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How to be Innovative: Show, Don't Tell


An Excerpt on the Orchestration of Innovation from Kim Chandler McDonald's new book

In InnovationKim Chandler McDonald doesn’t just tell readers how to be more innovative; she shows 100+ people from business, education, technology, the arts, media, marketing, healthcare, charities and government (to name a few) who are already being innovative. Brand-new interviews with some of the world's top innovators combined with Kim’s expert insight will help readers:


  • Get the inside track on how to survive in today’s competitive, global digital economy
  • Grow their business by learning how to incorporate innovation-friendly practices into the way their company operates
  • Change the way they work and think, which might just lead to a new invention, a more efficient way of working
  • Develop a better understanding of what it takes to be more innovative



Below is an excerpt from Kim’s introduction to the book:

'The orchestration of innovation

Three core axioms infuse this book: 1) innovation drives change –cultural, societal and economic; 2) innovation, in some form, touches each and every one of us, wherever we may be, as individuals, communities and societies as a whole; and 3) innovators deserve recognition, celebration and applause. This book is my hands clapping. I hope, by the end of our time together, you join me in my ovation.

I am taking you on a journey around the world. On the way I will introduce you to innovators who have broken the mould, led the pack, and moved their own particular mountains in fields as diverseas business and technology, engineering and education, government and social policy, media, medicine and more. While they are as diverse as any other group – as are the areas from which they draw inspiration – there are traits that link many, if not most of them. Though at times it may be daunting, innovators are compelled to tell their truths – whether we, the public want to hear them or not. Some boldly go where no one has been, or thought to be, before.

Most of them are applauded for it, but that is not why they do what they do. Innovators run when most are content to walk; this is true even when their leaps of faith can leave some of us queasy with anxiety. Without their willingness to delve into the depths of the unknown, we would all be lessened; their innovations have changed the way we see, and live in, our world.

Think where we might be if Michael Faraday hadn’t brought us the innovation of electromagnetism, or Nikola Tesla the alternating current. Niels Bohr’s work with quantum mechanics is the basis forall we take for granted in communication and modern electronics. Perhaps my favourite historical innovator is Johannes Gutenberg, he of the precious printing press. His work, which brought booksto the masses, led to reformations in religion, politics and society as a whole.

Looking forward, innovation will be as important in our next ‘great leap forward’ as it was during the Industrial Revolution. Without the steam engine and Spinning Jenny, our world economy would look much different. In all likelihood the same can be said for those innovations that are now, or will soon be, presenting themselves. It is these innovations that will ensure that we survive and, with any luck, thrive in the new Global Digital Economy (GDE) – and it is innovators that we have to thank for this.

Together, we’re going to find out what makes innovators tick, talk and tremble. Perhaps, by understanding these things, we will be able to understand the future that awaits us all a little more comfortably. In the interviews in this book you’ll find answers from artists and authors, engineers and entrepreneurs, doctors and designers, educators and architects, scientists and explorers of space, business people, bankers, politicians, printers, and many more. There are those who focus on the micro, the macro, the profit, the public, the bold, the beautiful, the richest, the poorest, the sun, the moon, the earth, and almost everything in between. There are no right or wrong answers in this book: there is only the exploration and the celebration of innovation and of how these world-class innovators rock their roles.

In travelling through !nnovation you also have an opportunity to explore your own innovative thinking. I begin each chapter with a ‘word cloud’. Look out for these words as you read each interview. They are the commonalities – the themes, if you will – that link and lead. They are the warp and weft, the contexts and concepts, the melodies and harmonies of this symphony of extraordinary, and extraordinarily innovative, individuals.

Following each main interview I have included a simple ‘Keyword imagination exercise’. Take five minutes, close your eyes, and see what thoughts and ideas they inspire. Take some time – some you time – to allow your mind to wander freely and make an ‘innovation investment’ in yourself. There are no right or wrong answers, no test to study for – this is your time to delve into the deep insights shared in these interviews, investigate your own connection to innovation and explore the potential differentiation that you can bring to your world, your business and yourself.'

About the Author: Kim Chandler McDonald is the co-founder and EVP of KimmiC, a company specializing in lateral thinking and international innovation implementation. A former writer/editor for national and international newspapers and magazines and host/producer of an award-winning radio/TV program, Kim is a sought after speaker, columnist and advisory board member. She currently sits on Griffith University's Enterprise Advisory Board, the Advisory Board of Frost and Sullivan's - Global Innovation and Leadership Community and is an Academy Fellow of the International Entrepreneurship Academy. Find her on Linkedin or Twitter.