Our published perspectives

We have shared our expertise through our nine published books on innovation and leadership.

Your New Approach to Risk-Free Innovation

In a constantly changing world, you need a timeless approach to successfully innovate.

And that approach requires a balance of boldness and caution.

Risk-Free Innovation shows you how to strike that balance.

Want to know the 10 secrets to innovation success?

RFI Uses Augmented Reality

The 10 Innovation Risk-Reducers

  1. Define Innovation Your Way
  2. Think Strategically, Then Tactically
  3. Say, “I Do”
  4. Create a Balanced Portfolio
  5. Rely on Problems, Not Ideas
  6. Build Failure Into the Financials
  7. Form 3-D Teams
  8. Sustain an Innovation Culture
  9. Measure Innovations As You Go
  10. Cultivate Your Innovation Network

Meet the Team Behind the Book

In a constantly changing world, you need a timeless approach to successfully innovate.

And that approach requires a balance of boldness and caution.

Risk-Free Innovation shows you how to strike that balance.

Books on Leadership

Rising Together

The Story of Chicago’s Innovation Ecosystem

By: Thomas D. Kuczmarski, Jake Sherman, Luke Tanen, and Paul Kitti___ ___________________

About This Book

What is an innovation ecosystem? It is a blueprint for the city of the future. An environment that not only supports innovation, but makes it inevitable. Over the last twenty years, Chicago has seen a revolutionary change in business culture and success, largely in part to the formation of an ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship. The city has become a top-ten global innovation hub, and leads the country in diversity of industry and foreign direct investment.

Rising Together: The Story of Chicago’s Innovation Ecosystem shares the story of the people, organizations, and culture that led to this regional growth, as told through the lens of those who lived it.

Combining insights from over thirty industry leaders and founders playing outsized roles in its development, the authors weave together a narrative of the formation, growth, and potential future of the Chicago innovation ecosystem.

This book is a must-read for anyone in search of ways to build or grow a community fueled by collaboration, growth, and innovation. Learn firsthand:

— Which shared values can inspire an entire city to innovate: The C.H.I.C.A.G.O. Way

— How collaboration across industry and sector breeds innovation

— Why individuals play a critical role in leading and inspiring a region-wide movement

The lessons learned from understanding ways the ecosystem formed, collaborates and thrives serve as principles for how any innovator or entrepreneur can develop a culture and mindset of innovation for their organization, institution or region.

Lifting People Up

The Power of Recognition

By: Susan Smith Kuczmarski, Thomas D. Kuczmarski ___________________________________________________________ _f

About This Book

People are the heart and soul of every organization. They make the place. By tapping into the power of praise and recognition, every leader can learn to lift people up. Discover how to get the most out of people and give them the most in return–a process the authors call peopleship.
Written with empathy and energy, the game-changing ideas and tips found here will motivate you to listen carefully, trust respectfully, and praise authentically starting now!
Lifting People Up is a must read for any leader searching for techniques to cultivate and motivate people, a team’s most valuable asset. Innovation consultants and authors Dr. Susan Smith Kuczmarski and Thomas D. Kuczmarski share the secrets of how to become a people leader. You will learn how to:
—Activate six leadership tools–listen, include, free, trust, use rewards, and praise
—Help people unleash their inner leader
—Create a caring, high-performing culture, and just as importantly, engage and encourage co-workers in this quest.
The leadership methodology is practical and easy to implement. The authors weave together dozens of anecdotes that surfaced in their field research, with stories that capture the spirit and theme of lifting up others. You will discover ways to:
—Build strong and effective relationships and teams within an organization
—Foster a culture of innovation and shared leadership
—Create a small start-up mindset within a large organization
—Spread leaders throughout the organization, not group them at the top
—Pay people on performance, not tenure nor title
—Nurture self-discovery, collaboration and recognition.

Apples are Square

Thinking Differently About Leadership

By: Susan Smith Kuczmarski, Thomas D. Kuczmarski ______________________

About This Book

Featuring a foreword by Deepak Chopra and interviews with dozens of leadership pioneers, this book provides a seven-step prescription for creating a compassionately competitive work culture. This groundbreaking strategy shows how collaborators, not controllers, dare to create success by reshaping the workplace in unexpected ways, with a focus on topics such as humility, compassion, inclusiveness, and values-based decisiveness. The interviewees include Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist; Mary Ellen Weber, former NASA astronaut; and Chris Zorich, former NFL star.

