ALIEN Thinking

The Unconventional Path to Breakthrough Ideas


By Cyril Bouquet

By Jean-Louis Barsoux

By Michael Wade

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This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around March 16, 2021. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

How do people come up with truly original ideas? The answer is to think outside the box—way outside.
For the past decade, Cyril Bouquet, Jean-Louis Barsoux, and Michael Wade, professors of innovation and strategy at IMD Business School, have studied inventors, scientists, doctors, entrepreneurs, and artists. These people, or “aliens,” as the authors call them, are able to make leaps of creativity, and use five patterns of thinking that distinguish them from the rest of us.
These five patterns—Attention, Levitation, Imagination, Experimentation, and Navigation—lead to a fresh and flexible approach to problem-solving. Alien thinkers know how to free the imagination so it can detect hard-to-observe patterns. They practice deliberate ways to retreat from the world in order to see the big picture underlying a problem. And they approach ideas in systematic ways that reflect the constraints of reality.
Through surprising and compelling stories, the authors show how readers can use this method to develop out-of-this-world ideas. ALIEN Thinking can help any of us find innovative solutions to the most difficult problems.
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  • “The book is geared toward managers and professionals as well as anyone who wants strategies on how to summon original thinking and fast-track fresh ideas.”
    TD Magazine
  • "A sharp critique of the conventional wisdom around innovation—with thought-provoking advice for how to do it better."
    Jake Knaap, inventor of the Design Sprint and New York Times–bestselling author
  • "Apply ALIEN Thinking to go from early opportunity recognition to impactful innovation. I really enjoyed how this book offers compelling insights and powerful illustrations to enhance the innovation process."
    Alex Osterwalder, author of the two-million copy bestseller Business Model Generation
  • "“Stuck in innovation stagnation? Read this brilliant book, and you’ll break free from it."
    Rolf Dobelli, author of the million-copy bestseller The Art of Thinking Clearly
  • "ALIEN Thinking is an accessible approach to finding and implementing breakthrough ideas. The authors offer illuminating examples to introduce and illustrate the real-world efficacy of each of the major concepts. I recommend this book to anyone willing to do the hard work of generating and implementing breakthrough ideas."
    Bernard Roth, academic director of the Stanford and author of The Achievement Habit
  • "Compared to many innovation books, this one is unique in that it emphasizes the emotional side of innovation. Practicing innovators will find a sympathetic companion in this fascinating book."
    Keith Sawyer, author of Zig Zag and Group Genius
  • "In today’s fast-changing world, innovation is essential for success. The authors of ALIEN Thinking have drawn upon their extensive experience to provide a powerful new framework to dramatically improve the odds for innovative thinking and breakthroughs."
    Robert Rosenberg, retired CEO of Dunkin’ Donuts and author of Around the Corner to Around the World
  • "I wish I had read this book years ago. A very pragmatic and eye-opening framework to help make innovation a game-changing reality, whether you are in a small start-up or a big multi-national corporation."
    Chris Johnson, executive vice president of Nestlé, chief executive officer of Zone Asia, Oceania, and sub-Saharan Africa
  • "ALIEN Thinking offers a business-oriented, applicable framework to innovate. It is a must-read for corporate innovators and intrapreneurs, to create true value for their customers and organizations."
    Esther Seidl-Nussbaumer, head of corporate innovation, SIGVARIS
  • “A powerful formula for transforming businesses and shaking up industries.”
    Michael Watkins, author of The First 90 Days

On Sale
Mar 16, 2021
Page Count
304 pages

Cyril Bouquet

About the Author

Cyril Bouquet is a Professor of Innovation and Strategy at IMD, where he orchestrates all kinds of innovation journeys for companies that seek to create the future.

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Jean-Louis Barsoux

About the Author

Jean-Louis Barsoux is a Research Professor at IMD and has published extensively in Harvard Business Review and MIT Sloan Management Review. He is also the author of several books on management, including the award-winning Set-Up-To-Fail Syndrome: How Good Managers Cause Great People To Fail.

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