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A Preview of The Seven Sins of Innovation with Dave Richards

The Seven Sins of Innovation

A summary of things you should know about The Seven Sins of Innovation according to Dave Richards:


In this episode Dave Richards takes a deep dive into his book, The Seven Sins of Innovation, where he discusses 7 causes of success or failure for innovation and entrepreneurial endeavors.

In his book Richards shares examples and case studies from some of the most well-known organizations and demonstrates how individual and group psychology must be engaged effectively to create entrepreneurial cultures capable of powerful innovation. The goal of his book is to provide you with a guide to applying the model, finding the right external resources, and involving people effectively.

This book is perfect for entrepreneurs, business leaders, or managers attempting to start, reinvent, or grow an organization of any kind.

The Book’s Unique Quality (2:41)

A lot of books on innovation tend to be quite academic or theoretical. Also a lot of great stories about entrepreneurship and innovation are really personal stories. My book is more about trying to make sense of it all and draw together various theories and practicalities of innovation. And pointing out why most efforts fail but also what to do about it in practical terms.

The Best Way To Engage (3:42)

There are sections of the book that are devoted to specific types of enterprises. So there are sections that I think might be of interest to specific readers but I’ve tried to write them in a way that they are applicable to any type of innovation effort or any type of entrepreneurship.

The Reader’s Takeaway (22:59)

I think it’s that the success or failure of any innovation effort or any entrepreneurial effort is really all about the people. If you are successful it’s going to be because of the people and if you fail it’s because of the people.

A Deep Dive Into The Book (4:40)

I start with definitions and the reason I start with definitions of basic concepts is because looking at the literature on these topics I see a lot of inconsistency. I define innovation in terms of creation and value and I define entrepreneurship as anyone trying to innovate. I felt we needed to rethink our concepts of innovation and rethink our whole approach to how we are trying to innovate. From there we move into talking about why it’s so difficult. The reality in the world of innovation is the vast majority of innovation efforts fail to deliver the desired results.

The seven sins are looking at the fundamental reasons underlined the failure of most innovation efforts. And of course with every sin there is a corresponding virtue. After going through the various sins of innovation I get into specific prescriptions for how to succeed.

The first key sin of innovation is pointless purpose. Pointless purpose can come in many different forms but it is fundamentally all about an entrepreneur not having a really strong connection to a purpose. One of the most common forms of that is what I call the technology push. This is when really clever technologists come up with a so called solutions and conceptually throw it over the wall and say I have the solution now where is the problem. What are you trying to do as an entrepreneur to make the world a better place? If your innovation isn’t connected to some fundamental purpose than in my view it is pointless.

The second sin we talk about is impaired vision. Your vision for success is fundamentally connected to purpose but takes it a step deeper in terms of understanding the specifics of what you’ll achieve.

The third sin is an inability to articulate what you are trying to do. This sin I call apathetic miscommunication. This is miscommunication that can be the result of apathy or lack of the ability to articulate and the inability to express the value that you’re trying to deliver. And to express it in a way that attracts, excites, and influences your potential customers.

The fourth sin is about ambivalent disengagement and failure of relationship.

The fifth sin I call frightfully disempowered followership. In other words the opposite of good leadership is followership and the opposite of empowerment is disempowerment. The virtue as an innovator is to responsibly empower the resources that are required to drive innovation. So if we fail to appropriately empower those resources than fundamentally we are being irresponsible. One of the key things we need to do as leaders of innovation is to appropriately empower and that often means making very tough choices.

The sixth sin I call painfully boring uncreatively.

The seventh sin I call comfortable complacency and it’s related to the realm of motivation. It’s were we implement strategy and it’s the realm of performance and results. In that realm of human behavior, attitudes, beliefs, and motivation, complacency is the big killer for motivation.

The book ends with some specific prescriptions related to different types of enterprises. One of them looks at revitalizing an enterprise which I think a lot of organizations need to look at. I personally believe that leaders in government need to be far more innovative than they are and we need a step change in terms of the ability of public enterprises to deliver value.

Notable Quotes From The Book (24:29)

“If you’re not living, leading, learning, and loving on the edge you are taking up too much space.” – Dave Richards

The Credibility/Inspiration Of The Author (0:45)

I live in the UK but I’m an American and Canadian. I’ve got five great kids, two relatively little ones and we live on the South Coast of England. I work all over the world, I enjoy public speaking, plus I work with a variety of organizations ranging from startups to multinationals essentially helping people create more success.

Essentially it represents a lifetime of learning and an effort to understand why the vast majority of innovation efforts fail.

Other Books Recommended By The Author (25:55)

The Mandala of Being by Richard Moss

More Information About This Book and The Author

Buy The Seven Sins of Innovation by Dave Richards

Visit DrDaveInnovation.com to learn more about Dave and his book

More Information About This Episode

Download the full transcript here (coming soon)

Listen on iTunes, Stitcher , and SoundCloud

Related books: The Innovative Entrepreneur by Daniel Spulber | The Innovator’s Method by Nathan Furr | From Idea To Exit by Jeffrey Weber

Relevant advice and tips: 5 Steps to Promote Innovation in the Workplace

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Wade is a 4-time serial entrepreneur and is the Founder/Host of The Entrepreneurs Library. With a long time passion for reading books, Wade created an online resource and podcast for entrepreneurs who love to read personal and business development books. His long-term goal in life is to start an entrepreneurial home schooling program for children of business-minded families.