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Preface of Innovative Intelligence - Read it here! Innovative Inteligence is available at all book stores.

 (available on January 17, 2011)



The Art and Practice of
Leading Sustainable Innovation in Your Organization

By: Dr. David S. Weiss and Claude P. Legrand


Innovation has emerged as a key source of competitive advantage in today’s knowledge economy—yet it is still quite elusive for many organizations. The evidence is clear that despite decades of effort, most established organizations have not figured out how to innovate systematically. We have not had sustainable solutions—practical and reliable programs that deliver long-term, predictable results. Instead, we have had an endless array of partial answers.

The observation that fueled our pursuit of this problem was the contrast between what so many established leaders were saying about the critical need for innovation and what so few were successfully doing.  Most CEOs, government leaders, and consultants recognize the importance of innovation; and yet, innovation is still the exception, not the norm. Our question then is: Why is innovation not happening systematically when leaders demand it?

We have found that too many organizations try to improve innovation by focusing on one element at a time, particularly in the area of new products and services. They train individuals, hire more creative people, or create specialized innovation departments. Despite these investments, most organizations have disappointing results. They are left with an alarming innovation gap. 

Innovative Intelligence responds to the question: How can we make individuals and organizations systematically and sustainably innovative? 



We present in this section a brief overview of the three parts of the book and a description of each chapter.


Part One: Closing the Innovation Gap

Part One of Innovative Intelligence (Chapters 1 to 4) describes the root causes and the challenges of the innovation gap, the need to enhance capabilities of leaders to lead through complexity, and the importance of accessing innovative intelligence to close the gap.

Chapter One: The Innovation Gap - This chapter defines innovation and innovative thinking. It then describes how the innovation gap impacts organizations and explains that there is an urgent need for innovation by all leaders, employees, and teams, in order to close the gap.

Chapter Two: Leading Through Complexity - The knowledge economy has created new demands for leaders to lead through much more complex issues and problems. Yesterday’s “right” answer does not work anymore. All leaders need to engage employees, teams, peers, and customers in order to gain better insight into the complexities they face and to discover the best ways to proceed.

Chapter Three: Accessing Innovative Intelligence - To be effective in the knowledge economy and contribute to closing the innovation gap in the workplace, leaders need to draw out their employees’ and teams’ innovative intelligence. Leaders need to understand when analytical thinking is the best process and when they need to apply innovative thinking in order to access the team’s innovative intelligence. 

Chapter Four: Eclipse of Innovative Intelligence - This chapter describes three scenarios that can obscure or eclipse one’s innovative intelligence and offers suggestions for removing or reducing the impact of each eclipse.


Part Two: Innovative Thinking

Part Two of Innovative Intelligence (Chapters 5 to 9) introduces the innovative thinking process necessary to access innovative intelligence. It describes how leaders and employees can apply innovative thinking techniques and tools eff ectively in the workplace.

Chapter Five: Innovative Thinking - An Overview - This chapter provides an overview for the entire Part Two. Specifically, Chapter 5 explores the characteristics of an effective innovative thinking model and the key success factors of innovative thinking. 

Chapter Six: Step 1: Framework - The framework is the foundation of successful innovative thinking. This chapter presents the six essential tools and techniques needed in order to create an effective framework. The first five together help leaders and teams understand and define “the problem.” The sixth tool is the plan, or project charter, which guides the process of gaining insight into an issue and discovering meaningful innovative solutions. 

Chapter Seven: Step 2: Issue Redefinition - Issue redefinition is fundamentally concerned with identifying the root causes and sub-parts to shape and reshape an issue. Step 2: Issue Redefinition helps identify the best angles from which to solve the overall problem or opportunity. 

Chapter Eight: Step 3: Idea Generation - Idea Generation is the step in the innovative thinking process that relies most intensely on innovative intelligence. This chapter explains the four stages of group idea generation and then describes how they can be applied by individuals. 

Chapter Nine: Step 4: Implementation Planning - In Implementation Planning, leaders guide groups through the process of confirming the preferred ideas, engaging in a risk analysis, presenting the innovative solution for approval, and ensuring there is a proper handoff to an implementation team.


