Beyond the Obvious: Killer Questions That Spark Game-Changing Innovation

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The Killer Questions Your Company Should Be Asking

Generating and executing great ideas is the key to staying ahead in a rapidly changing world. It seems so basic. Why is it so hard to actually get right? According to innovation expert Phil McKinney, the real problem is that we're teaching people to ask the wrong questions about their businesses--or none at all. There has to be a better way.

In Beyond the Obvious, McKinney will help you use his proven FIRE (Focus, Ideation, Rank, Execution) Method to dig deeper and get back to asking the right questions--the ones all companies must ask to survive. Full of real-world examples, this book will change the way you operate, innovate, and create, and it all begins with battle-tested questions Phil has gathered on note cards throughout his career. Shared for the first time here, these "Killer Questions" include:

  • What are the rules and assumptions my industry operates under? What if the opposite were true?
  • What will be the buying criteria used by my customer in 5 years?
  • What are my unshakable beliefs about what my customers want?
  • Who uses my product in ways I never anticipated?
These questions will reframe the way you see your products, your customers, and the way the two interact. Whether you're a company of thousands or a lean startup, Beyond the Obvious will give you the skills and easy-to-follow plan you need to make both the revolutionary changes and nuanced tweaks required for success.

Praise for Beyond the Obvious

"Human beings are creatures of habit, so getting ourselves and our teams to think beyond the obvious is a challenge we face all the time. Phil McKinney is an innovation expert, and his killer questions and hit-the-spot anecdotes provide a great way to get out in front of opportunities we otherwise won't see."
--Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm and Escape Velocity

"I've always believed that asking the right questions is the essence of design. Phil McKinney proves that point with this wonderful set of killer questions that will jumpstart-or greatly enhance- your innovation efforts."
--B. Joseph Pine II, co-author, The Experience Economy & Infinite Possibility.

"Product Innovation is a prerequisite to building great brands. Phil's questions are a prerequisite to building innovative products."
--Satjiv S. Chahil, former global marketing chief, Apple
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About the author

Phil McKinney is the vice president and chief technology officer for Hewlett-Packard's (HP) Personal Systems Group, where he is responsible for long-range strategic planning and research and development for all of the company's PC product lines, including displays, mobile devices, notebooks, desktops, and workstations. Over the course of his career, he has been profiled or had his work on innovation written about in media outlets ranging from tech press to Vanity Fair, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. McKinney also writes a column for Forbes called "The Objective," hosts a popular "Killer Innovations" podcast that CIO Insight has called "a must listen," and tweets from his @philmckinney handle. He currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is his first book.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Hachette Books
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Published on
Feb 7, 2012
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Pages
288
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ISBN
9781401304133
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Development / Business Development
Business & Economics / Entrepreneurship
Business & Economics / Strategic Planning
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Jim Collins
The Challenge
Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the verybeginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

The Study
For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?

The Standards
Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world's greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.

The Comparisons
The research team contrasted the good-to-great companies with a carefully selected set of comparison companies that failed to make the leap from good to great. What was different? Why did one set of companies become truly great performers while the other set remained only good?

Over five years, the team analyzed the histories of all twenty-eight companies in the study. After sifting through mountains of data and thousands of pages of interviews, Collins and his crew discovered the key determinants of greatness -- why some companies make the leap and others don't.

The Findings
The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice. The findings include:

Level 5 Leaders: The research team was shocked to discover the type of leadership required to achieve greatness. The Hedgehog Concept (Simplicity within the Three Circles): To go from good to great requires transcending the curse of competence. A Culture of Discipline: When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great results. Technology Accelerators: Good-to-great companies think differently about the role of technology. The Flywheel and the Doom Loop: Those who launch radical change programs and wrenching restructurings will almost certainly fail to make the leap.

“Some of the key concepts discerned in the study,” comments Jim Collins, "fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.”

Perhaps, but who can afford to ignore these findings?

Chip Heath
Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives?

The primary obstacle is a conflict that's built into our brains, say Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems - the rational mind and the emotional mind - that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort - but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.

In Switch, the Heaths show how everyday people - employees and managers, parents and nurses - have united both minds and, as a result, achieved dramatic results:

- The lowly medical interns who managed to defeat an entrenched, decades-old medical practice that was endangering patients
- The home-organizing guru who developed a simple technique for overcoming the dread of housekeeping 
- The manager who transformed a lackadaisical customer-support team into service zealots by removing a standard tool of customer service 

In a compelling, story-driven narrative, the Heaths bring together decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to shed new light on how we can effect transformative change. Switch shows that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern you can use to make the changes that matter to you, whether your interest is in changing the world or changing your waistline.
John G. Miller

The lack of personal accountability is a problem that has resulted in an epidemic of blame, victim thinking, complaining, and procrastination. No organization—or individual—can successfully compete in the marketplace, achieve goals and objectives, provide outstanding service, engage in exceptional teamwork, or develop people without personal accountability.  

John G. Miller believes that the troubles that plague organizations cannot be solved by pointing fingers and blaming others. Rather, the real solutions are found when each of us recognizes the power of personal accountability. In QBQ! The Question Behind the Question®, Miller explains how negative, ill-focused questions like “Why do we have to go through all this change?” and “Who dropped the ball?” represent a lack of personal accountability. Conversely, when we ask better questions—QBQs—such as “What can I do to contribute?” or “How can I help solve the problem?” our lives and our organizations are transformed.


THE QBQ! PROMISE

This remarkable and timely book provides a practical method for putting personal accountability into daily actions, with astonishing results: problems are solved, internal barriers come down, service improves, teams thrive, and people adapt to change more quickly. QBQ! is an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to learn, grow, and change. Using this tool, each of us can add tremendous worth to our organizations and to our lives by eliminating blame, victim-thinking, and procrastination.

                                                                                                 
QBQ! was written more than a decade ago and has helped countless readers practice personal accountability at work and at home. This version features a new foreword, revisions and new material throughout, and a section of  FAQs that the author has received over the years.




From the Hardcover edition.
Jake Knapp
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