DorobekInsider: The books of IAC’s Executive Leadership Conference — books worth reading

This is a much belated post — you can thank the flu.

A few weeks ago, I got to moderate a panel at ACT/IAC’s Executive Leadership Conference 2009 on innovation. And we had a great group:

Turning Ideas into Value: The panel will discuss the process for generating ideas and how to select the best ones to maximize the benefits of innovation. Who do you look to for innovation? What are examples of creating the environment for innovative thinking? How to share ideas in nurturing an ecosystem that encourages innovation and creativity?


  • Moderator: Chris Dorobek, Co-Anchor, Federal News Radio
  • Sanjeev Bhagowalia, Chief Information Officer, Department of Interior
  • Tom Freebairn, Acting Director, Technologies, Office of Citizen Services, General Services Administration
  • Mike Nelson, Visiting Professor, Internet Studies, Georgetown University
  • Mike Seablom, Head, Software Integration and Visualization Office, Goddard Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

And one of the great things about conferences is people share good books — and there were a ton o’ books mentioned in this session. I promised that I would share the list. (I planned to do it earlier, but… the flu got in the way.)

If you heard books mentioned that I haven’t listed here, either send it along or post it here as a comment.

Of course, I mentioned a few books.

* Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges by Harvard Business School Prof. Andrew McAfee, which is slated to be released on Dec. 1 but seems like it is available now. Transparency notes: McAfee asked me to write a “blurb” for the book, so I got an early read. My blurb didn’t make the actual jacket of the book, but… he posted it. Regardless, it is a fascinating read — and it highlights the remarkable work done by the intelligence community’s Intellipedia suite of collaboration tools. Second transparency note: McAfee will be on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris on Dec. 1 — the official book launch day.

* If We Can Put a Man on the Moon: Getting Big Things Done in Government by William Eggers and John O’Leary — Again, I got a pre-read of this book and it is just delightful. And one of the issues Eggers and O’Leary deal with is innovation. And a programming note: Eggers and O’Leary will be on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris on Thursday, Nov. 19… LIVE

* The Pixar Touch by David A. Price — I hear what you are saying — what does a movie studio have to do with government? Well, there is a real connection. First off, the technology that creates those amazing movies is made possible by a grant from ARPA — now DARPA. And the Defense Department is still one of the largest users in the world of this technology. (Pixar, remember, started as a software company, not as a movie studio.) I used Pixar as an example of an organization that was literally built on innovation — innovation is built in. And Price does a wonderful job detailing that. Pixar has also been remarkably successful — all of their movies have more than exceeded the magic $100 million gross that marks a hit movie in Hollywood. That is pretty remarkable in and of itself.

* Payback: Reaping the Rewards of Innovation by James P. Andrew… This book was actually highlighted by federal Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra — and we featured it on the Federal News Radio Book Club. Hear our book club conversation with Chopra, Andrew, Federal News Radio’s Francis Rose and myself here.

* What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis… This book was also part of the Federal News Radio Book Club. Hear the meeting of the Federal News Radio Book Club here. The book, in the end, isn’t about Google. Rather, it is about innovation and being innovative. A lot of the book focuses on journalism, but…

Books mentioned by others:

* Closing the Innovation Gap: Reigniting the Spark of Creativity in a Global Economy by Judy Estrin mentioned by Nelson. We spoke to Estrin on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris soon after her book was released. Read more and hear our conversation here.

* Leading Geeks: How to Manage and Lead the People Who Deliver Technology by Paul Glen, David H. Maister, and the legendary Warren G. Bennis, mentioned by Nelson

Did you hear any good book titles? I’d love to hear them.

Meanwhile, there is a great social networking site for bookies — people who love to read, not people who make bets. It’s called You can book friend me here.