December 2020
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TD Magazine

Be Creative Every Day

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Eat, Sleep, Innovate: How to Make Creativity an Everyday Habit Inside Your Organization

By Scott D. Anthony, Paul Cobban, Natalie Painchaud, and Andy Parker
Harvard Business Review Press, 272 pp., $28


Making creativity a habit may seem like a paradox, but that is exactly the case the authors make in Eat, Sleep, Innovate. The timing of the book's release could not have been better. While we have all intuitively understood the need to innovate, COVID-19 has created a world where creativity is an essential pillar for thriving.

The authors define innovation as "something different that creates value." And what organization would not want to become more successful doing that? Following the authors' advice, all companies could become NO-DETs (normal organizations doing extraordinary things).

Rather than a dry, academic text riddled with research, this how-to guide is filled with real-world examples of organizations successfully engaged in innovation, including UNICEF, Pixar, Intuit, Amazon, Microsoft, P&G, Nordstrom, and the UK Joint Forces Command. The four authors combine their unique perspectives from their experiences to produce valuable tools, templates, and maps to guide readers in the journey to an innovative culture where creativity becomes a habit.


The book's most valuable sections are the case studies. Learning how other companies achieve innovative success enables readers to identify ideas to replicate that success. However, the goal is not to adopt other organizations' practices but rather to learn from those models to develop their own. It is about breaking free of past systems and processes that create inertia and change habits.

The authors suggest that readers "hack habits with BEANs (behavior enablers, artifacts, and nudges)." They offer questions to guide readers to create their own BEANs. Building on the acronym, they suggest using "BEANbassadors" to solicit feedback and refine BEANS, engaging in BEANstorming, and developing BEANboosters. Identifying the barriers to innovation is a critical part of the process. Innovation is often found at the intersection of similarities, and the authors note that we can benefit from understanding how to borrow solutions from similar challenges. There is no better time to create new habits and innovate our way forward than now.

About the Author

Pat Buhler, a professor of management at Goldey-Beacom College in Wilmington, Delaware, is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources and a SHRM Senior Certified Professional. Pat teaches in the graduate and undergraduate programs, specializing in management and human resource management. She has received the institution’s Excellence in Teaching Award twice and was named to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers twice. In addition, Pat was the 2005 recipient of Delaware’s Ron Shane Lifetime Achievement Award for Human Resources and the 2015 recipient of the Delaware Valley HR Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2011, she served as the director of the Delaware State Council for SHRM.  In addition, Pat has served for two years as an item writer for SHRM’s certification exams. She is the author of more than 125 articles and has published six books, including two SHRM-published books: Destination Innovation: HR’s Role in Charting the Course and Up, Down, and Sideways: High Impact Verbal Communication for HR Professionals (with Joel Worden). 

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