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How Crazy Ideas Become Innovations
Many entrepreneurs dream of catching lightning in a bottle — of harnessing new, powerful ideas that will propel their business to the cutting edge. Whether they call it disruption, innovation, or genius, many business books focus on the “lightning” side of the equation. But those flashes of brilliance mean nothing without a bottle to capture them in. According to author and physicist Safi Bahcall, if you want to turn momentary inspiration into tangible success, you need structure. Bahcall explores this idea in his book, “Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries.” He examines many successful innovations that were originally deemed “crazy” or “doomed to fail,” including the breakout success of the James Bond movies and how Lipitor became a pharmaceutical blockbuster. What these phenomena have in common is that they were supported and made possible by a positive work environment structured to nurture ideas that were “just crazy enough to work.” However, success stories aren’t the only focus of “Loonshots.” The book also examines companies that paved the way as innovators, only to stifle change and lose momentum. Bahcall puts Pan
American World Airways (Pan Am), Polaroid, and other titans that let the lightning out of the bottle under the microscope to show readers where the companies’ organizational structures went wrong. To Bahcall, the way business owners organize their team is the same as how temperature shapes water. You can be cold toward new ideas, which freezes progress and makes your company too brittle in the face of change, or you can be warm and let your team’s ideas flow in exciting new directions. Drawing on his experience as both a physicist and the co-founder of a biotechnology company, Bahcall is able to make his case in entertaining, down-to- earth prose. Beyond being a good read, “Loonshots” addresses an often overlooked factor in the ways innovative companies succeed at redefining their industry, making it a great addition to any entrepreneur’s library.
Achieve Innovational Success With ‘Loonshots’
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