Ideaflow: The Only Business Metric That Matters

Portfolio. Oct. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9780593420584. $29. BUS
The need to innovate has become one of the leading drivers for companies across all industries, but the skills for ideation, problem-solving, and creativity are often treated as something to be learned in school, not on the job. Brainstorming might always come second to ship dates, but Utley and Klebahn (directors of executive education at Stanford make the case that ideation should be a bigger part of every company’s culture. Through dozens of case studies and stories on problem-solving, the book offers a program for structuring work around the creation and testing of new ideas. The program is in part a contemporary revamp of processes covered in Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow, Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace’s Creativity, Inc., and Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton’s Yes, And, but Utley and Klebahn focus on quantity over quality as a way to promote breakthroughs.
VERDICT This solid introduction to the ideation process moves past the recent fixation on improv, which has been the model since the publication of Yes, And. The book does indeed tackle the need for idea creation in business, but it doesn’t differentiate itself enough from other works on this topic.
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