REVIEW: Stephen Wunker/Jennifer Luo Law/ Hari Nair — The Innovative Leader (BOOK)

Colin Jordan
3 min readMar 25, 2024

Stephen Wunker, Jennifer Luo Law, and Hari Nair’s new book is The Innovative Leader: Step-by-Step Lessons from Top Innovators for You and Your Organization. Like the titling of an MLA paper, the title essentially is concurrently something of a thesis statement to the entirety of the piece. That kind of conciseness is reflected throughout the read, but as much reverence as the left-brain aspects of Innovative Leader possess, the right-brain parts of the read are also well-developed, multi-dimensional, and emotionally engaging to a fault.

Wunker, Law, and Nair work concurrently as narrative storytellers, and as communicatory experts on sometimes surprisingly dense, complex subject matter — particularly in an era where the workplace as we know it is changing into a remote, and digital framework. “We often think of innovation as something visionaries draw out of thin air, like manna from heaven. That’s a myth. Often, and especially in contemporary times, the real story of innovation doesn’t involve lone geniuses and flashes of inspiration, but teams, organizations, and leaders who cultivate systems and cultures where new ideas can sprout and flourish,” Wunker, Law, and Nair write. “Here’s an innovation story that’s closer to reality: It’s a story of loss, grit, and renewal. It’s about a wildly successful company that went off course.

It’s also about a never-too-late approach to innovation that enabled a floundering business to launch a second golden age…Many organizations are founded on some kind of innovation — a new product, a cheaper alternative, a better customer experience, a faster way to get something done. But as the years pass, it can be challenging to come up with the next blockbuster. That’s when leadership is essential. How do you jumpstart innovation in a business that feels stuck? And once you’ve sparked the fire, how do you fan the flames to keep it going?”

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Innovative-Leader-Step-Step-Organization/dp/1636983081

By making everything so bell-clear and concise, Wunker, Law, and Nair are able to make what could be an intellectually exclusive read accessible. Making these concepts palatable for a wide audience is a surprisingly generous move in these times. Particularly given the fact the world today thrives on that kind of exclusive competition. People seem more inclined due to the digitization of competition, promotion, and success methodology to keep trade secrets close to the vest. But Wunker, Law, and Nair are old-school. They write like folks in the noughties — in a tonality that is open, accessible, and willful in trying to successfully educate the reader in the core topicality. True to form, Wunker, Law, and Nair write: “This book is not just for people at Global 1000 companies with ‘innovation’ in their titles. It is for leaders of any enterprise or business unit, for-profit or non-profit, who wish to transform their organization into a consistent source of innovation.”

They also state, “Yes, you’ll read about Google, but you’ll also learn about an online university, a jeans company, and a dry cleaner. That is because any organization can be innovative. With the right set of skills and guidance, anyone can drive change, and the journey to do so is surprisingly similar regardless of the size or type of organization. This book is an action guide to that innovation journey, filled with the how-to mechanisms that you’ll need to change hearts, minds, and habits.”

Colin Jordan

--

--

Colin Jordan

Graduate: McNeese State University, Avid Beekeeper, Deep Sea Diver & Fisherman, Horrible Golfer