Self Help

Eat, Sleep, Innovate - Scott D. Anthony

Author Photo

Matheus Puppe

· 35 min read

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  • The book is about how to make innovation a daily habit within organizations. The goal is to build a culture of innovation where innovative behaviors come naturally, like eating and sleeping.

  • The authors understand skepticism around “culture of innovation” based on stories of lavish perks at hypergrowth tech companies. But they are focused on “NO-DETs” - normal organizations doing extraordinary things through innovation.

  • An example NO-DET is DBS Bank in Singapore, which transformed from a bureaucratic organization to being named the world’s best bank within just a few years. This was achieved through efforts like hackathons to engage all employees and build an innovation culture.

  • The book contains practical guidance based on work with real companies trying to build innovation cultures. The goal is to help readers understand what really drives innovation and how to hardwire it into day-to-day habits.

  • The introduction emphasizes innovation as an “untapped source of energy” within organizations. Unleashing and channeling this energy through cultural change is the focus.

In summary, this is a practical guide for leaders to make innovation a consistent habit by creating a culture where innovative behaviors come naturally, with real-world examples of “normal” organizations doing extraordinary things.

  • Organizations have untapped innovation potential inside them, just like natural sources of energy such as wind and water have untapped energy potential. This innovation energy is often constrained by organizational habits and culture.

  • Many organizations try to spur innovation through “innoganda” - artifacts meant to signal innovation, like an ideas box. But these often lead to cynicism rather than impact, as they are not integrated into the organization’s culture and habits.

  • To truly enable innovation, organizations need to focus on changing daily habits and behaviors through a series of interventions. The authors recommend focusing on five key innovation behaviors: curiosity, customer-obsession, collaboration, comfort with ambiguity, and empowerment.

  • To change habits, organizations can use “BEANs” - behavior enablers, artifacts, and nudges. This involves a 6-week sprint to create new habits.

  • For the changes to stick and scale, new habits need to be integrated into core organizational systems like resource allocation.

  • The book provides a roadmap with foundational concepts, case studies, and a step-by-step guide to practically implement these ideas. The key is to move beyond “innoganda” to systematic culture change.

Here are the key points from Chapter 1:

  • The chapter starts with a story about Victoria Maskell of UNICEF using the U-Report platform to provide information and gather feedback during Hurricane Irma in 2017.

  • A “culture of innovation” is defined as one where the behaviors that drive innovation success come naturally. The authors argue this definition is more concrete than vague exhortations to “be more innovative.”

  • Key innovation behaviors are explored, including questioning, observing, networking, experimenting, and associating. Examples of each are provided, primarily from UNICEF.

  • The authors argue these behaviors must become habits, not forced activities. Routines and rituals that encourage these behaviors are needed.

  • The chapter ends emphasizing that a culture of innovation is a shared responsibility, requiring many people to act. Just a few innovation heroes are not enough.

In summary, Chapter 1 sets up a clear, actionable definition of a culture of innovation focused on specific behaviors and habits, using UNICEF as a positive example. The argument is that innovation must become ingrained, not an isolated effort by a few.

  • Innovation is defined as “something different that creates value.” It is not limited to just technology or inventions, but can include new processes, services, business models, etc.

  • Innovation focuses on creating value, not just having a creative idea. Thomas Edison was a great innovator because he turned his inventions into valuable products and services.

  • Innovation comes in many forms - it can be world-changing technologies like the lightbulb, new products like the iPhone, or simple process improvements made by individuals or teams.

  • A “culture of innovation” conjures images of adaptable, creative companies like Google, Amazon, and Disney. But a culture is more than just visible artifacts like fun office designs.

  • Culture refers to the shared assumptions, values, and norms that guide behavior. It’s based on the solutions that have worked repeatedly for solving problems.

  • To create a culture of innovation, organizations need to foster certain habits, instincts, and behaviors so that employees feel empowered to generate new ideas, take smart risks, and collaborate across boundaries. Leaders shape culture through their actions and role-modeling.

  • The book aims to provide insights into how to create an innovative culture so that innovation becomes a responsibility of all employees, not just a few. This helps organizations thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Here is a summary of the key points about innovator behaviors and how organizations can support them:

  • Curiosity: Innovators constantly question the status quo and look for new solutions. Organizations should encourage open-mindedness, problem-solving, and future-focused thinking.

  • Customer Obsession: Innovators seek deep understanding of customer needs and jobs-to-be-done. Organizations should enable direct customer engagement, customer journey mapping, and solutions rooted in real needs.

  • Collaboration: Innovators incorporate diverse expertise and perspectives. Organizations should build cross-functional teams, encourage external stimulation, and focus on collective goals.

  • Adeptness in Ambiguity: Innovators act confidently with incomplete information, excel at experimentation, and celebrate intelligent failure. Organizations should emphasize learning, rapid experimentation, and embracing uncertainty.

  • Empowerment: Innovators take initiative, leverage resources, and make confident decisions. Organizations should encourage bias toward action, compelling vision, speaking up, and growth mindset.

  • Key point: Innovation is a discipline powered by specific behaviors. Organizations should shape their culture to encourage and reinforce these innovation behaviors.

  • Innovation is defined as “something different that creates value.” It is distinguished from creativity and invention by its focus on value creation.

