How to Kill a Unicorn Book Summary - How to Kill a Unicorn Book explained in key points
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How to Kill a Unicorn summary

Mark Payne

How the World's Hottest Innovation Factory Builds Bold Ideas That Make It to Market

4.1 (19 ratings)
11 mins

Brief summary

'How to Kill a Unicorn' by Mark Payne is a guide on innovation strategy that encourages companies to embrace creative destruction to stay ahead in the market. It provides a step-by-step approach for businesses to identify and pursue new opportunities while safeguarding their core operations.

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    How to Kill a Unicorn
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    To make innovation happen, build a diverse team and allow them to debate.

    Fahrenheit 212 is a global innovation firm founded by the author. Even if you haven’t heard of it, you’ve probably encountered its work; it’s helped many of the biggest companies in the world – including Samsung, Coca-Cola, Nestlé and Toyota – develop innovative ideas, strategies and products.

    So what can Fahrenheit 212 teach you about generating innovation?

    First, team up with a diverse group of people. At Fahrenheit, they create dream teams with Money & Magic. That is, they combine money experts – commercial, financial and strategic whizzes – together with experts who know how to “magically” navigate consumer wants and needs.

    What makes this the winning combo? Well, consider an innovative idea or strategy that appeals to consumers but doesn’t bring in profit. Without a black bottom line, the idea probably won’t be sustainable in the long run.

    Let’s see how Fahrenheit 212 puts this advice into action.

    To help turn Samsung’s new translucent LCD screen into profitable technology, Fahrenheit brought together a team of analysts and financial experts (Money) with designers, writers, architects and film producers (Magic). Together, they came up with creative product solutions that were also financially and strategically viable.

    Next, in order to arrive at those great innovative ideas, forget brainstorming – try debating with your team instead.

    A 2003 study conducted at UC Berkeley showed that debate and criticism, rather than inhibiting the development of ideas, tend to stimulate it.

    In the experiment, researchers divided 265 students into groups and asked them to come up with a solution to a traffic-congestion problem. One group was asked to brainstorm without criticism, while the other group was told to debate, with all members being free to challenge each other’s ideas.

    After 20 minutes, the debate group had come up with far more creative ideas than the brainstorming group, showing the importance of constructive criticism and an array of viewpoints in the creative innovation process.

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    What is How to Kill a Unicorn about?

    How to Kill a Unicorn (2014) is about how to approach innovative projects in a way that will make the outcome truly great – a sort of road map for innovation, filled with practical examples encountered by the consulting company Fahrenheit 212.

    How to Kill a Unicorn Review

    How to Kill a Unicorn (2014) by Mark Payne is a book that explores the process of innovation and why conventional thinking stifles creativity. Here's what makes this book worth reading:

    • It challenges conventional wisdom with refreshing insights and unconventional strategies, encouraging readers to think outside the box.
    • The book offers real-world examples of successful innovators, giving readers actionable inspiration to apply their own innovative thinking.
    • With its engaging storytelling style and thought-provoking ideas, the book keeps readers hooked from start to finish, making it anything but boring.

    Best quote from How to Kill a Unicorn

    We work this way not because we like debate for debates sake, but because its more effective at generating a greater proliferation of ideas...

    —Mark Payne
    example alt text

    Who should read How to Kill a Unicorn?

    • Big and mid-sized companies that want to boost innovation
    • Entrepreneurs curious about innovative projects

    About the Author

    Mark Payne is the cofounder, president and Head of Idea Development at the successful innovation consulting company Fahrenheit 212, which has offices in both New York and London. His firm has been called the “Epicenter of Innovation” by Esquire and his innovation advice has been featured in Fortune, Businessweek and Wired.

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    How to Kill a Unicorn FAQs 

    What is the main message of How to Kill a Unicorn?

    The main message of How to Kill a Unicorn is about the importance of embracing failure and learning from it.

    How long does it take to read How to Kill a Unicorn?

    The reading time for How to Kill a Unicorn varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is How to Kill a Unicorn a good book? Is it worth reading?

    How to Kill a Unicorn is worth reading as it offers valuable insights on entrepreneurship, creativity, and overcoming challenges.

    Who is the author of How to Kill a Unicorn?

    The author of How to Kill a Unicorn is Mark Payne.

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