Book Review

  Title: In Search of Innovation
  Author: Debra M. Amidon
  Illustrations: Ron & Arye Dvir
  Publisher: Knowledge Economy, 2005
  ISBN: 88-89460-06-7



Dr. Abdul Samad (Sami) Kazi reviews In Search of Innovation: a Book for Children and Leadership Executives by Debra M. Amidon, the latest book by the author of The Innovation Superhighway, and Innovation Strategy for the Knowledge Economy: the Ken Awakening.


Debra M. Amidon is a well known evangelist and authority in the area of knowledge and innovation management. The locus of attention of the E100 Entovation network of global practitioners, it comes as no surprise that she once again inspires with her new book, “In search of innovation: a book for children and leadership executives”.

Amidon’s previous books provided a basis for a paradigm shift and set the agenda for global reform through knowledge and innovation management. This book brings us back to the grass roots of innovation. Through its extreme simplicity, bright colours, and vivid illustrations, it conveys a clear message that several 100s of pages may not be able to do. The message conveys how through collaboration, an idea can be nourished and nurtured to yield innovation that will help transform the way we see and do things in the future.

     In search of innovation is the story of a young girl who has an idea. She shares it with some of her friends. Some like it, others make fun of it. She then nurtures the idea by making it more clear and understandable through pictures and different colours. By holding on to her idea and sharing it with others, over time, she makes it their idea. From here the idea bears fruit as the light of opportunity starts to shine, and the landscape is set to co-create and innovate together.


An idea is like a seed that needs to be planted within the right soil, in the right environment, and properly nourished and nurtured to bear fruit. The simplicity and actuality of this analogy cannot be over-emphasised. There are numerous books available on the market today that provide methods, models, and tools, all backed up by case studies with promises of business success. Their underlying message on more than a few occasions is hidden and scattered across 10s if not 100s of pages. The beauty of in search of innovation lies in its simplicity: it provides answers to the what, why, how, when, where, and who of innovation. This message is presented in a form that is both understandable and appreciable by almost anyone who has ever held on to an idea or dream.

            The story of this book may not be unique. It is in fact, the story of most if not all of us, from the very young to the very old. A story well worth remembering, and

reliving again; a story that will help the younger generation to make their dreams and ideas reality; a story that may help bring harmony in diversity; a story that may help transform our society.


This book is a reminder of the core basics of innovation and will be an inspiration for many. It is not for the traditional technology geek, nor is it for the business process consultant or university professor. Who is it for then? In fact, it is for all: the technology geek; the business process consultant; the university professor; the young child; and for all who wish to innovate.

     In search of innovation is a must for the younger generation as it tells how to hold on to dreams and ideas. For the rest, it is a pleasant reminder that innovation starts from small ideas that when shared, become great ideas that help transform our lives.


This book was a pleasant reminder to me that knowledge and innovation management is not simply about business process improvement, the use of the latest techno-hype on the market, or the buzzword of the day. It is about sharing one’s ideas and dreams, unleashing one’s creative potential, exploring and discovering with others through dynamic interaction, redefining our creative landscape, and making things happen.

            I had the privilege of listening to the accompanying CD of in search of innovation, the music of which has been composed by Silvard. The mesmerising music helps unlocksthe boundaries by which our imaginative capacity is restricted, and sets the ideal mental context within which to understand and reflect upon the message of this book. Through the reflection that followed, many past ideas that I had left closeted came to the forefront, as did many new ones emerge. Now is the time and opportunity to share them with others

Senior research scientist at the Technical Research Centre of Finland, Dr. Kazi is the editor of the book, Knowledge Management in the Construction Industry: a Socio-Technical Perspective. His research focus is on knowledge management, virtual organisations, and construction IT.
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