Chapter 3, “It’s All Between the Ears: How to Recognize a Serial Innovator” (Loc. 215-305)
Osborne suggests that a “fledgling innovator” can be recognized (Loc. 219). Leadership teams have a tendency to ignore innovative ideas. They typically try to guard past successes. Yet Osborne says it is necessary to “think about creating the future” (Loc. 232). He applies this to churches, emphasizing a need to be innovative or to die out (Loc. 240). Osborne identifies three traits of innovative people as special insight, courage, and flexibility (Loc. 246). Often innovators have a good sense of what will happen in the future given particular actions. They often notice both intended and unintended consequences, often subconsciously (Loc. 257). The special courage is not wild risk taking. It is a confidence that their mental model is sound (Loc. 264). Innovators are also generally flexible enough to make corrections midcourse based on the emerging reality Loc. 278). Osborne considers these abilities to be innate. Not everyone has them and they cannot be taught (Loc. 287). To succeed, then, he recommends learning the courage to identify and release innovators. The protection, which he will move to in the next chapter, is not guarding the past but having a strategy to exit from situations which will lead to failure.