Part Three: Making Innovation Happen

Part Three of Innovative Intelligence (Chapters 10 to 14) explains how leaders can guide innovative teams. It then explores how to shape a culture of innovation, design organizational practices that promote and embed innovative thinking in an organization, and develop an organization-wide innovation plan.

Chapter Ten: Making Innovation Happen -  an Overview - Innovative thinking is necessary but not sufficient for innovation to occur in organizations. This chapter provides an overview of the four essential enablers that are fundamental to making innovation happen. 

Chapter Eleven: Leading Innovation - Innovation rarely happens and certainly cannot be sustained without the active commitment and involvement of effective leaders of innovation throughout the organization. This chapter explores the four areas of innovation leadership: leading self, leading innovation teams, leading intact work units, and leading innovative enterprises. 

Chapter Twelve: Culture of Innovation - This chapter explores how culture impacts innovation and how to accelerate the transformation of a culture so that it enables and sustains innovation. It concludes with a challenge to leaders to actively create a culture that supports innovation rather than letting the existing organizational culture prevent innovation. 

Chapter Thirteen: Organizational Practices for Innovation - This chapter explains the importance of implementing organizational practices that help individuals and teams to innovate. It explores all the organization processes and recommends how they can be improved to support innovation. 

Chapter Fourteen: The Innovation Plan - This chapter focuses on the specific elements that should be included in an enterprise-wide innovation plan and the process to develop and measure its success. The final section of this chapter focuses on “pulling it all together.” In that section we integrate the ideas presented throughout the book and extend a challenge to governments, education systems, and multinational companies to do their part to help organizations close their innovation gaps.



The book has been written for leaders who are dissatisfied with the current innovation gap in their organizations and are hungry for practical information, ideas, and techniques to advance innovation. Innovative Intelligence is very helpful both conceptually and practically. All the ideas and the practical tools presented in this book have been “road-tested” in engagements with our clients over the past few years and are already helping large organizations close their innovation gap. In particular, the following groups will find the book beneficial: 

• Executives and managers at all levels who are seeking to understand how to enable innovative thinking and how to create a culture that supports innovation in their organizations.

• Boards of directors who understand their businesses’ continual competitive advantage depends on their capacity to innovate.

• Human Resources, talent management, and leadership development professionals, internal and external to an organization, who are interested in understanding how to build the leadership capability as innovative thinkers.

• Members of associations that are concerned with leadership innovation issues.

• Members of the academic community interested in a well-researched and practical text to teach their students about the need for innovative intelligence and about the changing role and expectations of leadership.

• Students in business schools, engineering, organizational behavior, and Human Resources programs, looking for a fuller understanding of the challenge of building organizational and leadership innovation capacity.

• Management consultants seeking ideas to provide advice to organizations about how to develop leadership innovation to drive business results.



Most readers will benefit from reading the book cover to cover. However, others will find they can dip into the book for specific ideas and information, and it will add value. Here are some alternative ways this book can be read:

• Some readers—those responsible for the development of innovative leaders—may want to use the book as a study guide for use in training. A suggested approach is to ask the leaders to read Part One for the first discussion and Part Two for the second discussion. Part Three should probably be read and discussed one chapter at a time.

• Some readers may want to explore the topic of innovative thinking and how it is done, which can be found in Part Two (Chapters 5 to 9).  

• If the readers are primarily interested in systemic change to create an organization that supports innovation, they may want to focus on reading Part Three (Chapters 10 to 14), which describes the key enablers and disablers of innovation in organizations.

• Finally, readers may want to study a topic of their own interest. A detailed index has been prepared for referencing specific topics. For example, the topic of “individual innovative thinking” is referenced in several chapters of the book. Readers can combine the ideas about a topic area to form their own analysis of the material. 


Our intent is that readers of Innovative Intelligence will be convinced that innovative intelligence is essential for organizations to close the innovation gap. The book provides business leaders with the logic and the tools to enhance innovative intelligence in the workplace.

To this end, Innovative Intelligence presents the case for a new focus for leadership, centered on innovative thinking and fostering a culture that supports innovation. Our hope is that Innovative Intelligence will become the road map for executives and leadership professionals who are exploring how to develop innovative leaders who can close the innovation gap for business success.

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