15 Quotes from Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret


Every Saturday morning, I review a book that I read recently. If you missed any, you can read past reviews here. This week’s book is Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret: Why Serial Innovators Succeed Where Others Fail (kindle version) by Larry Osborne.

This book was fantastic. Instead of a full blown review, here are 15 quotes that jumped out to me:

  1. What is the dirty little secret of innovation? It’s simply this: most innovations fail.
  2. The success of people is not found in their ability to avoid failure. It’s found in their ability to minimize the impact of failure.
  3. Innovation is birthed out of answering these two questions: What frustrates me most? What’s broken most?
  4. Organizational innovation is often ignited by our deepest personal frustrations.
  5. The kind of mission statement that keeps an organization focused and accelerates innovation doesn’t just happen.
  6. A mission statement needs to be ruthlessly honest. It should reflect your organization’s passionate pursuit, not merely your wishful thinking, your marketing slogans, or a spirit of political correctness.
  7. Many leaders confuse mission with marketing.
  8. A mission statement should be aimed at insiders. Its purpose is to tell those on the inside of the organization where the bull’s-eye lies.
  9. The purpose of a mission statement is to tell everyone on the inside what we’re aiming at. It’s supposed to let them know what’s most important.
  10. To impact the daily decisions of an organization, a mission statement must be easily remembered and repeated ad nauseam – and then repeated again.
  11. When your mission statement is an honest reflection of your passion, is widely known, and is broadly accepted, it will not only help you get where you want to go; it will accelerate innovation.
  12. God’s will has three components: a what, a when, and a how. Each is equally important. Two out of three won’t cut it. Miss out on any of the three and you’ll end up in the weeds.
  13. It’s not always the best idea that succeeds. It’s the combination of a great idea, proper timing, and excellent execution that brings success.
  14. You can’t lead if you can’t live with low-level frustration.
  15. The important question is not, “Does this fail to help us fulfill our mission?” The important question is, “Does this keep us from fulfilling our mission?”

Alignment & the Art of Saying “No”

Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea. And it comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” -Steve Jobs

Church Unique: How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture, & Create Movement

Church Unique was a great read. One of the things I have struggled with as a leader is getting past how I have seen lead pastors lead. In a modern world, churches were led top-down, the lead pastor came up with the vision, heard God speak and rallied the troops so to speak. In the world we live in now, this model doesn’t work. The problem is that there still needs to be leadership, accountability, etc. But how does that happen?

That is the questions this book tries to answer. In some ways it succeeded, in others, it failed. It is hard to get past what we have always known into a new world of understanding.

Here are a few things that jumped out:

  • Clarity makes…uniqueness undeniable, direction unquestionable, enthusiasm transferable, work meaningful, synergy possible, success definable, focus sustainable, leadership credible, and uncertainty approachable.
  • If your primary focus, or paradigm for effectiveness, is trying to enhance your limitations, you will end up worse off than when you started.
  • The assumption is that more information will produce clearer direction, but just the opposite is true…Too much information shreds the big picture into so many small pieces that the vision is hopelessly lost. More information equals less clarity.
  • Clarity is the preoccupation of the effective leader. If you do nothing else as a leader, be clear.
  • When it comes to clarity, new levels bring new devils. The higher the leader goes, the harder the leader must work to stay clear.
  • Imagine how much more we would get done for the kingdom if no one cared who got the credit.
  • Your church can’t be anything it wants to be, but it can be everything God wants it to be.
  • You can teach what you know, but you only reproduce what you are.
  • If you copy someone else’s vision, who will accomplish yours?