Values-Based Leadership

Rebuilding Employee Commitment, Performance, and Productivity

By: Susan Smith Kuczmarski, Thomas D. Kuczmarski

About This Book

Mergers and downsizing of the last decade mean that employment security has gone by the wayside, leaving workers feeling betrayed, confused, and apathetic about their jobs. As a result, many American organizations have lost the spirit and loyalty of their workforce as well as their competitive edge. This book offers a powerful vision to reinvigorate and restore the heart and soul of organizations. It demonstrates how to replace the feeling of disillusionment, isolation, and hopelessness, and reenergize employees with a renewed sense of belonging, commitment and connection to their organizations. This guide enables all organizations to reinvigorate their staff and restore security, community, and purpose.

Books on Innovation

Managing New Products

Using the MAP system to accelerate growth

By: Thomas D. Kuczmarski ______________________

About This Book

The right new products program can produce exponential growth..if all the pieces are in place. And that’s what this all-new edition of Tom Kuczmarski’s landmark book does. It broadens and deepens the message of previous editions with the introduction of a new approach whose greatest strengths are its simplicity, effectiveness, and proven results.

Called the MAP System, it provides a detailed guide to the secrets of developing a consistent stream of winners–sometimes even the kind of breakthrough product innovation that creates an entire new business unit or industry. It outlines the disciplined approach to creativity and newness that begins by determining customers’ needs and wants and by developing the internal culture that encourages the creative decision-making needed to make real innovation happen.

The MAP is a way of organizing for new product innovation by looking differently at the skills and tools that are already in every organization–but too often under-used or not used at all.

Key elements include:

M – for Measure, Manage, and Motivate
A – for Attitude, specifically for developing and Attitude or Culture of Intelligent Risk-Taking
P – for Plan, Process, and People

Arming yourself with the best market information, developing a risk-embracing culture, and organizing around a plan that reflects both: these are the essential elements of new product success.

In this all-new edition, the author shows how to marshal a company’s assets for greater growth and profitability. From conducting diagnostic audits to structuring new product blueprints and strategies through successful product launches to measuring and motivating team performance, this book will give you the tools for managing new product risk more creatively, improving your new product hit rates, and managing your programs more effectively.

Innovating the Corporation

Creating Value for Customers and Shareholders

By: Thomas D. Kuczmarski, Arthur Middlebrooks, Jeffrey Swaddling

About This Book

Numerous barriers, problems, and unresolved issues often prevent innovation from taking hold within an organization. Companies haven’t discovered how to measure innovation, make it repeatable, or systematize it. Until now. The program outlined in Innovating the Corporation guarantees accelerated innovation within any corporation, within any industry. Intended as a dynamic, hands-on guide, this book offers a comprehensive look at strategic planning, understanding and cultivating an innovation vision, and building an innovation team. Includes detailed, step-by-step information on how to measure the success of an innovation plan.


Leadership Strategies for the Competetive Edge

By: Thomas D. Kuczmarski ______________________

About This Book
Give your students the edge in the marketplace–the ability to understand and manage the process of innovation and new product development, the force driving today’s economy. This book introduces a strategic, results-oriented program that helps students understand how to develop and foster an innovation mindset among everyone in an organization. It discusses how to overcome the aversion to risk that typically impedes the innovation process, along with techniques on how to link innovation to corporate strategies.


Innovating...Chicago Style

How Local Innovators are Building the National Economy

By: Thomas D. Kuczmarski, Dan Miller, Luke Tanen

About This Book

More timely than ever, this volume features interviews with 80 of the most successful innovators of the past decade from the Chicago region, showing how the key to unlocking economic growth and recovery is through innovation. Each example highlights the consumer need being met, pinpoints the uniqueness of the innovation, covers the fascinating background story, reveals the extent of the impact on society, and takes a glimpse into what is in store for the future. Many of the innovators featured in this book are winners of the Chicago Innovation Awards, a yearly celebration of the most innovative products and services in the Chicago region.