Robert’s Rules of Innovation II: Breaking Innovation Gridlock in a Post-Recession World


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What's stopping your business from innovation? If you ask Robert F. Brands, it's probably fear. Fear subtly sabotages innovation and destroys the balance between cost-saving and innovation. In "Robert's Rules of Innovation II: The Art of Implementation", innovation expert Robert F. Brands, returns with a second edition designed to help innovation champions learn the ten basic principles they need to innovate in their environment, whether that environment is a small business or Fortune 500 company.

Robert's Rules of Innovation II: Breaking Innovation Gridlock in a Post-Recession World

Robert’s Rules of Innovation II: The Art of Implementation is concerned with the gap between knowledge and implementation of innovation. Robert Brands noticed that business leaders praised the idea of “innovation” but failed to follow through. Brands attributed this lack of initiative to fear, a fear that America had faced before. For decades after the Great Depression, business owners were still afraid to invest in innovation. As a result, the economy’s potential wasn’t realized until much later.

Robert Brands hopes that we don’t make the same mistake again.

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What is Robert’s Rules of Innovation II About?

According to the book’s philosophy, cutting money for innovation (often seen as a way to save money) actually threatens a business’s survival. Instead of running to our short-term fears, we should balance that fear with preparation for long-term and sustainable innovation.

This preparation begins by integrating the 10 keys of innovation outlined in Robert’s Rules of Innovation II. Those 10 keys can be summarized in three principles:



1. Commit to real innovation in your entire business, not just a specific department. Otherwise, you’ll just end up with silos and wasted potential.
2. Understand what kind of innovation you want to pursue. Realize that not all innovation has to be “ground-breaking”. Innovation, as shared in the book, can actually come in three flavors: incremental (make slight changes), transformational (make a slightly larger change), and breakthrough (ground-breaking).
3. Foster the environment to sustain innovation. Innovation should not be a one-time occurrence. It should be integrated into your company culture (consistent communication from management and bottom-up implementation from employees), communication, budgets, policies (allowing free time to work with ideas), and work processes.

Integrating innovation in this way, can help restore a healthy balance between cost-saving measures and profit-inducing growth. With this balance, you can save up money to invest in future success.

Author Brands is a speaker, author and founder of two businesses, VariBlend Dual Dispensing Systems and Brands & Company, LLC. Additionally, Brands is a blogger and content contributor for various publications including the Huffington Post, Chief Executive Magazine and the Innovation Excellence blog.

What Was Best About Robert’s Rules of Innovation II?

The best part of Robert’s Rules of Innovations II is the book’s focus on navigating obstacles that can subtly sabotage innovation. Other books on innovation seem extremely focused on the “shinier” aspects of innovation (the plans and launch). While this book covers those topics, the focus stays on addressing the obstacles that get in the way. For example, the book addresses how innovation champions can address buy-in from both ends of the spectrum, upper-level management and the team who will implement the innovation.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

While Robert’s Rules of Innovations II provides quick “snapshots” of successful innovation stories, a more detailed, long-term story might need to be included. The author may have reasons for not doing this. (Innovation can be hard to generalize!) But there can be merit to showing a single case study that utilizes the book’s 10 principles. This will give readers a chance to see the dynamics that come with long-term innovation.

Why Read Robert’s Rules of Innovation II?

If you are (or anticipate) experiencing resistance to innovation in your business, Robert’s Rules of Innovation II might provide some guidance on how to move forward. Written for the post-recession business environment, the book offers principles to help restore a healthy balance between cost-saving and business growth. While sharing these principles, the author lays out innovation as a process that is adaptable to your short-term and long-term goals. With Robert Brands, innovation isn’t a one-trick pony, it’s something that requires active investment in the present and adaptation in the future. To successfully reach this long-term perspective on innovation, Brands offers strategies based in part upon his experience innovating in his own businesses and helping other businesses to do the same.

1 Comment ▼

Charles Franklin


Charles Franklin Charles Franklin is a Book Reviewer for Small Business Trends. He has a background as a professional reviewer, and is also a content provider and customer relations professional.

One Reaction

  1. Innovation is in fact new CHOICES that allow more positives in comparison to negatives. Consider building upon success that allow more positives to increase profitability, increase labor force with people that can contribute to the your success such as a new sales person, new marketing, greater sales diversity, etc. Also consider “out of the box” opportunities that allow affordable new risks that can provide huge returns.
    Most importantly remember that every consumer you have is in fact a possible new customer to your competition. Not being aggressive to change and outpace your competition with innovation over time will allow your competition to eat up your customers.
    Peter Gold, Professional Inventor

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