The Proximity Paradox: How To Create Distance from Business as Usual and Do Something Truly Innovative

ECW. Mar. 2020. 216p. ISBN 9781770415324. pap. $18.95. BUS
Since Alex Faickney Osborn introduced the notion of brainstorming in his 1953 book Applied Imagination, the concept has been applied to many fields. In their first book, May and Varricchio, co-owners of the marketing agency UpHouse, follow in the tradition of Osborn. Here, the premise is that those closest to a product are generally the preservationists of the status quo rather than the inventors of a new design. The authors cite several examples of classic innovation, including descriptions of skunkworks projects, along with the genius of manufacturing company W.L. Gore and Associates. The authors are less adept at explaining the longevity of modern companies; they also place importance on garnering new customers instead of focusing on retention, which should give pause to technology-based companies. For the more academically oriented, the endnotes provide plenty of recent research and online resources, which should have strong appeal.
VERDICT A respectable business work recasting vintage techniques that may be compelling to a more scholarly audience.

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