  • Culture refers to what people value, the behaviors they follow routinely, and why they do things. A “culture of innovation” means innovation-enabling behaviors are ingrained and habitual.

  • Great innovators exhibit five key behaviors:

    • Curiosity - they question the status quo and seek new experiences.
    • Customer obsession - they immerse themselves in understanding customer needs.
    • Collaboration - they build diverse teams and leverage collective intelligence.
    • Adeptness in ambiguity - they are comfortable with incomplete information, iterate through experiments, and take intelligent risks.
    • Empowerment - they take initiative, craft compelling stories about innovation, and embrace a growth mindset.
  • Research shows creating a culture of innovation provides benefits like revenue growth, higher stock returns, increased productivity, lower project risk, and more engaged employees.

  • There is significant evidence that purposefully fostering the five innovation behaviors leads to business benefits.

Here is a summary of the key points about innovation at The Salvation Army:

  • The Salvation Army is a large, established charitable organization with a decentralized structure that empowers local chapters to innovate based on their communities’ needs.

  • Three examples illustrate different forms of innovation:

  1. A simple phone routing solution reduced donation call volume for overwhelmed local offices.

  2. Mobile Joes repurposed beverage backpacks to connect with the homeless. The idea spread at a conference.

  3. An experiment with Apple Pay for kettle donations was catalyzed by a national board member and executed by the Eastern Territory.

  • The Salvation Army has created “innovation chefs” - people experienced with innovation who provide advice and make connections across the organization.

  • The culture focuses on creating value, not necessarily being first. Experimentation and sharing ideas are encouraged. Conferences provide “serendipitous” moments for collaboration.

  • The decentralized, flexible structure and empowerment of local chapters feed key innovation behaviors like curiosity, customer-centricity, and empowerment.

Here are a few key points I gathered from the text:

  • Innovation is often an “unnatural act” inside organizations, despite executives believing it is important and investing in various initiatives to promote it.

  • The “shadow strategy” refers to the underlying inertia that constrains innovation in many companies. This inertia leads to fear of change.

  • Scott connected the word “fear” from the executive survey to an incident with his son Harry, which illustrates individual constraints on innovation.

  • The word “inertia” made Scott think of innovation struggles at McDonald’s and Microsoft. This highlights organizational constraints.

  • The text suggests the shadow strategy institutionalizes inertia and strangles innovation in many companies. Overcoming this is critical for innovation success.

  • The case study on DBS that follows shows how that company has made great strides in overcoming the shadow strategy over the past decade.

  • Harry and his friends got in trouble for using sidewalk chalk to draw a baseball field on the community basketball court. The condo management scolded them for vandalism via CCTV footage.

  • However, it was just harmless fun and creativity. As kids grow up, their natural creativity gets suppressed by formal schooling and corporate jobs that reward delivering on expectations, not trying new things.

  • Adults like Harry face institutional inertia that resists change and small innovations like adding bananas to a menu. Mid-level managers have incentives to optimize the current business model, not experiment.

  • This “shadow strategy” of systems and habits reinforcing the status quo is why culture eats strategy for breakfast. Microsoft missed the opportunity in search ads due to inertia.

  • Successful organizations develop engrained habits and processes that serve them well in a stable world but inhibit necessary change in a dynamic world.

  • Most executives focus on short-term execution versus long-term innovation strategy. The actual “strategy” is what organizations and functions really do, not what they say.

  • Humans are naturally curious and creative as children, but these tendencies get suppressed over time by school and work environments that emphasize order and conformity.

  • As a result, people like “Happy Harry” who retain their childlike innovation abilities become rare.

  • Organizations are designed to execute on their current business model, not to innovate. They have a “shadow strategy” made up of systems, processes, incentives etc. that reinforce the status quo.

  • This institutional inertia has to be actively fought against in order for real innovation to occur.

  • The case study shows how DBS Bank in Singapore transformed itself from a slow, bureaucratic organization to an agile, customer-focused, technology leader.

  • Key to this was the CEO reframing the competition as tech companies, insourcing IT, and defining new behaviors like being agile, customer-obsessed, data-driven, and willing to experiment.

  • With concerted effort, even a large established company can defeat the “shadow strategy” and become more innovative.

  • DBS Bank innovated to enter new markets, save customers’ time, and make families safer.

  • To enter the India market, DBS created a mobile-only offering that allowed customers to open accounts quickly without visiting a branch. This gained 2 million customers in India within 2 years.

  • DBS implemented 250 process improvements to remove waste and save over 250 million customer hours waiting for the bank. This dramatically improved customer satisfaction.

  • DBS used analytics to optimize ATM cash replenishment and predict failures, shortening ATM lines. They also improved the customer experience at ATMs.

  • DBS developed SmartBuddy, a cashless payment wristband and app for schoolchildren that also notifies parents when kids get on and off the school bus, addressing safety concerns.

  • To enable innovation, DBS introduced MOJO meeting practices - assigning a Meeting Owner and Joyful Observer to each meeting to ensure efficiency, participation, and candid feedback.

  • DBS created Hot Pots to quickly test new ideas without bureaucratic hurdles. Hot Pot experiments generated valuable customer insights.

In summary, DBS achieved innovation through customer-focused process improvements, experimentation with new offerings, and organizational changes to remove barriers and accelerate testing of new ideas.

