Building the Future: Big Teaming for Audacious Innovation

By Amy Edmondson, Susan Salter Reynolds, Susan Reynolds
Building the Future

Machiavelli famously wrote, "There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."

That's what this book is about--innovation far more audacious than a new way to find a restaurant or a smart phone you can wear on your wrist. Amy C. Edmondson and Susan Salter Reynolds explore large-scale systemic innovation that calls for "big teaming" intense collaboration between professions and industries with completely different mindsets. This demands leadership combining an expansive vision with deliberative incremental action--not an easy balance.

To explore the kind of leadership required to build the future we need, Edmondson and Reynolds tell the story of Living PlanIT. This award-winning "smart city" start-up was launched with a breathtakingly ambitious goal: creating a showcase high-tech city from scratch to pilot its software--quite literally setting out to build the future. This meant a joint effort spanning a truly disparate group of software entrepreneurs, real estate developers, city government officials, architects, construction companies, and technology corporations. By taking a close look at the work, norms, and values in each of these professional domains, we gain new insight into why teaming across fields is so challenging. And we get to know Living PlanIT's leaders, following them and their partners through cycles of hope, exhaustion, disillusionment, pragmatism, and renewal. There are powerful lessons here for anyone, in any industry, seeking to drive audacious innovation.



    REVIEW QUOTES
"Building the Future provides a rare inside look at how a start-up company takes on the world and copes with numerous challenges along the way. Go it alone or partner? Keep the bold goal or go for small wins? Seize other opportunities in technology or stick with the smart-cities plan? Edmondson and Reynolds present thought-provoking lessons for those who want to dream big and need big teaming to get the work done." --Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, and bestselling author of Confidence and Move "This unique book by a brilliant researcher and a veteran journalist not only illuminates the problems of large-scale innovation for a sustainable future but, in the process, teaches us about industry cultures, leadership, and the massive problems of collaboration in an increasingly complex multicultural world." --Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus, MIT Sloan School of Management, and author of Helping, Humble Inquiry, and Humble Consulting "Building the Future just may be one of the most important innovation books ever written. It explores how to build and spread a bold vision of the future--how to turn an audacious innovation into reality by bringing together people with different skills and beliefs (even if they have ignored or despised each other in the past). And best of all, Edmondson and Reynolds offer a way for tenacious leaders and teams to use small actions to slowly build big, bold innovations--including better companies, industries, and cities." --Robert Sutton, Professor of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and coauthor of Scaling Up Excellence "This book provides an entirely new way of looking at how teaming can--and will--help us create a new world!" --Marshall Goldsmith, Thinkers50 #1 Leadership Thinker in the World and New York Times bestselling author of What Got You Here Won't Get You There, Mojo, and Triggers "Given rush hour and all the many other failures produced by urban evolution, one has to feel that planning and engineering better cities is at the very least an effort worth attempting. This book--exhaustively researched and written with unusual clarity--constitutes a map of the impediments and possibilities. It is also a fascinating case study of technological adventure." --Tracy Kidder, author of The Soul of a New Machine, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award

"City building may be the most important challenge of the 21st century, and it is a challenge that needs entrepreneurial brilliance as much as engineering. Edmondson and Reynolds provide an engaging glimpse at innovators--such as Living PlanIT and Quintain Construction--who are changing our urban world. This thoughtful book is full of managerial wisdom and urban insight. " --Edward Glaeser, Glimp Professor of Economics, Harvard University, and author of Triumph of the City "Building the Future is a remarkable book. It introduces readers to the cross-industry teaming that's needed to build the cities of tomorrow and offers an urgent reminder that technology alone can't solve global problems--cooperation, ingenuity, and empathy are needed to innovate on a grand stage. A must-read for anyone interested in the future of business or the future of the planet." --Douglas Stone, Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School, and coauthor of Difficult Conversations and Thanks for the Feedback "Every start-up wants to change the world and disrupt an industry or two along the way. But what happens when you don't? Edmondson and Reynolds glean important lessons from the story of one such company grappling with the biggest challenge of our time: building more sustainable cities. Their inside account of setbacks and brushes with failure has more to teach us than any just-so stories of success." --Greg Lindsay, coauthor of Aerotropolis and Senior Fellow, New Cities Foundation "What we witness in this thoughtful and compelling study is one of the heroic battles that are being enacted across the globe as visionary, fleet-footed technology start-ups collide with big business and the politics of government. As the urbanization of the planet gathers pace and governments grapple with the fateful consequences, can technology support a better future for our cities? Building the Future follows a small start-up business that believes it can and examines the leadership demands of ambition on this scale." --Andrew Comer, Partner and Director of the Cities Group, BuroHappold Engineering "Get ready. What you are about to read is unlike anything you've read before on innovation, teams, the built environment, or even leadership. Edmondson and Reynolds--a world-class academic and journalist--have joined forces to explore, document, and understand how complex innovation actually unfolds and the leadership required for its success. Based on multiyear observations of an entrepreneurial effort to build a smart, green city, Building the Future brings the challenges of the future into the present so we can see what it will take to create a world that works for all of us." --Diana McLain Smith, author of The Elephant in the Room

