Saturday, September 9, 2017

Book Review: 'Disciplined Dreaming' by Josh Linkner

"In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, telling the main facts." -- Daniel 7:1 (NKJV)

Disciplined Dreaming has many qualities to recommend it over its competitors in the creativity literature:

1. Mr. Linkner has enough experience so that his advice is based in tangible examples that are easy to follow.
2. He's a good story teller, which keeps the book from bogging down in business jargon.
3. Although the author represents a firm that provides services in the field, he keeps the potential sales pitch under control.
4. He knows jazz and provides one of the better descriptions of how playing jazz with others is improved by having some structure and limitations.
5. Mr. Linker knows the literature and generously refers to other sources, methods, and examples to save readers who are relatively new to the subject from having to read a lot of other books.
6. The book is mostly up-to-date on methods . . . with one exception that I'll address next.

If you are familiar with the better books about throwing open an organization's doors and windows to let in outsiders to suggest and implement (such as Crowdsourcing), you'll be wondering why Disciplined Dreaming doesn't connect its process with letting interested people (both experts and non-experts) propose and comment on one another's creative concepts and potential innovations. My guess is that Mr. Linkner hasn't done as much work in this area. You'll have to read up on that subject for yourself and connect the dots to this book.

The process is pretty easy to understand:

1. Define objectives. (ASK)
2. Get ready before trying to be creative. (PREPARE)
3. Employ helpful techniques for exploring new mental territory. (DISCOVER)
4. Focus the group using helpful dynamic methods. (IGNITE)
5. Pick what to work on, set metrics, and start into implementation. (LAUNCH)

One of the nuances of the book's content that I liked was making it explicit whether the creativity goal is a breakthrough, a big improvement, or something more incremental.

Although the book is linked to the notion of being creative in any context, the actual examples are heavily in the offering development, brand and concept positioning, and business model space. You may not find this as applicable for operating cost reductions and new ways of financing . . . just because the examples aren't there.

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Donald Mitchell. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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