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Breaking Away: How Great Leaders Create Innovation that Drives Sustainable Growth--and Why Others Fail [Hardcover]

Jane Stevenson , Bilal Kaafarani
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

March 15 2011

Innovation Leaders Praise Breaking Away

“Finally, innovation in a framework that is clear, insightful and easy to put into practice. This is a must read.”
—Angela Ahrendts, Chief Executive Officer, Burberry

Breaking Away has a clear and important message: that innovation—the dogged pursuit of new solutions to old problems—is often the defining feature of a successful endeavor, be it a research project, a corporation or a society.”
—Dean Kamen, CEO, DEKA, inventor of the heart stent, the Segway, and many other transformational innovations

“Using case studies and real examples, Jane Stevenson and Bilal Kaafarani uncover the missing ingredient in innovation—getting the most from your people. This book shows you how companies can excel.”
—Joel Kurtzman, Milken Institute and Wharton’s SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management

“Innovation requires top leadership with courage and passion to win. With its four levels of innovation. Breaking Away provides a great road map for success. A must read for any executive.”
—Denise Morrison, Board Member, COO and CEO Elect, The Campbell Soup Company

“A fabulous read! Breaking Away artfully defines innovation and clarifies the critical role leadership plays in nurturing the right culture for innovation and growth.”
—Marco Jesi, Chairman of the Board, Limoni Profumerie S.P.A.

“At last, a book that captures the critical role leadership plays in enabling a culture where innovation is stimulated, valued, supported and celebrated. The authors have gone deep to understand what the best CEO’s do to develop continuous innovation as a competitive edge. Breaking Away gives us a clear framework to make that happen in every organization.”
—Cynthia McCague, Board of Directors, and former SVP Human Resources, The Coca-Cola Company

”Stevenson and Kaafarani 'break away' from traditional thinking to converge on a powerful thesis that will forever change how we view innovation.”
—Judith Glaser, CEO Benchmark Communications, Inc, and the bestselling author of Creating We and DNA of Leadership

“A how-to guide on inspiring a culture of innovation in your workplace.”
—CIO Insight’s Best Business Books for 2011

About the Book

The key to generating growth and shareholder value today is the ability to develop and embed innovation into every facet of business. But how do you do that?

Leadership. It takes a business leader with vision and a sense of accountability to merge corporate culture and innovation processes into a powerful, self-sustaining engine that dominates markets. Without that kind of leadership, a company is just spinning its wheels.

Breaking Away provides the framework to be that leader—and to create other leaders who will drive your company into a future of profits and growth.

Pioneers in the field of innovation leadership, Jane Stevenson and Bilal Kaafarani provide a simple but powerful model for breaking away from your industry pack by fully utilizing your employees, technology, and resources. You’ll learn how:

  • Ford beat Toyota in the race to create the first hybrid (and why everyone thinks it was vice versa)
  • GE’s development of a locomotive battery makes planet earth more sustainable
  • Skype landed 480 million registered users in its first four years of business
  • Emirates airline has grown from a small, regional carrier to one of the world’s top three airlines

Different organizations, different industries . . . one thing in common: a cadre of leaders who understand the nature of innovation, develop well-defined priorities, and maintain a powerful sense of accountability.

Breaking Away will change the way you approach leadership and innovation—and put you on the road to market domination.

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Product Details

Product Description

About the Author

Jane Edison Stevenson is Vice Chairman, Board and CEO Services at Korn/Ferry International, the world’s leading C-suite talent management firm, and has spent 25 years assessing and recruiting the world’s top innovation leaders.

Bilal Kaafarani is Senior VP, Global Research and Innovation officer of The Coca-Cola Company. He has held leadership roles with Frito Lay Tropicana, Proctor & Gamble, and Kraft, where he developed the technology resulting in the successful “Kraft Free” products. He holds several patents for breakthrough technologies in the food sector.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
Year after year, annual lists of the most highly creative organizations include "the usual suspects": Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Nike, Pixar, Twitter, etc. With all due respect to these exemplars and to various authors who have much of value to say about innovation processes or the environment for them that effective leaders have established and sustained, no book (to the best of my knowledge) thoroughly examines both environment and leadership...until now.

According to Jane Stevenson and Bilal Kaafarani, there is a "magic mix" that enables some leaders to create a "sustainable innovation engine" within their organization. "In Breaking Away, we'll look at why this happens and how to achieve different types of innovation success." More specifically, these are among the key questions to which they respond:

o Why do some innovation leaders succeed but most fail?
o Why do some workplace environments nourish and support innovation but most don't?
o What is the innovation risk profile and why is it so important?
o What are the quality parameters within which to create "customer evangelists"?

