Influencers & Revolutionaries: A book review by Bob Morris

Influencers and Revolutionaries: How Innovative Trailblazers, Trends and Catalysts Are Transforming Business
Sean Pillot de Chenecey
KoganPage (February 2020)

How relevance, personalization, and sustainability are the keys to high-impact innovation

According to Sean Pillot de Chenecey, there is a “simple formula for enabling innovation, and then proving its results: Insight + Ideas + Impact.”

Each requires a separate process and special precautions but all three are interdependent. New insights are fragile and must be protected. With rare exception, many ideas must be generated in order to refine an insight, and any results offered to indicate its value must be verifiable.

Why is relevance so important? Peter Drucker: “There is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all.”

Why is personalization so important? Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Why is sustainability so important? Paul Hawken: “Sustainability, ensuring the future of life on Earth, is an infinite game, the endless expression of generosity on behalf of all.”

Hopefully de Chenecey does not resent my appropriation of these complementary perspectives to help establish a context — a frame-of-reference — for the abundance of information and insights that he provides. The scope and depth of his research are clearly indicated by his “References and further reading” section (pages 241-261) and readers will also appreciate the “Summary” section that concludes each of the ten chapters. There is an additional chapter, “The Influencers and Revolutionaries Manifesto,” that serves as an epilogue and call to actvion.

These are among the passages of greatest interest to me, also listed to suggest the scope of de Chenecey’s coverage:

o Retail (Pages 4-5, 49-51, 53-63, and 70-72)
o Mobility (6-7, 133-134, and 137-160)
o Work (7-8 and 183-207)
o Defining innovation (15-20)
o Building a culture of innovation of (20-23

o Agencies (27-47)
o Brand purpose (32-36 and 201-204)
o Extinction rebellion (37-39, 43-44, 46-47, and 129-130)
o False authenticity) (39-42)
o Luxury (56-63

o The Innovation of Things (63-68)
o Food and drink industry (73-84 and 106-107)
o Informed consumers (81-82 and 93-94)
o Health/Wellness (95-114)
o Cities (115-136)

o Empathy (122-123
o Autonomous vehicles (152-157)
o Entertainment (161-182)
o Insurance (209-212 and 224-231)
o Five key routes to innovation (237-240)

No brief commentary such as mine could possibly do full justice to the value of the material in this book. However, I hope I have at least indicated why I hold this book and its author in such high regard. Applying the “Insight + Ideas + Impact” formula to the given issues (problems, questions, concerns, opportunities, etc.) can certainly be helpful to the innovation process.

The world will never have enough Influencers and Revolutionaries, people who — as Sean Pillot de Chenecey points out — challenge established thinking, are aware of cultural signals, leverage organizational assets, and conduct research into tension points, prior to concept evaluation.

In this context, however, those who aspire to complete that process would be well-advised to keep an observation by Thomas Edison clearly in mind: “Vision without execution is hallucination.”


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