Building the Future provides a rare inside look at how a start-up company takes on the world and copes with numerous challenges along the way. Go it alone or partner? Keep the bold goal or go for small wins? Seize other opportunities in technology or stick with the smart-cities plan? Edmondson and Reynolds present thought-provoking lessons for those who want to dream big and need big teaming to get the work done. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School, and bestselling author of Confidence and Move This unique book by a brilliant researcher and a veteran journalist not only illuminates the problems of large-scale innovation for a sustainable future but, in the process, teaches us about industry cultures, leadership, and the massive problems of collaboration in an increasingly complex multicultural world. Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus, MIT Sloan School of Management, and author of Helping, Humble Inquiry, and Humble Consulting Building the Future just may be one of the most important innovation books ever written. It explores how to build and spread a bold vision of the future how to turn an audacious innovation into reality by bringing together people with different skills and beliefs (even if they have ignored or despised each other in the past). And best of all, Edmondson and Reynolds offer a way for tenacious leaders and teams to use small actions to slowly build big, bold innovations including better companies, industries, and cities. Robert Sutton, Professor of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and coauthor of Scaling Up Excellence This book provides an entirely new way of looking at how teaming can and will help us create a new world! Marshall Goldsmith, Thinkers50 #1 Leadership Thinker in the World and New York Times bestselling author of What Got You Here Won't Get You There, Mojo, and Triggers Given rush hour and all the many other failures produced by urban evolution, one has to feel that planning and engineering better cities is at the very least an effort worth attempting. This book exhaustively researched and written with unusual clarity constitutes a map of the impediments and possibilities. It is also a fascinating case study of technological adventure. Tracy Kidder, author of The Soul of a New Machine, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award City building may be the most important challenge of the 21st century, and it is a challenge that needs entrepreneurial brilliance as much as engineering. Edmondson and Reynolds provide an engaging glimpse at innovators such as Living PlanIT and Quintain Construction who are changing our urban world. This thoughtful book is full of managerial wisdom and urban insight. Edward Glaeser, Glimp Professor of Economics, Harvard University, and author of Triumph of the City Building the Future is a remarkable book. It introduces readers to the cross-industry teaming that's needed to build the cities of tomorrow and offers an urgent reminder that technology alone can't solve global problems cooperation, ingenuity, and empathy are needed to innovate on a grand stage. A must-read for anyone interested in the future of business or the future of the planet. Douglas Stone, Lecturer on Law, Harvard Law School, and coauthor of Difficult Conversations and Thanks for the Feedback Every start-up wants to change the world and disrupt an industry or two along the way. But what happens when you don't? Edmondson and Reynolds glean important lessons from the story of one such company grappling with the biggest challenge of our time: building more sustainable cities. Their inside account of setbacks and brushes with failure has more to teach us than any just-so stories of success. Greg Lindsay, coauthor of Aerotropolis and Senior Fellow, New Cities Foundation What we witness in this thoughtful and compelling study is one of the heroic battles that are being enacted across the globe as visionary, fleet-footed technology start-ups collide with big business and the politics of government. As the urbanization of the planet gathers pace and governments grapple with the fateful consequences, can technology support a better future for our cities? Building the Future follows a small start-up business that believes it can and examines the leadership demands of ambition on this scale. Andrew Comer, Partner and Director of the Cities Group, BuroHappold Engineering Get ready. What you are about to read is unlike anything you've read before on innovation, teams, the built environment, or even leadership. Edmondson and Reynolds a world-class academic and journalist have joined forces to explore, document, and understand how complex innovation actually unfolds and the leadership required for its success. Based on multiyear observations of an entrepreneurial effort to build a smart, green city, Building the Future brings the challenges of the future into the present so we can see what it will take to create a world that works for all of us. Diana McLain Smith, author of The Elephant in the Room

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About the Hardcover

Publisher Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Publish date 04/18/2016
Pages 240
ISBN-13 9781626564190
ISBN-10 1626564191
Language English

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