Analysis of Book "The Myth of Innovation"

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In this book titled “The Myths of Innovation” according to Scott Berkun “If the thing offered represents a significant positive change for whomever it is offered to, by definition, it’s an Innovation. This calls into questions statements such as, we innovate every day or we are in the innovation business, because if something is done regularly, how can it represent significant change?” (Berkun, 2010, p. XVII). The Myths of Innovation really goes into a deep dive on how innovation is improperly used in today’s society. After reading this book we have a clear understanding on what innovation means and how to become an innovator. In this paper we will address the book’s message for managers, how did this book relate to or fit in our educational experiences here at DePaul or previous higher education institutions so far, has this book helped us plan or reconsider our own personal creative journey in our work or career and lastly, what have we learned from the book.

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Berkun states that “few managers recognize that their training and experience, designed to protect what exists, work against the forces needed for innovation. And while it’s easy to see the impossibility of managing creative teams with the techniques of assembly lines, many managers do use these techniques, trapping good ideas in systems structured to work against them” (Berkun, 2010, p. 98). This quote explains that managers are blindsided to the fact that their job requires them to maintain what already exist and in order to do this they are blocking the ability for better changes in the work environment. This quote also explains that because managers are required to maintain what already exist they are stopping the good ideas from working against them keeping their jobs. This helps managers continue to keep their positions.

Another message Berkun addresses to managers is that “Management tends to believe that anything that has lasted for a fair amount of time must be normal and go on forever. Anything that contradicts what we have come to consider a law of nature is then rejected as unsound. And since few managers are aware of these natural biases, or trained to overcome them, they’re unprepared for the day the future in the guise of half-baked, curiously shaped idea knocks on the door. It’s not question of intelligence or intention, it’s a willingness to re-evaluate management purpose” (Berkun, 2010, p. 100). This message explains how managers our taught to believe whatever method that has been done and working for years at the job does not need a change. Therefore, whatever they are trained to show others don’t required changing. Also managers are taught to believe if someone see a change that could be made there is no need to address it because the old way still works. Since most managers are trained this way they are definitely not prepared for new innovation.

Also in this book Berkun states how “managers must balance the team on the edge of the ideals that drove the effort through early stages (We will change the world!) and the necessary constraints of schedules and budgets to finish (We must ship in four weeks, do or die). Too much idealism, and the work never ships—not enough and little change is brought to the world” (Berkun, 2010, p. 108). This message clearly explains that managers are taught to keep the team motivated in knowing that they will make a change eventually. Also it explains how the managers are trained to show employees how much working effort and ability that they need to dedicate in their work to help see a change, but the whole time this is a system set up for little to no change to happen to keep their job going.

One statement that was mention in the book that we can relate to in our educational experience here at DePaul University is that Berkun mentions how “good ideas are hard to find”. In our Creative Innovation class we spoke on how we hide our thoughts because we sometimes believe that our ideas will be rejected. We hold back our creative thinking because others may think our ideas doesn’t make since. Berkun mentioned that these rejections we here from others are called “Idea Killers”. Some examples of the Idea Killers Berkun mentioned are:

  • We tried that already;
  • We’ve never done that before;
  • We don’t do it that way here;
  • That never work;
  • Not in our budget;
  • Not an interesting problem;
  • We don’t have time;
  • Executives will never go for it;
  • It’s out of scope;
  • People won’t like it;
  • It’s won’t make enough money;
  • How stupid are you;
  • You’re smarter with your mouth shut.

So if we use idea finding techniques like we’ve been doing in class which are brainstorming, experimenting and journalizing our thoughts this will help us keep an open positive mind and discover and innovate good ideas.

An educational experience we have learned in our creative innovation class that relates to the book is when Berkun states that “the path that worked last week is not guaranteed to work today, and an innovation that has failed in the past might just be the right thing for right now” (Berkun, 2010, p. 47). This statement explains how we as people assume that because something was done in the past and worked means that we have to continue doing it that way. The future is a head of us and we can’t predict or assume what will happen. For, example in class we played an activity game called squares. We were instructed to take a blank sheet of paper in the hallway and place it on the floor. We also had to listen to our instructor instructions while playing the game. Her instructions were to step on any square in the room. We as students automatically assumed that she meant that we needed to step on our square sheets of papers that we placed on the floor. The whole time she kept stating ANY square in the room. Some people eventually got it after a few rounds. Some of us assumed that the game was supposed to be like musical chairs. So every time the teacher took a sheet of paper off the floor a square would be missing and another person would be out. This was not the method of the game. So we believe that Berkun’s statement above shows that we believed that because we played a similar game like squares in the past for example, musical chairs we assumed that the same method of how the game should be played applied but, it didn’t.

It is a fascinating book with lots of historical references that uncover the pragmatic side of innovation that can help us in building individual creative trip for work and career. By stripping innovation from its falsely glorified epiphanies, the author persuades us that the great creations in history are refined by individuals like you and I, who place themselves in the correct environment, characterized clear objectives, based after existing thoughts and ideas, and after that accomplished it by means of plain grit and balls. Be that as it may, with an end goal to clarify his focuses and maybe help the temperament, the book makes numerous unrealistic examinations, bringing about a discerning measure of false analogies. This makes the book relatively grievous at specific focuses. In any case, the focuses made are wise and sensible; persuading us that diligent work is only the true formula of success. Mr. Berkun has plainly been on a mission to find the nuts and bolts of creative reasoning, as well as how it identifies with business people and invention. Utilizing this base up way to deal with innovation enables him to target 10 fantasies of innovation and break down them so we can comprehend where they originated from and how to stay away from them. Every legend is allocated its own particular section and they are as per the following:

  1. The epiphany myth (diligent work and wears overalls)
  2. We comprehend the historical backdrop of innovation (the victors compose the history)
  3. There is a strategy for innovation (incredible part, justified regardless of the cost of entire book)
  4. People love new thoughts (extraordinary thoughts for the most part don’t look awesome, ask Google)
  5. The solitary designer (one of my most loved parts )
  6. Good thoughts are elusive (have more insane ideas, have no dread with your thoughts)
  7. Your manager find out more innovation than you (don’t intervene him)
  8. The best thoughts win (winning did not depend on how great the thought is)
  9. Problems and arrangements (issues matter and how you characterize them more)
  10. Innovation is constantly great (unintended outcomes matter)

To conclude, after reading Berkun’s book “The Myth of Innovation” we believe that to be an innovators you have to stay motivated and believe in yourself. So in order for us to be creative innovators Berkun wants us to imagine being on our deathbeds and ask ourselves what will we regret not having done if we knew we were going to die today (Berkun, 2010, p. 190). We’ve addressed the books message for managers, and we’ve also explained how this book has related to our educational experience here at DePaul University. We went over how the book has helped us plan or reconsider our own personal creative journey in our work or career and lastly, we’ve explained what we’ve learn from this book.

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