Here are the key features of the full BEANs related to discovering opportunities:

  • Danfoss’s Man on the Moon competition encourages expansive thinking by having employees submit “moonshot” ideas to solve a clearly identified problem. It includes an internal website, historical stories about past submissions, and a structured annual process.

  • Google’s Bureaucracy Busters ideation encourages curiosity about improving internal operations. It uses web-based idea submission and voting, and a crowdsourced approach to generate ongoing ideas.

  • MetLife’s LumenLab Wall of Customers helps employees relate to customers by drawing them at the start of sessions, using videos/reminders of customer lives, and large visuals of customers on the wall during meetings.


Partial BEANs for discovering opportunities


BEAN name



Consumer Is Boss

Deep consumer insights drive product development

US Army

Lifelong Learners

Leaders role model curiosity and learning


Ask “How Might We” Questions

Frame problems as opportunities with HMW questions

Here are the key points from the discussions in part II:

  • About half of the BEANs (Behavior, Environment, Artifacts, Nudges) examples come from innovative companies like startups, FAANGs (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google), and Pixar, not just traditional non-tech companies. However, any organization should adapt good practices to fit their own context.

  • Partial BEANs can also be powerful, even if they don’t contain all 3 components. For example, Optus’s Close-Ups program immerses employees in the customer experience. HubSpot’s free books program encourages learning. Qualcomm’s rituals spark creativity.

  • Procter & Gamble’s “Consumer is Boss” movement in the 1990s reignited customer focus. CEO A.G. Lafley realized P&G had become internally focused and made the consumer the priority again. They increased executive time in the market and created “Living it. Working it” immersions and debriefs.

  • The key is discovering innovation opportunities by deeply understanding customer problems and jobs to be done, not just demographics. Customer artifacts, profiles, videos, and rituals keep customer-centricity top of mind during meetings and brainstorms.

  • Sir Chris Deverell, head of the UK’s Joint Forces Command, wanted to make innovation a pillar of the organization. He was frustrated by the slow pace of adopting new capabilities in the military.

  • In 2013, Deverell enrolled in a program at London Business School to gain insights from outside the military, an uncommon move for a top defense official. He was inspired by the idea of a small innovation team able to rapidly test ideas, as outlined in an Innosight article.

  • This led to the creation of the jHub, a startup-like innovation team within the military that has investigated hundreds of opportunities and delivered solutions to users in months rather than years.

  • The jHub goes against the grain of the traditional military bureaucracy. Its success stems from Deverell’s willingness to draw inspiration from outside the military and empower a small team.

  • The case illustrates the power of looking outside one’s own industry for ideas, being open to new approaches, and using small teams to rapidly prototype and deliver innovations.

  • Another example is an agrichemical company discovering an innovation opportunity in Bangladesh not through desk research but by spending time with customers in the field. The key insight was gained by talking to farmers’ wives rather than the farmers themselves.

  • The takeaway is that to find innovative ideas, organizations need to “get out of the building” and interact directly with end users rather than rely solely on internal perspectives and consultants.

  • Melissa Broderick Eaton became CEO of the Settlement Music School in Philadelphia in 2012. Settlement was founded in 1908 to provide music education, primarily to children.

  • Eaton wondered if it was time for Settlement to evolve, as it faced financial struggles and changing demographics. She engaged staff at all levels to explore new offerings.

  • One idea was Adult Rock Band classes, where adults could form bands and jam together under instructor guidance. This was piloted and expanded based on learnings.

  • Settlement began repositioning itself as broader community hubs, partnering with other local organizations to increase access to music instruction.

  • Under Eaton’s leadership, Settlement dramatically grew partnerships and revenue. It pioneered a collaboration between cultural institutions in Philadelphia.

  • Settlement focused on maintaining curiosity and customer obsession. It developed capabilities that allowed it to quickly move online during COVID-19.

  • Key advice from Eaton: Identify your organization’s authentic purpose. Listen to stakeholders and change based on their input. Innovate through external partnerships. Stay patient and determined.

Here are the key points about changing habits from the passage:

  • Changing habits is very difficult, as evidenced by Destin Sandlin’s experience trying to unlearn how to ride a bike. It requires rewiring neural pathways and conscious effort.

  • To encourage innovation behaviors in organizations, you need to hack habits using BEANs - behavior enablers, artifacts, and nudges.

  • Habit change literature provides useful lessons, such as the need to engage both the rational and emotional sides of people, attack the problem from multiple fronts, and use motivation tools like goal-setting and social encouragement.

  • Programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Weight Watchers show how to change habits through mantras, nudges, social interactions, rewards, and more. Games leverage similar tactics to create addictive habits.

  • The enemy of innovation is institutionalized inertia reinforced in systems and norms. To combat this, you need to break old habits and form new ones in organizations.

  • Principles of successful individual habit change also apply to organizational habits. Innosight studied this and developed the BEAN framework to hack organizational habits.

  • The authors collected over 100 examples of interventions that promote better innovation habits in organizations. They gave these interventions the acronym BEAN, which stands for Behavior enablers, Artifacts, and Nudges.

  • Behavior enablers are direct ways to encourage new behaviors, like routines, coaches, communities, and checklists.

  • Nudges are indirect ways like making the desired behavior the default, using reminders and notifications, sharing stories, and office design.

  • Artifacts are physical and digital objects that reinforce the new behaviors, like prizes, avatars, tokens, pictures, and desktop items.

