A few weeks ago I received “Innovate with Influence – tales of a high-tech intrapreneur” by Steve Todd in the mail. “Innovate with Influence” is a short (134 pages), easy, and pleasant read – almost like sitting down with Steve over a cup of coffee. Given that most innovation books are written by innovation consultants, it is rare to get a a first-person account from the innovation trenches, direct from an actual intrapreneur.
As an intrapreneur, Steve (and the book) don’t concern themselves with a lot of theory, but instead on how you go about getting innovation done. And if you harbor the illusion that you have to burn the midnight oil to innovate, Steve has generated over 140 patent applications and billions of dollars in revenue for EMC from the solutions he has worked on, and still managed to leave at 5 o’clock along the way.
The book gives a first-person account of Steve’s career, the projects he has worked on, and his approach to innovation. His keys to success?
- Getting things done early
- Building and leveraging influence
- Actively managing his career
- Actively managing his visibility
- Managing work-life balance to maximize creativity
- Combining expertise, customers, and adjacencies to create innovation
- Doing the important things first
So, if you’d like to get a different perspective on innovation, and see what it looks like through the eyes of an innovator, I highly encourage you to check out “Innovate with Influence“. I’ll leave you with one final concept from the book that speaks to the potential innovation that corporations leave on the table every day.
Many companies don’t actively managing their portfolio of innovation potential across their divisions and business units, to look for new opportunities from combining new discoveries and capabilities spread across the organization. Steve refers to this idea as corporate potential energy and defines it like this:
“Corporate potential energy is the product innovation stored within corporate employees that has the potential to be converted into other forms of product innovation.”
My interview with “Innovate with Influence” author Steve Todd can be found here.
Braden Kelley is the editor of Blogging Innovation and founder of Business Strategy Innovation, a consultancy focusing on innovation and marketing strategy. Braden is also @innovate on Twitter.