Zombies v Unicorns … How great companies create dynamic innovation, fearless leadership and passionate people

February 20, 2020

I first met Elvin Turner a decade ago in a funky, converted mill, just outside Guildford.

He was working on a project for my book publisher, Wiley, and exploring how they could improve. He clicked on the video camera and we started talking. I had lots to say. I’ve written six books published by Wiley (and the next is on its way), and it’s always been a struggle (although getting better).

We all know that the publishing industry needs a radical transformation. Innovation is urgent in everything from book formats to production, marketing and business models. Elvin was in two minds whether he dare show the video to his client. But he plucked up the courage and went back to start working with them on his project.

A decade later Elvin is a free spirit, a champion of better innovation, and has just published a great new book, with Wiley.

Make innovation more remarkable, inevitable and profitable

Be Less Zombie  brings together an impressive collection of ideas and insights into a pragmatic, actionable toolkit.

“Zombie” companies cling to what kills them: obsolete and frustrating ways of working that crush innovation and drain people’s motivation. His research goes beyond the business world – a guerrilla negotiator, a cage-fighter trainer, an X-Factor coach, a senior emergency room doctor, and a fashion designer.

Elvin’s Turn It On innovation framework gives leaders and managers tools, processes and pathways to make bolder and more profitable innovation an inevitability, not an anomaly.

The book is designed for managers who need more remarkable innovation with repeatable, scalable approaches, and explores how to:

  • De-risk bolder, more profitable innovation
  • Make innovation a predictable and measurable capability
  • Equip managers with essential tools and skills for leading innovation and transformation
  • Help teams find new capacity and energy to deliver today’s business whilst discovering tomorrow’s

In this video, Elvin looks at the connection between an organisation’s ability to discover its future (and ultimately survive), and the confidence that individual employees have in being vulnerable – taking the risk of proposing new ‘crazy’ ideas that could ultimately become important, future revenue streams .

Across many industries, very few companies do this well: CEOs make a continued plea for breakthrough ideas from their employees, yet most corporate cultures inadvertently deter individuals from doing so because of the low appetite for risk and perceived personal cost of trying something new and failing. Unfortunately that only leads to incremental innovation which is not enough to survive in today’s disruptive markets.

He says the book is for:

  • CEOs who need a better, more continuous pipeline of profitable innovation
  • Senior leaders who need more ideas, collaboration and energy across their divisions
  • Finance executives who want to resource innovation and yet measure it effectively
  • Strategy, change and transformation managers charged with delivering greater organisational agility and differentiation
  • HR executives who are trying to resource and equip leaders and employees with innovation capabilities
  • Organisational development managers tasked with shaping more agile and innovative ways of working
  • Team leaders who need to help their people find new capacity and energy to deliver bolder ideas
  • Individual employees who want their managers to stop blocking their best ideas

Free download of Be Less Zombie, Chapter 1