  • Innosight created two BEANs - the Innosight Different BEAN to encourage values like humility and collaboration, using an annual award, cartoons, videos, and more.

  • The First Friday BEAN promotes connectivity across the firm with monthly gatherings, recorded sessions, and assigned seating.

  • Successful BEANs are simple, practical, reinforced with reminders, consistent with the organization, participative, and sustainable over time.

  • Effective behavioral enablers (BEANs) encourage desired behaviors by aligning rewards and removing barriers. They should be fun, social, supported by stories, and measurable.

  • Examples of effective BEANs:

  1. Curiosity - DBS’s Gandalf Scholarship gives employees money to study any topic and teach it back. This encourages learning new things.

  2. Customer Obsession - Amazon’s Future Press Release ritual focuses idea discussions on the customer perspective.

  3. Collaboration - Boehringer Ingelheim’s Lunch Roulette website matches people for casual lunches to foster connections.

  4. Adeptness in Ambiguity - Tata’s Dare to Try award recognizes intelligent failures, normalizing risk taking.

  5. Empowerment - Adobe’s Kickbox provides tools and funds for unapproved experiments, removing barriers.

  • BEANs should be unique, trackable, and contain enablers, artifacts, and nudges designed around the desired behavior.

  • The book provides additional examples of effective BEANs to encourage innovation behaviors.

  • Scott and Andy were preparing to share content from their book at an HR event in Australia. To stimulate discussion, they created a 2-minute video of new Innosight hires describing challenges with the onboarding process.

  • One issue raised was the stress of having to quickly remember many new names and faces. Some potential innovations were suggested like an app to track new people met or an augmented reality name prompt.

  • However, there is a bigger issue behind this - establishing genuine connections in the community. So the focus should be on encouraging recurring behaviors that enable connection, not just solving a one-time problem.

  • Examples of behavior enablers (BEANs) for this are Boehringer Ingelheim’s Lunch Roulette to encourage collaboration and an “Eat with Me” table in the office café to facilitate new connections.

  • The key distinction is that an innovation solves a discrete problem, while a BEAN encourages an ongoing behavior change. Both are valuable but serve different purposes.

  • When seeking to shape culture, be clear whether you need an innovation to fix a problem or a BEAN to drive lasting behavior change.

Here are the key points on diagnosing the current state and identifying blockers before a culture sprint:

  • Conduct surveys, interviews, focus groups etc. to understand the organizational culture and identify potential barriers to the desired behaviors.

  • Look for existing habits and norms that inhibit innovation, like lack of context, candor, or prioritization.

  • Be specific in identifying the root causes that are blocking the desired behaviors. For example, “lack of candor” is too broad - what specifically prevents people from speaking up?

  • Involve a diverse set of employees at different levels to get a well-rounded perspective.

  • Analyze patterns in the data to uncover systemic issues vs one-off problems.

  • Focus on a few key blockers to tackle rather than trying to address everything at once.

  • Document the findings as input for the activation session and BEANstorm. Having specificity helps generate targeted ideas.

  • Share a summary of the diagnosis, without attribution, to show employees their input was heard and build excitement for change.

The goal is to deeply understand the real issues so you can design BEANs that directly address the root causes blocking innovation. A thorough diagnosis sets the stage for an impactful activation session.

  • Doing diagnostics before the activation session is crucial to identify current behaviors, blockers, and real organizational problems that can be worked on.

  • There are 3 main ways to diagnose: analyzing existing surveys/comments, conducting 1-on-1 interviews, administering a diagnostic survey.

  • The activation session has 2 main goals: experiencing desired behaviors by working on real problems (day 1), and brainstorming to overcome blockers and make those behaviors habitual (day 2).

  • For day 1, identify bounded but meaningful problems teams can make progress on, and form diverse teams with leaders acting as coaches.

  • Prework includes creating materials like behavior descriptions, problem overviews, and templates. Form teams mixing roles, tenures, leaders.

  • Day 1 has teams live the behaviors - collaboration, customer obsession, curiosity, courage, commitment - to solve real problems.

  • The activation session brings to life why culture change matters and builds motivation to adopt new behaviors.

  • Teams experienced the 6 BEANs through practical exercises at a workshop. This allowed them to actively practice the new behaviors.

  • For “Collaborative”, teams shared their talents/skills and assigned roles like meeting owner and joyful observer.

  • For “Customer Obsessed”, teams interviewed real customers about their problems and needs. This helped frame the issue from the customer’s perspective.

  • For “Curiosity”, teams were given stimuli like trends and case studies to broaden their thinking and inspire new solutions.

  • For “Adeptness in Ambiguity”, teams identified assumptions in their solutions and designed experiments to test those assumptions.

  • For “Empowerment”, teams pitched solutions and the best was selected for implementation by leadership.

  • Failures were rewarded with premium prizes to encourage psychological safety. Practicing behaviors regularly is key to adopting them.

Here are a few key points I took away from the summary:

  • The second day of the activation session focused on creating BEANs (Behavior Enablers, Artifacts, and Nudges) to hardwire innovative behaviors into the Singtel Group HR culture.

  • Teams went through a process to define specific desired behaviors, identify behavioral blockers, brainstorm and refine BEANs to overcome those blockers, and pitch their ideas.

