Book: Closing the Innovation Gap

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The best talent embodies the five core values and has the right combination of aptitude, skill, judgment, passion, and drive. Such people’s curiosity and openness to new experience are as important as their pedigree. They require deep understanding to garner respect, a sense of infectious excitement to rally the organization around them, and an almost compulsive drive to tinker. “What we always looked for were people who were born with soldering irons in their hands,” says Jon Rubinstein. “People with a passion for products, for the creation process, and for technology itself.” (p30-31)

Closing the Innovation Gap: Reigniting the Spark of Creativity in a Global Economy
Judy Estrin, 2009

Among other reasons, I read business books in order to collect role models, finding descriptions that resonate with the kind of person I want to grow into.

Other quotes from the book are relevant to my work:

People who naturally play the role of knowledge connectors are critical when building relationships across communities, disciplines, or divisions, facilitating communication between disparate groups. The best connectors can quickly synthesize information across a broad range of topics, communicate well, and bring the right people together, while having no overriding agenda of their own. (p134)

We’re building a training program for connectors, and I’m learning a lot in the process.

For companies with advanced technology groups, it’s best to create networks of complete teams, as opposed to just offshoring a piece of the development. Companies that farm out all of their entry-level jobs or the production tasks that were traditionally allotted to junior employees may eventually discover that they have offshored their next generation of leaders. (p138)

I think it would be fantastic to have more global leaders, making sure we also don’t sacrifice the capabilities and leadership pipelines of the developed countries.

The book itself draws on an intimate knowledge of Silicon Valley, and provides a useful historical perspective on the changes.

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