While this book ends with the description of the Storyteller persona it kind of fools you. From the very first page Tom Kelley doesn’t describe factual innovation personas but he takes you on a journey through the IDEO culture. The culture that has -rightfully- earned the firm it’s leading position in the world of innovation.
Writing a book is always a time consuming task but I don’t think Tom had a hard time writing this one. All he needed to do was to write down whats already there in the IDEO offices. Sometimes explicitly identifying and describing the things you encounter everyday makes a huge impact. You suddenly become aware of the things you maybe took for granted.
Like Tom rightfully states, IDEO creates (and populizes) a new vocabulary (eg. design-think and t-shaped people). Some of the terms described in the book are just emerging and still have to reach a broader audience (eg. grassroots and customer-journeys). Published in 2005, this book is over 3 years old. Makes you wonder what the latest vocabulary at IDEO is right now, it should give you an insight what will emerge in a few years.
Tom engulfs you with colorful tales to exemplify the personas, tapping from his long experience in the front lines of innovation. Although some of the story are far fetched for a specific persona you take this for granted. In the end you don’t remember the 10 personas, you remember the stories that made you think.
Reading this book felt much like reading last weeks horoscope. You tend to look for clues on how you can identify yourself with the story. If you bought this book in the first place you’ll probably be able to identify with at least half of the peronas in some way. Instead of looking at yourself while reading the book it’s much more fun to look at people in your surrounding and try to identify their persona(s).
Anyone who’s running a company has the desire to innovate should read this book. Besides that this book should be under the pillow of any Human Resource manager. A new workforce is emerging that will be hard to judge by their educational skill-set. You’ll need an upgraded toolbox to asses their skills and the 10 faces of innovation is a great start.