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A visit with Alex Hiam author of Business Innovation For Dummies

POSTED BY Babs Chandrasoma ON September 27, 2010

1. Tell us what inspired you to write this book.
I bring creativity to my work as an author, artist, and designer of instructional materials for business and government leaders. It’s what I’m best at. However, I’d never done a major trade book on the topic, so I approached Wiley with the idea of a book on innovation and creativity for their For Dummies series, and they agreed there was a growing need. I was very excited! Being excited about a project is, I think, the most important part of seeing a tough project all the way to successful completion.

2. As an author, do you participate in social media, such as Twitter, Facebook, etc.? Why or why not? If so, what benefits have you experienced?
I use facebook to connect with friends and professional contacts but I don’t tweet as I’m already quite busy writing most days. Twitter hasn’t found a wedge of my creative time. Yet. I blog a fair amount as I feel that those readers are more likely to also be book readers.

3. Is your book shaped by your personal experiences, and if so, how?
Oh yes, very much so. I have a lot of experience working with people to solve problems creatively, come up with new products and brands, and so forth, and although I did a lot of research for the book, I used my own practical experiences as a filter to make sure I only included methods that I found really worked in the real world.

4. What is your favorite “guilty pleasure” book or author?
Hah! There aren’t a lot of pleasures in writing, it’s a fairly tough job I think. However, I do permit myself to enjoy opening the first copy of a new book when it comes from the publisher. I clear my conference table, put my feet up, and open it slowly. And I don’t work on another book that day. You have to stop every now and then to notice what you’ve accomplished or you’ll burn out.

5. If you could give a piece of advice to a debut author, what would it be?
First, write a genuine book that only you can write. Some people will like it, others will criticize it, but you’ll know it’s your unique contribution and that makes the whole effort seem valid and real.
Second, learn to detach from what you’ve written and be willing to rewrite – even throwing out drafts until everything is as well written as it can be. Remember that the first paragraph or chapter you write is almost always a throw away.

6. What do you hope to share with your readers through their experience of reading your book?
I want them to feel inspired and confident in their ability to innovate. I hope they get the message that innovation isn’t just for the rare genius or crazy inventor, but can and should be part of everyone’s fulfilling career. I want readers to feel that they can, with my help, find a way to solve any creative challenge or accomplish their creative goal. Techniques are there for them to use. And having the right technique for the job is really all it takes. It’s not about talent. It’s about using the right techniques.

7. It’s 5pm and you’re finished for the day. Where do you go? What do you do to unwind?
I pick up my 8-month-old daughter, go home and pop her in the jog stroller for a long excursion that leaves both of us relaxed and refreshed.

About Alex Hiam:
Author, artist, consultant, creator, innovator. Alex Hiam’s career integrates business and creativity in unusual ways. His work has included business strategy, high-tech entrepreneurship, new product development, branding, naming, negotiating, and consulting – often in the role of innovator of new ideas and approaches.

Hiam has written extensively on business topics ranging from human resources, conflict management and leadership, to sales and marketing. He is an award-winning author of more than 20 books, including: Vest Pocket CEO (Prentice Hall, 1990), The Wizard’s Guide to Taming the Conflict Dragon (Facts On Demand Press, 2003), and The Manager’s Pocket Guide to Creativity (HRD Press, 1998).

His newest work, Business Innovation For Dummies (June 2010, Wiley), is a how-to guide that offers practical techniques for stimulating imagination and developing ideas into successful innovations. Hiam’s other …For Dummies® books cover creative approaches to marketing. He is the author of Marketing For Dummies and The Marketing Kit For Dummies.

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Authors we have a crush on.

POSTED BY doug ON September 21, 2010
Authors we have a crush on.

Ok, so really this post should be called: “Authors TOLLY has a crush on.” I apologize in advance for dragging my colleagues into this self-revealing, tragically adolescent blog post. I promise it has a point. Ever notice how there are some authors who, whenever they open their mouths, spout something impossibly beautiful?  Oh, you know […]

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15th Annual Texas Book Festival: Schedule announced

POSTED BY marika ON September 15, 2010
15th Annual Texas Book Festival: Schedule announced

As much as we love live music here in Austin, we also have a heart for books — and we celebrate them both in grand style next month. This year, festival-goers can walk from Austin City Limits one weekend (October 8-10) to the Capitol grounds the next, for Texas Book Festival happening October 16-17. Yes, […]

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Book bloggers: We heart you.

POSTED BY marika ON September 13, 2010
Book bloggers: We heart you.

It’s September 13th: Have you hugged a book blogger today? I was reminded by a blogger morning that this week is in fact, Book Blogger Appreciation Week. As we kickoff the virtual book tour (blog tour) for Nancy Taylor Rosenberg’s new legal thriller My Lost Daughter (A Forge hardcover), we find it a fitting time […]

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Web Sightings: Alex Hiam talks to Inc.

POSTED BY doug ON September 7, 2010
Web Sightings: Alex Hiam talks to Inc.

Steven Slater, Jet Blue’s most famous ex-employee, took America’s workforce by storm a few weeks ago when he quit his job in the most memorable way. His story became quite the media sensation, elevating him to hero status among the working class. A story this popular gave publicists the opportunity to offer commentary from their […]

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