one or more examples.

The Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelly

Somewhere while reading this book I got the feeling of these roles being ‘Six thinking hats’ of Innovation. In fact, I think the number of these roles should also be around six. As I do not see too much differentiation between experience architect, set designer and caregiver. All of which are the roles that make sure that the customer experience is the differentiator for the innovation. Similarly, collaborator and cross-pollinators are not very different, and you need to be one to be the other.

I think putting together of these roles that come into play when you are doing an innovation project will bring a lot of clarity to the Innovation teams. And can help them deliver a well-rounded project. The book The Ten Faces of Innovation gives you the multiple perspectives that would come handy while doing innovation projects in organizations. A good read for Innovation professionals.

Buy this book – The Ten Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelly. Renamed edition The Art Of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm at Amazon India.

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