  • Getting specific on the behaviors and blockers was important to create high-impact BEANs. Blockers were captured on a physical “wall” to bring them to life.

  • Teams used stimuli like videos and examples of BEANs from other companies to spark ideas. The goal was to encourage desired behaviors and make them habit.

  • The overall purpose was to shape the Singtel HR culture to be more innovative by embedding new behaviors into everyday habits and rituals. The BEANstorm process provided a way to do this intentionally and systematically.

  • The Singtel example demonstrates three keys to a successful two-day activation session and BEANstorm:

  1. Prove why culture matters before solving culture. People must experience new behaviors before designing ways to enable them.

  2. Get granular. Specific behaviors and blockers make for better BEANs than broad principles.

  3. Infuse BEANs when creating BEANs. Using engaging BEANs in the session reinforces their power to improve how we work.

  • After the activation session, the work continues:

  • Refine, test, modify, and launch the best BEANs from the session.

  • Appoint someone accountable for iterating and executing on the BEANs.

  • Move from a sprint to pilots, customizing behaviors and finding deeper blockers.

  • Formalize the work into recurring roles and build infrastructure to support the culture.

  • The activation session kicks off the next stage of culture change rather than ending the journey.

Here are three key ideas from the section on blueprinting compelling ideas:

  1. BNP Paribas’ Innovation Book and Awards is an annual contest where employees submit innovative ideas, the best of which are published in a virtual book and recognized with awards. This encourages collaboration and sharing of ideas.

  2. Toyota’s A3 Report is a template that captures essential information on a single page, forcing clarity and brevity. The simple format enables effective communication of ideas.

  3. Partial BEANs like Amazon’s Empty Chair and Nordstrom’s “Yes” culture remind teams to stay customer-obsessed when developing ideas. The Empty Chair represents the customer in meetings, while Nordstrom empowers employees to meet customer needs.

The key takeaway is that collaboration, simplicity, and customer-centricity are critical when blueprinting ideas. Encouraging the sharing of diverse perspectives, effective communication through simplicity, and constantly considering the customer experience helps shape compelling innovations. The highlighted BEANs provide practical ways to build these principles into the ideation process.

Here are a few key points summarized from the text:

  • Pixar has created a “Braintrust” - a small group of creative people who provide candid feedback on movies in development. This helps push the movies from mediocre to great.

  • The Braintrust sets a tone of candor, challenging directors and production teams to make the movie better.

  • Pixar believes every movie “sucks” at some point in development. The Braintrust helps them improve.

  • The Braintrust is not a decision-making body, but a mechanism for creative stimulation and constructive criticism.

  • Putting smart, passionate people together, charging them with solving problems, and encouraging candid feedback are key principles.

  • Providing directors with an outside perspective is critical, even when not initially welcomed. In the end, directors value the input.

  • The Braintrust has been instrumental to Pixar’s continued success in producing phenomenal animated films.

  • Leaders need to role model new innovation habits, but this can be challenging as these habits are often unfamiliar to them. Intuit’s CEO found the best way was “learning by doing” where leaders directly participated in foundational research and problem-solving.

  • Having leaders personally experience new innovation processes sends a strong signal and raises collective intuition. Hands-on involvement allows leaders to observe things that may get lost in reports and presentations.

  • The questions leaders ask shape company culture and behavior. Intuit shifted focus to “discovery questions” that encourage exploration versus “delivery questions” that demand proof.

  • Some example discovery questions: How might we do this differently? What is the job to be done? Who has solved this before? What would we need to believe? What don’t we know? What did we learn?

  • Innovation often happens at intersections between different fields and mindsets. Brilliant borrowing involves taking an idea from one context and applying it successfully to another.

  • Identifying and testing assumptions is critical in assessing and advancing ideas. Full BEANs like Atlassian’s Premortems and DBS’s Wreckoon help surface assumptions.

  • Atlassian’s Premortem involves teams discussing potential failure modes before starting a project. It uses a checklist artifact, best practice playbook, and monitoring tool to identify risks.

  • DBS’s Wreckoon introduces challenging questions at meetings to encourage candid discussions and avoid issues like confirmation bias. It uses an avatar, PowerPoint slide, and stories to nudge this behavior.

  • Other partial BEANs like Airbnb’s “Live from Day 1” and Google’s “#MonkeyFirst” also aim to test ideas early. The key is creating a culture adept at ambiguity through rigorous assumption testing.

Here are the key points on creating a psychologically safe environment for innovation:

  • Celebrate “intelligent failures” - where the right answer was unknown upfront, assumptions were tested quickly and cheaply, risks were mitigated, and valuable learnings resulted. Avoid glorifying preventable or complex failures.

  • Measure innovation projects differently than core business activities. Appraise people on their learning agility rather than short-term results.

  • Leaders need to wear different “hats” when overseeing innovation vs core activities. Make it clear which hat you have on in conversations.

  • Admit mistakes openly. Model vulnerability. Leaders showing they don’t have all the answers creates safety for others.

  • Actively invite dissenting voices. Seek out quiet participants. Make it safe to challenge existing norms.

  • Build group identity and purpose. Remind people they are working towards a shared goal that transcends setbacks.

  • Foster interpersonal trust through small group experiences. Use off-sites and team building to strengthen connections.

The key is to make it psychologically safe to take smart risks, ask questions, and bring up problems. This enables the learning and creativity needed for innovation to thrive.

