Eat, Sleep, Innovate
Eat, Sleep, Innovate

Eat, Sleep, Innovate

āœ” How did I put this into action?

After sharing with my Cabinet, I launched the Provost Office/Provost Team Innovation Challenge. We did the first review of submitted items in May 25, 2021.

šŸ”‘ Key Takeaways

  • You want to make innovation a regular habit of individuals who are a part of your organizational culture.
  • Change and uncertainty - constants in our world today - require greater innovation. They published the book just as COVID really sunk in and everyone went home. We needed significant innovation during this time of change and uncertainty. Makes me think of the quote, "Necessity is the mother of invention."
  • Innovation should not be limited to events and one-off activities; innovation needs to be come daily, cultural, habitual.
  • Every organization has a shadow strategy - a dark, forboding, secret infrastructure that actually controls the organization's behaviors. This shadow strategy is often described by fear and inertia. Inertia, in particular, is challenging. We've done things x way and gotten y results for years. It works. The challenge is the world is changing around you and x won't continue to get y results as new technology, competitors, and audiences take up market share.
  • Innovation isn't thinking; innovation is doing. Innovation is a discipline/skill. Everyone can innovate.
Culture is what a group thinks and the actions it takes; you can't talk culture into existence.
  • Five key behaviors of innovators
    • Curious - You are never content with past success. You're always thinking about how to get better. This implies you must be growth mindset oriented about this specific area of life
    • Customer Obsession - You want to understand and improve the experience of the customer or client.
    • Collaboration - We rarely innovate alone.
    • Adeptness in Ambiguity - Innovation requires comfort with being simultaneously right and wrong as you test ideas. You recognize you must iterate and experiment with "judicious risk-taking (LocationĀ 553)"
    • Empowerment - You must know that you can take action to create value.
  • Building these behaviors into your culture increases profitability, psychological safety, and many other factors that improve the organization.

šŸ¦œ Direct Quotes from the Book

  • "Every organization houses deep veins of raw human ingenuity or partially formed ideas that could be transformed into massive value if they could only be liberated from their burial spots within the unyielding rock walls of the organization. Even when innovation energy is expended, it is often spent inefficiently or chaotically, yielding at best only a fraction of its potential utility. (LocationĀ 178)"

"This book lays out a system-level way to encourage and enable people to think and act beyond the status quo. Our approach sits at the intersection of four streams of research: organizational culture, habit change, innovation-enabling behaviors, and innovation-enhancing structures and systems." (LocationĀ 204)

  • "Our perspective is that success requires focusing on changing peopleā€™s daily habits through a series of interventions, and then ensuring that the new habits stick and scale. (LocationĀ 209)"

"To succeed in these efforts, borrow from the habit-change literature to encourage desired behaviors and overcome identified blockers by hacking peopleā€™s habits with BEANs: behavior enablers, artifacts, and nudges. (LocationĀ 218)"


Chapter 1 The Responsibility of the Many

  • The effort came from normal people acting in a way that allowed them to come up with a creative solution to a difficult problem. Thatā€™s innovation in action.1 (LocationĀ 340)

What We Talk about When We Talk about Innovation


Our formal definition of innovation has five simple words: ā€œSomething different that creates value.ā€ (LocationĀ 348)

What Culture Actually Means

  • Schein defines company culture as ā€œA pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems ā€¦ [which have] worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think and feel in relation to those problems.ā€ (LocationĀ 405)

How Innovators Behaveā€”and How Organizations Should Support Them

  • "innovation success traces back to five behaviors: great innovators are curious, customer-obsessed, collaborative, adept in ambiguity, and empowered; and great cultures encourage and reinforce these behaviors. "(LocationĀ 447)

The Benefits of Creating a Culture of Innovation

  • "Using agile methods to be adept in ambiguity is very much in vogue these days, and for good reason: Bain & Co. found that agile methods reduce project risk by 76 percent and increase team productivity by 84 percent." (LocationĀ 603)
  • "Googleā€™s own research shows that psychologically safe teams exceed their revenue targets by almost 20 percent." (LocationĀ 605)
  • "Gallupā€™s research on engagement shows that empowerment drives engagement, and engaged workforces outperform disengaged workforces by 21 percent in profitability and 20 percent in productivity."(LocationĀ 608)

Chapter 2 The Shadow Strategy

"In June 2017, Scott asked a group of one thousand top executives in the consumer and retail industries to use their mobile phones to answer a simple question: What single word describes what makes innovation a challenge for your organization? The word ā€œfearā€ was inescapable, and ā€œinertiaā€ jumped out at him as well."(LocationĀ 782)

Why Does Culture Eat Strategy for Breakfast?

"In a stable world, engrained habits reinforced by systems and structures serve as a source of strength. But in a changing world, with advancing technologies and lines between industries blurred, a blind adherence to these habits can be harmful, as institutionalized inertia inhibits necessary change. "(LocationĀ 869)

"As one executive quipped, ā€œWe are organized to deliver predictable, reliable results. And thatā€™s exactly the problem.ā€ (LocationĀ 873)"

Hacking Habits

"First, habit change requires engaging both peopleā€™s rational, logical side and their emotional, intuitive side. Second, habit change requires a multifront battle. Consider how AA and WW use a combination of mantras, nudges, and social interactions to change peopleā€™s patterns. Third, the science of motivation shows how goal-setting, achievement, and social comparison and encouragement reinforce desired behaviors." (LocationĀ 1184)

"The enemy of innovation inside most organizations is institutionalized inertia that is reinforced in systems and norms. The antidote to inertia is to break old habits and form new ones. While most habit-change literature has focused on individual behaviors, such as stopping smoking, eating better, getting more regular exercise, and learning new skills, we posited that the principles of successful habit formation and change would be just as applicable to organizations." (LocationĀ 1187)

What Makes a Successful BEAN

"Studying the literature and looking at BEANs that work suggest six key ingredients. (LocationĀ 1275)

  • Simplicity - make it easy to adopt and remember
  • Practicality - connect it to existing routines
  • Reinforcement - create physical and digital reminders
  • Organizational consistency - Ensure it links to objectives, processes, systems, and values.
  • Uniqueness - Create something fun and social and support it with stories and legends.
  • Trackability - Build it in a way that it can be adjusted, measured, and scaled."