I was fortunate to be in Melbourne at the Australian Institute of Management breakfast where Stephen Lundin spoke about his new book CATS: The Nine Lives of Innovation .
You would remember him as the author of the Best Book FISH: A Remarkable Way to Improve Morality and Improve Performance inspired by Pike Place Fishmarket in Seattle. Remember the message to FISH – Stay there; Play; Make their day; Choose your attitude – simple but extremely powerful. The Pike Place Fishmarket, as a result of its book, is now a global tourist destination!
CATS, his new book, is the same – simple but powerful message, shared within an innovative framework with a wonderful process that makes the message of innovation accessible to all. So if innovation has always been a mystery or even a threat, this book is worth reading.
A CAT, for Stephen and Jimmy Tan, his co-author, is a "human person who learns how to release his creative potential and develop talent and understanding critically for innovation", the creative and imaginative people priceless for each organization condemned at the speed of change in the twenty-first century.
This book is a journey. It takes you through the discovery. You need to read it once and then go back and work through it or purchase the attached workbook KATAR: Personal Guide . It organizes and introduces the principles of innovation so that you can understand and see what you need to learn and how you need to grow to be innovative. The preparation of the book is a prerequisite for "all men can do amazingly unique features of innovation" that will enhance their lives. In other words, we are all able to become cats.
What makes this book different from the reading I've done on the innovation is, however, that the message is that innovation begins with the individual and that it begins by being innovations in our normal and small life. That's where the process of becoming a CAT starts. Innovation companies are just organizations with lots of individual cats in those supported by the seasonal CAT as Stephen and Jimmy call the CAT Wrangler – leader who knows the difference between meow and purr. You must read the book to find out what these leaders are really!
The journey they take us teaches us how to cope with four challenges of innovation, live nine lives of CATS and earn five CAT belts that tell us how well we are as CAT and even what is CAT we are.
For Lundin and Tan there are four challenges of innovation:
1. Overcome our doubts and fears.
2. Going out for "ordinary".
3. Suddenly managed failure.
4. Leading through change.
The nine lives are:
Life one: CATS overcome the clutter of life.
Life Two: CATS are always ready, especially for unpredictable.
Life three: CATS know that innovation is not normal.
Life four: CATS welcome really provocative.
Life Five: CATS introduces imaginary provocation.
Life Six: CATS say "how fascinating"!
Life Seven: CATS fails early and well.
Life eight: CATS jump on change.
Life Nine: CATS love CAT Wranglers.
Throughout the book there are practical examples and exercises to do, ways to become CAT, ways to deal with innovations in our lives and expand all their aspects. Finally, you can go with your CAT belt. There are five exercises to do, each one requires several commitments and time. To complete each exercise, you'll see CAT belt – moving from level 1 to 5.
This book promises to have as much effect as FISH. As on the backside CATS says: "Innovation is about you and how you decide to understand it and use it will lead to wealth and profitable life."