Management often operates under the mistaken notion that the best talent is always “out there,” external to a company or business. The assumption goes something like this. If you pay top dollar for the best possible person, your business is guaranteed to be awesome. Unfortunately, this assumption completely ignores the promising talent that’s right under everyone’s nose. That’s where Ignite: Setting your Organization’s Culture on Fire with Innovation sets leaders straight. Instead of searching for the next best talent, the book helps leaders leverage the untapped entrepreneurial power of current employees.
What is Ignite About?
Entrepreneurship, as it is currently practiced, has an external focus. People often become entrepreneurs because they don’t want to work inside a business. They become entrepreneurs because they want to break out of their own business and go their own way. Ignite reverses this line of thinking. Instead of an external focus, the book asks readers to consider the power of inward-focusing entrepreneurship. The creativity unleashed from that kind of entrepreneurship offers benefits for the entrepreneurial-thinking individual and the company that wants to retain their talent.
Many businesses suffer from poor self-confidence when it comes to innovation. Business leaders often mistakenly assume that the innovation problem is an external one. They cite problems with smaller R & D budgets, talent or employee morale. In actuality, Ignite points out, the issue is most likely internal. The culture in the workplace could be stifling to innovation. Many businesses, through overly rigid hierarchies and policies, actually reinforce the opposite of innovation.
Creating an environment where internally-created entrepreneurs can innovate starts with an honest look at where the business is now. The company can then start to align with where they want to be in the future. To make it even simpler, innovation begins with and is maintained by culture. No matter how talented a single individual is, that person can’t truly innovate without a team. Businesses that truly recognize this are able to create environments that draw entrepreneurs into (rather than away from) their businesses. That creates a reinforcing cycle where entrepreneurs actually love reporting to work everyday.
The book is, in part, the work of author Randal C. Moss, marketing and strategy consultant, trainer, and a current digital marketing manager at Acco Brands. Moss comes from an extensive background in digital marketing.
Co-author David J. Neff is the founder of NP Film and Vice President of Consulting at Clearhead, a digital strategy company. Neff is also a speaker, teacher and founder of Lights, Camera, Help, a nonprofit that helps other nonprofits create and deliver stories better digitally.
Ignite is Moss and Neff’s second book together.
What Was Best About Ignite?
Ignite offers a perspective on innovation that works for non-profit and for-profit businesses alike. This is unique for a business book and stems from the authors’ emphasis on the process of innovation rather than the product. As a result, the book isn’t as concerned with whether you create a viral app or a new social intervention, insisting that in both cases the same principles apply. The book also shines a light on another important issue not discussed in “innovation” books in general, talent retention. Ignite goes beyond the “just give them a lot of money” strategy and reinforces human relationships as the key to success.
What Could Have Been Done Differently?
While Ignite provides a proactive and unique approach to innovation, it’s doesn’t provide an exact recipe. It is an introduction to the potential for creating innovation inside the four walls of your office. But it doesn’t get extremely detailed about how you go about doing that. The resulting work is best for business owners who are having problems with implementing innovation. It does not cover all of the groundwork needed to launch full-scale innovation from scratch.
Why Read Ignite?
Ignite is intended for business leaders who are trying to implement innovation in their companies but can’t seem to get it right. As the book points out, an honest look at workplace culture is something that most leaders gloss over. As a result, Ignite is a good fit for companies experiencing a talent “brain drain”. The book explores how to create a culture where workers are inspired to bring their entrepreneurial talents into the business rather than going to another organization.