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Book:Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret

Today’s book is sponsored by the ever-growing Cross-Focused Reviews. Need some book publicity? Hit Shaun up and see what he can do.

I’ll start you with the video book trailer:

Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret by Larry Osborne is a book. There. That’s not much of an innovative label, but then again I have the fear of failure that Osborne references so very often in his text. That fear of not getting it right that hampers a person from doing anything or taking any risk.

Innovation's Dirty Little Secret by Larry OsborneThat is, I suppose, a spoiler for Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret, but it’s not a plot book, so I’m unconcerned. The real purpose of Osborne’s work here is to present techniques and ideas for how to get over that fear. With 172 pages, he has time enough to address the issue but not enough time to beat it to death. (Having just read two 400+ page books on leadership, I’ve seen beaten to death on the subject.)

My fundamental concern with Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret is that, with Osborne writing as a pastor, his book has turned out to be a little too much church for business world, and a little too much business for the church world. His ideas are solid in terms of the innovation and implementation of change, but his personal experience backing it mostly comes from religious work.

And throughout Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret he does not truly justify the changes made in church behaviors in Scripture. They are justified as being necessary innovations for the times, but not as being grounded in a faith that is two millennia old. This creates a tension for use of Osborne’s work in training/challenging church leaders: his paradigm is business driven, and the church should function from a different view.

From a business perspective, though, it is hard to define hard parallels between church work and the business world. It is one thing to define a vision for a church and get buy-in from donors and volunteers who trust you or see the eternal significance. It is quite different to define a business vision and get the same support from those who are uncertain they’ll get their money back or who will not reap the same benefits that you will as the boss.

In all, it feels like Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret tries to be a church/non-profit redevelopment book and be a business start-up guide and be a business survival guide. And it falls a little short on all counts for trying to hit three birds with one shot.

Is it a bad book? No. Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret is at its best when being considered by people of faith who are looking to start out on a new enterprise in life. There is encouragement to keep going after failure, suggestions for how to present your idea, and tips for working through what to do next.

The most helpful portion of Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret is Osborne’s guidelines for having an exit strategy. It’s been a challenge for everyone, from Cub Scout popcorn-sellers to the United States government, to have a clear cut way of ending involvement in a new idea. Sometimes it’s because the idea shows itself bad, and sometimes it’s just time to move on.

Either way, if you are a leader and are wanting to have a better plan for when things go wrong, Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret can be helpful. It’s good, but it’s not quite the only book you’ll ever need.

Admittedly, I was given a copy of this book, but obviously I’m not throwing my concerns away to keep getting more books. Check this site for links to other reviews for other opinions.


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