Specific tools that can be readily used.

(This is the review I wrote a while back on Flipkart)

This book from Vinay Dhabolkar & Rishikesha T. Krishnan “8 steps to Innovation” belongs to the category of books that gives us specific tools that can be readily used. It is in the league of books like Switch and The Lean Startup. It is written in the Indian context but the principles can be applied elsewhere too.

In this book, we get to find specific tools like creating a challenge book, democratizing innovation, designing and running rapid low cost experiments, iterating the business model and many more. There is a danger in writing such a book. A heavy weight process manual may claim the same “tools for you to succeed”. They may also claim that the tools prescribed by them are an amalgamation of all the “best practices” discovered elsewhere. The problem with best practices is that they fail in narrating the context. This is where the new breed of books like the “8 Steps to Innovation” differs. Each tool that gets introduced in this book comes along with a detailed narration of a true story thus laying out a strong foundation for context. Thus the tool becomes a “bright spot” (a concept mentioned in the book Switch) and not a best practice.

Being a first-time entrepreneur (during my YAssume/MakeMyDabba days), there were two kinds of books that attracted my attention.

In the first category are the books that inspired and motivated me. These inspired me to take up the challenge of creating something new. Books like Founders At Work, Stay Hungry Stay Foolish, Black Swan, Outliers fall in this category. Some of these are biographical and anecdotal. Others are conceptual and theoretical.. Such books play an important role in shaping one’s intent and intellect to take up a bigger/newer/different challenge. These books provided me the encouragement to jump out of a corporate job and to become an entrepreneur. However, once you hit the ground, not many of these books come in handy to deal with real-life situations. There is a danger that one loses hope quickly and starts to conclude that he or she is not a maverick enough like the celebrated ones figured in these books.

There comes for the rescue, the second category of books. That’s where I list this book “8 steps to innovation”, prominently alongside books like Lean Startup and Switch. At MakeMyDabba (second of my startups), we managed to take the idea of creating a web platform to help people at home to list and sell home food to others in their neighborhood, from drawing board to a successful launch in less than 8 weeks. We owe a lot to books like “8 Steps to Innovation” that provide hands-on tools to perform rapid experimentation and to get to customers faster. Such books can easily and proudly claim to be a part of the startup culture!

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