  • Satya Nadella took over as Microsoft’s CEO in 2014 after a lost decade for the company under previous CEO Steve Ballmer.

  • Under Ballmer, Microsoft missed major tech trends like mobile phones, search, and cloud computing, losing value and allowing competitors like Apple and Google to dominate new markets.

  • Nadella initiated major cultural and strategic changes at Microsoft to revive innovation and growth.

  • He embraced a “growth mindset” culture, encouraging employees to take risks and learn from failures.

  • He refocused Microsoft on cloud computing, releasing successful cloud products like Azure and Office 365.

  • He pushed Microsoft to build products and services for any device or platform, not just Windows, releasing Office apps for iOS and Android.

  • He acquired Minecraft and LinkedIn to push Microsoft into gaming and professional networking.

  • He cut 18,000 jobs in his first year to streamline Microsoft.

  • Under Nadella, Microsoft’s market cap has nearly tripled and its stock price has more than quadrupled. He reignited innovation and growth by changing Microsoft’s culture and strategic focus.

  • Satya Nadella became Microsoft’s CEO in 2014 and led a major transformation over 5 years that tripled Microsoft’s market value to $810 billion.

  • Nadella focused on changing Microsoft’s culture to have a “growth mindset”, based on the work of Carol Dweck. This means believing abilities can be developed through effort and learning from failures.

  • A growth mindset encourages risk-taking, motivation, and performance. Nadella connected this to being “customer-obsessed, diverse, and inclusive” and moving from a “know-it-all” to a “learn-it-all” culture.

  • He modeled these behaviors himself and used clear, consistent communication to cascade the cultural change, starting with revising Microsoft’s mission statement.

  • Nadella sees himself as the “curator” of Microsoft’s culture and recognizes culture change is ongoing work. Under his leadership, Microsoft regained its innovative spirit.

  • The final phase of innovation involves moving from experimentation to execution and expansion. It’s important to fully execute good ideas to maximize their value.

  • Key behaviors in this phase include having an empowered, ownership mindset rather than waiting for permission, as well as dedicating sufficient time and training to see ideas through.

  • Relevant BEANs (Behavior Enablers, Artifacts, and Nudges) include Toyota’s Andon Cord to empower workers to stop the line when they see issues, Tasty Catering’s Great Game of Business to teach associates about the business through play, and Spotify’s Bets Board to track key initiatives.

  • Partial BEANs like Asana’s No Meeting Wednesdays, Intuit’s Innovation Catalysts, and LinkedIn’s InDay help provide time for innovation and spread skills.

  • It’s critical to connect the dots between activities and rewards/consequences to fight “innovation theater” and truly empower people to execute on ideas. The goal is to move from experimentation to value creation.

  • If you ask employees for ideas, create mechanisms to actually use them. Don’t just collect ideas in a “locked box” - have a process to evaluate and implement the best ones.

  • If you ask for solutions, define the problems worth solving. Innovation creates value by solving real problems. Don’t just remove constraints and expect innovation - provide focus by clearly defining the problems to address.

  • If you want experimentation, provide the resources. Like the Wright Brothers with their wind tunnel, ensure people can build prototypes, run tests, access materials, etc.

  • If you want impact, dedicate real resources. Don’t just create ideas on paper - assign people, time, money to turn ideas into reality.

  • If you want disruption, ring-fence resources. Don’t let short-term priorities crowd out long-term investments. Dedicate specific resources to disruptive innovation.

  • Consider innovation “amplifiers” like corporate venture funds, external accelerators, internal incubators, R&D groups, etc. to boost innovation.

  • Align incentives, processes, structures to support the innovation goals you articulate.

  • UNICEF is a global organization with over 19,000 employees operating in 190+ countries to help children.

  • Since 2007, UNICEF has focused on more purposeful innovation to create greater impact. This traces back to Dr. Sharad Sapra positioning innovation front and center in Uganda.

  • In 2015, UNICEF formed the Global Innovation Center (GIC) to identify and scale promising innovations and strengthen overall innovation capabilities.

  • The GIC complements other innovation teams in UNICEF focused on startups, venture capital, fundraising, supply chain, etc.

  • The GIC helps strengthen country execution and identify innovations that can scale across multiple countries.

  • UNICEF’s culture of innovation is built on curiosity, collaboration, comfort with ambiguity, customer obsession, and empowerment.

  • Challenges include conflating innovation with technology, bias toward ideation vs scaling, and spreading innovations.

  • UNICEF set a goal of 80% effort on scaling ideas and 20% on shaping, and created an innovation ambition matrix to prioritize efforts.

  • To date, UNICEF innovations have affected 115 million lives across 85 countries.

Here are the key points from the passage:

  • DBS Bank implemented cultural changes like allowing employees more autonomy and removing unnecessary approval processes. This was inspired by Netflix’s “Freedom and Responsibility” culture.

  • DBS created cross-functional teams and “platforms” that brought business and IT leaders together. This broke down silos and improved collaboration between the two functions.

  • DBS developed new approaches to hiring, like “Hack2Hire” competitions, to attract top talent in places where they didn’t have an established employer brand.

  • The authors recommend a “zombie amnesty” to kill unsuccessful innovation projects while capturing the learning. This involves predetermining criteria, involving outsiders, celebrating successes, communicating widely, and providing closure.