Note: Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba devised the term, "customer evangelists." Revealingly, the process of creating them involves the same core values as does the process for creating employee (or stakeholder) "evangelists." Hmmmm.....

o Which cultural factors are essential to a workplace environment in which innovation thrives?
o Which cultural factors preclude establishing or sustaining one?
o What are the defining characteristics and unique abilities of the most effective innovation leaders?

To their great credit, Stevenson and Kaafarani identify and explain a multiple of options and considerations (e.g.
Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.8 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential innovation roadmap -- for leader or participant March 25 2011
By KRC - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The authors have tackled the trendy, but challenging subject of effective innovation. These days, everyone buys into the need for innovation. Similarly, everyone knows (and celebrates) successful innovation -- but only after its impact and rewards are obvious. Stevenson and Bilal position themselves between these self-evident beginning and end points and focus on the complicated, risky process of actually making innovation happen in your organization.

Using numerous real-world examples, they carefully define innovation itself, describe the leadership characteristics and processes required to drive innovation, and detail the effort required to translate effective innovation into commercial success. Throughout the book, they provide a compelling structure (in 20 or so exhibits) that breaks innovation, leadership and execution into easily grasped concepts that can be applied directly to the reader's own situation. And, they accomplish all of this in a very approachable, easy-to-read fashion.

This book is an essential guide for anyone leading or participating in the innovation process in a business setting. It allows you to assess your own situation versus their well supported framework. The examples underlying the framework provide a strong basis to compare yourself vs. those who have succeeded before you. Whether you are a leader or participant, the book challenges you to ask whether you are truly set to innovate like the most successful companies and leaders. Most critically, it offers highly practical advice on how you can bring your own innovation effort into alignment with those leaders.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breaking Away is a must read for leaders & innovators! April 30 2011
By GMF Atlanta - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a GM and Innovator in a Fortune 100 company, I found Breaking Away to be one of the clearest most insightful books on Innovation I have read. Stevenson and Kaafarani do an excellent job defining the different types of innovation and provide real world examples of their principles in action. The interviews with leaders and innovators across multiple industries validate their model for innovation and reinforce the point that innovation requires strong leadership and commitment from the top of the organization to maximize returns. They also make a compelling case as to why everyone from the CEO to the front line associate can be an innovation leaders and that companies can ignite growth by leveraging the different types of innovation across the enterprise. I would highly recommend Breaking Away as required reading for leaders and aspiring leaders who want to unlock the growth potential of their organizations.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Innovation diagnostic out there June 13 2011
By LKW - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I could have really used this book about 18 months ago leading a "Value Innovation project at my company. At the time, there was a leadership bias toward launching new products when what we needed was operational innovation. Stevenson's clear explanation of the four types of innovation could have gone a long way toward sorting out the early conflicts in the project. Well written and very relevant to the problems that many businesses face.

I also found myself nodding my head through most of Part 2 - Leadership and Innovation. It made so much sense to connect the dots between people's preferences and their ability to successfully innovate in various dimensions.

"Breaking Away" was thought-provoking and a wonderful read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy, insightful read. A great approach to this topic Aug. 17 2011
By Traumadoc - Published on
I enjoyed this book and recommend it. The word innovation is overused and teaching someone to be innovative always struck me like teaching someone to be funny. I stand corrected. I found this book a great and insightful read that provided me with new ways of thinking. The book is practically a field guide for those interested in creating new ways to expand markets and revenue, or new approaches to removing costs. These authors use the insights garnered from "the best and the brightest" found around the world to create an essential handbook for any executive or creative person who wants to literally "change the world". They give great stories from real business cases that demonstrate their concepts and make it practical. Most important, innovation is the engine that drives market forces and yet very few books provide such a easy-to-understand guide path for those tasked with this responsibility or struggling to ignite that fire. I recommend it to anyone who wants to knock it out of the park.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Leadership is about Innovation April 8 2011
By Jim Estill - Published on
I loved the title (although perhaps not the part about failing) since I think a large part of leadership is fostering innovation.

I am, of course, a great believer in innovation. I think one of my strong points is high creativity (not in the artistic sense but in the business innovation sense). I also see success as being tied to those that can innovate and that involves openness to change.

Early in the book, they make the distinction between innovation and discovery and invention which although they are "cousins" are not the same. By their definition, innovation has to be unique, valuable and worthy of exchange.

The authors use a 4 part model for innovation - Transformational, Marketplace, Category and Operational. Each innovation in these quadrants have their own characteristics.

One subsection that really resonated was "don't just listen - hear". Logical and should apply to almost everything in life.

And the book ends with how to create an innovation strategy for a company:

1 - Set Innovation Priorities (I know that setting goals in anything is the best way to accomplish things so this one makes total sense to me)

2 - Establish Success Metrics

3 - Develop Clear Communications

And it ends with GO - Just do it.
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