Do we not love reading fables? Do we not like being in the world of those not like us? Is it not tickling to see animals running a farm with all management principles and falling into the same traps? Authors Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble are well-known experts in the field of Innovation Management. They have written the famous book on execution challenge. How Stella Saved the Farm is a tale that they weave to put across their points in a very simple and in my opinion the most effective way.
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Authors share that reading this small fable has been more effective than a classroom or traditional ways of making people understand innovation and the pushes and pulls it requires in organizations. Through an animal farm, they have been able to state the problem of why innovation becomes a must for organizations at certain points in time. They go on to explain how do you deal with the special needs it comes from.
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What I appreciate the most is that they deal with the softer aspects of innovation rather than just the logical process it is part of. They put forth the importance of getting buy-in from all in the team. They talk about helping people prepare for the new way of business. They prepare leaders to not expect people to perform as well in a task they have not trained for and a task that can get as unpredictable as it can.
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They talk about the challenges that some of the people in the team can create and how to deal with them. It talks about getting the fresh relevant talent into the team for new thoughts and experience. It talks about using the latest tools in vogue and using the platforms available. It talks about not really giving the project to those who came up with the idea but to the best person to execute it.
At another level it subtlety takes you through the learning curve that an organization goes through when they embark on an innovation journey. If you have championed the cause of innovation in your organization, I am sure you will find resonance with most of the situations mentioned in the story. Like I did.
Like every Fable, there are morals or lessons given in bold. You get some nuggets in Innovation here too. They are just those lessons as they come out of the story. Thankfully, not the preachy messages from an overbearing consultant.
The folktale nature of the story keeps you entertained and smiling, as do the colorful caricatured visuals on finely printed pages. With minimal text, you turn the pages fast enough, and before you know the story is over.
The primary objective of the book is to convey the story of Innovation in a typical organization, but it is also a beautiful example of the strength of storytelling. A well-told story with lovable characters could convey the most complex ideas and concepts in a very simple way that people accept far more easily than other ways.
How Stella Saved the Farm is highly recommended to all Business Innovation enthusiasts and folktale fans.