  • Typically 50% of an innovation portfolio can be safely killed through this approach. This allows resources to be redirected to more promising projects.

Here are the key points from the conclusion:

  • Culture change requires a movement, not just a top-down directive. It needs followers, behavior enablers/nudges (BEANs), supporting programs/systems, and careful leadership.

  • Innovation can happen anywhere in an organization. Look for existing pockets of innovation and build on what’s working.

  • Large organizations have advantages like scale and assets that startups lack. Combine entrepreneurial tools with these advantages.

  • Culture change takes time. Move through steps like defining the desired culture, diagnosing blockers, implementing BEANs, hardwiring systems, role modeling behaviors, and tracking progress.

  • Use specific language and make sure everyone defines key terms the same way. Test clarity of thinking around the change agenda.

  • Leaders need to actively participate and role model desired behaviors, but should do so carefully.

  • The authors call everyone to consider how they can start a movement for change in their organization, team, or personal context.

Here is a summary of the key points from the ending of Eat, Sleep, Innovate:

  • The authors each provide their own closing thoughts and calls to action based on their experiences writing the book.

  • Scott Antony reflects on how the book project started as an “IdeaLab” experiment with Harvard Business Review. He relates inspiring innovation to nurturing curiosity and creativity in children. Organizations have untapped potential for innovation similar to latent creativity in people.

  • Paul Cobban credits DBS’s success to sustained leadership support, an inclusive approach, and systematically executing innovation programs over time. He advises embracing the ideas in the book to shift behaviors and build creative confidence.

  • Natalie Painchaud has the dual perspective of advisor and innovation program leader. She is impressed by her colleagues’ and clients’ ideas but notes they cautiously hold back. Unleashing innovation through coaching and goal-setting can overcome real and perceived barriers.

  • Andy Parker has seen the universal applicability of the book’s approaches across countries, industries, and organizations. He encourages starting practically by identifying and removing top culture blockers using BEANs.

Here is a summary of the key points from the appendix:

  • The Culture of Innovation Bookshelf provides a list of recommended books on innovation, behavior change, culture, and organizational capabilities.

  • The Culture Change Literature Review summarizes findings from an analysis of 22 recent articles on culture change. 10 common themes emerged: align strategy with culture, communicate effectively, secure buy-in, focus on the customer, value teamwork and openness, encourage experimentation, give people autonomy, make it personal, use stories and symbols, and persevere.

  • The Culture of Innovation Diagnostic is a detailed assessment to evaluate how innovative an organization’s culture is across 5 categories: innovation intent, innovation investment, innovation environment, innovation capabilities, and innovation behaviors.

  • What’s the Status of Your Innovation Relationship? is a quick 3-question diagnostic to assess an organization’s commitment to innovation.

  • The Bag of 101 BEANs provides brief descriptions of 101 Behavior Enablers, Artifacts, and Nudges, including the 42 featured in the book and 59 additional ones.

  • Key takeaways are to use the various tools and frameworks provided to systematically analyze and improve an organization’s culture of innovation. It requires perseverance but can lead to tremendous benefits.

Here are the key points from the culture change literature review word cloud:

  • Engage employees at all levels to enable localization of the culture change.

  • Leaders should walk the talk by modeling the desired behaviors.

  • Celebrate quick wins to build momentum.

  • Measure and monitor progress to encourage accountability.

The culture of innovation diagnostic looks at 5 areas:

  1. Perceptions (12 questions)

  2. Proficiencies (14 innovation skills)

  3. Practices (12 innovation activities)

  4. Enablers (15 factors that support innovation)

  5. Innovation Performance (5 questions)

The overall culture of innovation score gives equal weight to perceptions, skills, behaviors, and enablers.

The survey can provide an individual score and customized organizational reports. It is a directional tool to assess the innovation culture.

The key message is that innovation requires an ongoing, serious commitment. Leaders need to move beyond just flirting with innovation to build a lasting relationship.

  • Many companies overestimate their commitment to innovation because they confuse it with creativity or idea generation. This leads to disappointment when creative ideas don’t translate into impact.

  • The quiz helps assess an organization’s innovation commitment level across several dimensions: who is working on it, their backgrounds, what they’re working on, funding sources, incentives, and leadership involvement.

  • Based on the quiz results, companies can be characterized as just “flirting” with innovation, having an “innovation fling,” or making a serious “lifelong commitment.”

  • Those with low scores are still just flirting, moderate scores indicate an innovation fling, while high scores show a real commitment to innovation.

  • To move beyond a fling to a real commitment requires dedicating serious resources and talent, pursuing a portfolio of innovation efforts, and approaching innovation systematically rather than just hoping for the best.

Here is a summary of the key points regarding UNICEF’s culture of innovation:

  • UNICEF’s U-Report platform crowdsources real-time information from young people via SMS to inform programs and policies. It has been used for things like tracking medicine supply during an epidemic.

  • UNICEF embraces a culture of innovation traced back to its launch in 1946. This involves testing new approaches and accepting risks and possible failures.

  • The UPSHIFT program in Kosovo helped young people launch real businesses to address social issues, like Golden Hands to employ people with disabilities. This showcases UNICEF’s innovative programs.

  • Research shows organizations with cultures of innovation see benefits like higher revenue growth, stock performance, employee engagement, and collaboration.

