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Michael
Minnesota
Ingredient designer with an interest in creativity and organizational life
Interests: creativity, innovation, strategy, design thinking, scenario planning, food ingredients, agriculture
Recent Activity
Range David Epstein Range This is a book about the power of generalists. It starts with a comparison of Tiger Woods and Roger Federer. Both are generational talents, but they developed very differently. Tiger Woods was playing golf by age 2 and was in tournaments. All he did was golf... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2020 at Innovation Garden
Expert Political Judgement Philip Tetlock Expert Political Judgment This 2007 book made a splash when it was released because it tested the ability of experts to predict outcomes in various areas of finance, economics, and politics. Experts did very poorly, in fact they did worse than chance alone. Well-informed people... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2020 at Innovation Garden
A Curious Mind Brain Glazer & Charles Fishman A Curious Mind Brain Glazer is a producer of movies and televisions shows. This book is the story of the role curiosity, in many forms, has been a force in his life. He did not set out to work in movies but... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2020 at Innovation Garden
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Learning Agile Andrew Stellman & Jennifer Greene Learning Agile Agile working practices have become quite trendy over the last few years, but the application of the word agile to these practices dates back to 2001. A group of 17 people active in software development had a meeting and published what... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2020 at Innovation Garden
Improve wisdom Patricia Ryan Madson Improv wisdom This book describes how the method and mindset of improvisational theory can be applied to everyday life and business. We all have some urge to control our lives and this often means that we can’t react to events. Improvisation is the unplanned response... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2020 at Innovation Garden
Rebels at work Lois Kelly and Carmen Medina Rebels at Work This book is intended to help people who think differently navigate their organizations. The authors describe a good rebel as a person who observes things that are not working and suggests ways to change. A bad rebel just complains.... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2020 at Innovation Garden
It doesn’t have to be crazy at work Jason Fried and David Hansson It doesn't need to be crazy The two authors were the principle co-founders of a company called Basecamp. The company produces software that is used by (mostly small) businesses for project management. The company was founded in... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2020 at Innovation Garden
Team of teams Stanley McChrystal, Tantum Collins, David Silverman, Chris Fussell Team of teams This book describes the kind of organization required to cope with a complex environment. The lead authors uses his experience leads the US Special Operation Group (USSOG) in the Iraq during the early-to-mid 2000s. Modern business... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2020 at Innovation Garden
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A more beautiful question Warren Berger A more beautiful question This book asserts that adults lose their most powerful learning tool when they lose the ability and inclination to ask questions. Questions are at the heart of innovation. Yet, organizations from schools to business do almost nothing to teach questioning... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2020 at Innovation Garden
The evolution of useful things Henry Petroski The evolution of useful things This book describes the history of development of a range of common items like forks, paper clips and beverage cans. In particular, the book is an extended refutation of the phrase “form follows function”. Instead, the book suggests... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2019 at Innovation Garden
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Normal Accidents Charles Perrow Normal-Accidents This is a book about complexity and how it leads to accidents. It was written in 1984, soon after the Three Mile Island nuclear plant accident, and an additional section was written in 1999. I became aware of this book in the week after the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2019 at Innovation Garden
Red Team Micah Zenko Red Team This book contains a series of examples of the use of red teams to do alternative or adversary analysis for a variety of organizations. Most of the examples are quite extensive and beyond the scope of summarization. The book does little to explain how... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2018 at Innovation Garden
Seeing is forgetting the name of what you see This is a biography of the American artist Robert Irwin. This is different from most book summaries that I write because it does not really deal with issues or processes that fill business life. What makes Irwin interesting is his focus... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2018 at Innovation Garden
The surprising power of liberating structures Henri Lipmanowisc and Keith McCandless Liberating Structures This book is about making human interactions more productive. Most people complain about meetings, whether they are organizers or participants. The authors suggest that one reason is that we have a very limited “alphabet” for structuring meetings.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2018 at Innovation Garden
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Red Teaming Bryce Hoffman Red teaming This book describes some of the practices associated with so-called “Red Teams”. A red team is a group of people who set out to deliberately challenge a plan or decision as a way to insure better plans or decisions are made. They are designated... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2018 at Innovation Garden
Living with Complexity Donald Norman Living with complexity This book is about designing systems to cope with complexity. The real focus of the book is the idea that complexity can’t be removed or decreased, but it can be “moved” around. When we complain about complexity, we are really complaining about... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2018 at Innovation Garden
Thinking in Bets Annie Duke Thinking in Bets This is a book written about decision making based on what the author (a trained psychologist and professional gambler) learned playing poker. The book is not about poker or gambling. It is about dedication to an approach to making decisions based on... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2018 at Innovation Garden
The half-life of facts Samuel Arbesman Half life of facts We tend to think of facts as absolute and timeless. This book discusses the observation that many things that we see as true and timeless change. For many categories of facts, there is a predictable rate of change. This concept... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2018 at Innovation Garden
How to fly a horse Kevin Ashton How to fly a horse There are many books about creativity available. There are how-to manuals, books on famous creators, and books that books that suggest that it is all about motivation. This book is different than all of them. This book describes... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2018 at Innovation Garden
Hunch Bernadette Jiwa Hunch This is a supposed to be book about intuition expressed in the form of a hunch. A hunch is a combination of insight and foresight, brought about by understanding what is and questioning what could be.* According to the author, insight is derived from a combination... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2018 at Innovation Garden
Can Do Ben Tiggelaar Can Do This is a book about change, and specifically behavioral change. Behavioral change is a slow, sometimes hard process for adults, but it is also misunderstood. There is a common belief that making a change is simply a matter of willpower, so imposition of a... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2018 at Innovation Garden
Good Strategy Bad Strategy Richard P. Rumelt Good strategy Bad strategy This is a book about the diagnosis and creation of business strategy, and takes the view that much of what passes for business strategy is not even strategy, and of that which is strategy – much is bad strategy.... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2018 at Innovation Garden
Contagious culture Anese Cavanaugh Contagious Culture This book is for those who think that the culture of the organizations in which they work could be better. The author presents two basic ideas. First, you are an agent of culture change through the groups in which you participate. So, you are... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2018 at Innovation Garden
Immunity to change Robert Kagen & Lisa Laskow Lahey Immunity to change The main theme of this book is that people want to make changes but fail because they are unaware of beliefs and assumptions that push back on the change. These beliefs may be untested and false. To make... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2018 at Innovation Garden
Emotional Agility Susan David Emotional agility Things do not always go the way we’d prefer. We may be sad, angry or depressed as a consequence – and this is not always helpful or good for us. Maintaining emotional agility, being flexible with your thoughts and feelings so that you can... Continue reading
Posted Jan 6, 2018 at Innovation Garden