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

Breaking Away

How Great Leaders Create Innovation that Drives Sustainable Growth and Why Others Fail

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I think I read too many of these books: books that showcase a bunch of case studies as a way of provoking innovation in the unenlightened. What strikes me, however, is that truly innovative companies aren’t doing what other companies already did – they are breaking new ground. And all of the models and processes that seem so “obvious” afterwards were not, in all likelihood, consciously devised while the company was in the messy iterative process of figuring it all out. So these case studies, while possibly inspirational, are more about challenging the status quo rather than encouraging you to examine your toys in a new light like Hasbro did when creating the Transformers movie franchise (igniting new passion for the brand, and also for Megan Fox). Some of the information in Breaking Away: How Great Leaders Create Innovation That Drives Sustainable Growth and Why Others Fail is wrong, or at least simplistically misguided, like the repetition of the left brain – right brain theory of where creativity comes from, and the idea that school drums creativity out of us. However, there is some new ground here in looking at the “dark side” of moving people to action – how fear, for example, is a powerful motivator. While leaders shouldn’t use fear, I applaud the authors for addressing this and lighting a small flame to dispel it. This book still buys into the notion that leadership is critical to innovation. I have to wonder – what if the leader just got out of the way?


Lisa Sansom

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