  • Innovative cultures involve testing new ideas, accepting risks and possible failures, and learning from experiments. UNICEF exemplifies this.

Here is a summary of the key points from the sources you provided:

The Salvation Army Case Study

  • The Salvation Army has a long history of humanitarian service since 1865. It is known for programs like Red Kettle donations and thrift stores.

  • After 9/11, The Salvation Army provided supplies and support to stranded travelers in Gander, showing agility during a crisis.

  • The Salvation Army has embraced technology like mobile donations and grants for innovative programs like The Salvation Factory to support people getting out of modern slavery.

Hyderabad Case Study

  • Adobe kickstarted networking BEANs (Because Eating Alone Nibbles) in its Hyderabad office to foster connections and idea sharing.

DBS Case Study

  • DBS Bank in Singapore used human-centered design and iterative testing to transform into a leading digital bank.

Key Themes

  • Customer obsession, design thinking, empowering teams, and networked collaboration emerge as key practices for innovation.

  • Programs like “future press releases” and rewards for failure help shift culture and mindsets.

  • Connecting across silos, welcoming customers into design, and inclusive behaviors like “yes and…” build creative confidence.

Does this help summarize the key points? Let me know if you need me to expand on any part of the summary.

Here is a summary of the key points about creating a culture of innovation:

  • Innovation behaviors like experimentation, collaboration, and adeptness at ambiguity can be encouraged through “BEANs” - behavior enablers, artifacts, and nudges. These shape habits and the environment.

  • To build innovation into culture, focus on mindsets and skills, as well as specific behaviors. Help people become self-transforming leaders.

  • Discover opportunities by immersing yourself in customers’ worlds. Blueprint ideas through storytelling and visualization. Test and refine through experimentation.

  • Tools like pre-mortems, innovation catalysts, and killing zombie projects can move ideas forward. Rituals and celebrations embed behaviors.

  • Leadership sets the tone. Model behaviors, acknowledge failure, and connect activities to purpose. Build in feedback loops. Sustain change.

  • There is no perfect culture. Tailor practices to your context. Focus on progress, not perfection. Culture change requires patience and persistence.

The key is to break innovation into learnable behaviors, then shape habits and the environment through small interventions to reinforce those behaviors. It requires commitment from leadership and engagement across the organization to make it stick.

  • g ideas, 137, 139–40: This section discusses using techniques like brainstorming and divergent thinking to generate innovative ideas.

  • Boehringer Ingelheim’s Lunch Roulette, 74t, 76–77: This is a BEAN where employees are randomly paired up for lunch to foster connections and collaboration.

  • culture sprint activation session, 95–96, 97: The culture sprint involves a focused effort to rapidly shift organizational culture, including an activation session with activities like icebreakers.

  • discovery question for summarizing ideas: “What are the key takeaways or themes?”

  • comment cards, 5–6: Comment cards allow employees to anonymously share ideas and feedback.

  • communication, effective, 209: Clear, consistent communication is important for driving culture change.

  • competing commitment, 104: People may be committed to behaviors that compete with innovation.

  • competition, reframing, 52: Framing competition in a positive way can motivate innovation.

  • complex failure, 160: Failures with multiple causes require more nuanced responses.

  • confirmation bias, 156: The tendency to seek out confirming evidence for beliefs.

  • constraint, creativity and, 178–79: Constraints can enhance creativity by providing focus and forcing ingenuity.

Does this help summarize the key points from the sections you indicated? Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions!

Here is a summary of the key points from the Acknowledgments section:

  • The book was inspired by a CEO’s question about how to get all employees to innovate, not just a separate innovation team. This led the authors to develop the concept of BEANs.

  • Many people at Innosight and DBS contributed to developing the ideas in the book through an innovation project together. Special thanks to Dave Duncan, Pontus Siren, Paul Cobban, and other named individuals.

  • The authors thank their collaborators on the book - Paul Cobban, Andy Waldeck, and Natalie Davis - for bringing important energy and perspectives.

  • Scott Anthony thanks his family - his wife and four kids - for their love and patience, and honors his late mentor Clayton Christensen of Innosight.

  • Paul Cobban thanks Piyush Gupta, Dave Gledhill, and many others from DBS who enabled the corporate transformation, as well as his family.

  • Natalie Davis thanks her Innosight colleagues and clients she learns from daily, her coauthors, and her family.

  • They also thank the HBR Press team for supporting the book.

  • Innovation requires taking an unconventional approach and doing extraordinary things at a normal organization.

  • The authors are grateful to their collaborators, mentors, colleagues, clients, and families for providing support, inspiration, and opportunities to do meaningful work.

  • Scott Anthony has extensive experience advising organizations on innovation and has authored several books. He leads Innosight’s Asia operations.

  • Paul Cobban has led major transformation initiatives at DBS Bank that have made it an award-winning global leader. He is renowned for his expertise in cultural change.

  • Natalie Painchaud is Innosight’s director of learning. She has over 15 years of experience helping large companies build innovation capabilities and develop leaders.

  • Andy Parker is an Innosight partner focused on helping Asian clients navigate disruption and grow through innovation. He has experience across diverse industries.

The authors express gratitude for the encouragement and support of spouses, children, colleagues and clients, which enables them to do fulfilling work advancing innovation.

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About Matheus Puppe