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Book Review: Innovation the NASA Way: Harnessing the Power of Your Organization for Breakthrough Success

Innovation the NASA Way: Harnessing the Power of Your Organization for Breakthrough Success by Rod Pyle; McGraw Hill, New York, New York; $30.00 (hard cover); 2014.

Author Rod Pyle has taken an up-close look at NASA’s on-going ability to innovate, be it during the Apollo program, flying the Voyager spacecraft, building the International Space Station, and that nail biting flair of creativity as evidenced by landing the Curiosity rover that’s now wheeling across Mars.

This is a unique and absorbing book, one that provides learn by doing messages for consideration in the businesses and workplace.

Pyle notes that the NASA of today is home to individuals that conceptualize grand new programs with exciting and unique goals, people that “define outside-the-box thinking.” He adds: “Despite the challenges of low budgets and risk aversion, thoughtful innovation does ascend through the system.”

Innovation the NASA Way, in a sense, is both historical narrative and a practical user’s guide to help you meld tenacity with management skills, as well as stir in a generous helping of creativity – all qualities that can help boost business success.

Pyle’s key message is that, while space exploration may be NASA’s mission, the myriad of innovative leadership practices the space agency has honed over the decades are founded on solid, down-to-earth methods anyone can use, anywhere.

I particularly enjoyed the chapter on NewSpace: Capitalism Shining Bright. “There is room for countless newcomers,” Pyle explains, matched up with a “profound role for government support.”

The book carries a foreword by Lori Garver, former NASA Deputy Administrator who notes: “My belief is that NASA’s primary value to society is as an engine of innovation. Reading this book is an affirmation of that belief.”

Kudos to Pyle for the book’s well-documented account of NASA as it continues to push the throttle to full power on imagination and innovation.

For more information on this book, go to:

By Leonard David


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