Stephen Shapiro Reveals “Survival of the Adaptable” in New Book, “Best Practices Are Stupid”

Seldom will someone turn a stamped-and-approved principle on its head and escape mockery. Stephen Shapiro has done just that in his latest book, Best Practices Are Stupid.

In the section of the book titled “Not Survival of the Fittest – Survival of the Adaptable”, Shapiro highlights the story of two hikers in the mountains of Canada. They run into a bear, and one of the hikers swiftly trades his boots for sprinting shoes. His companion says, “What are you doing? You can’t outrun a grizzly!”

And the hiker lacing up his running shoes responds: “I know, but I only need to outrun you, my friend!”

It’s survival of the fittest. Staying one step ahead so as not to be eaten alive.

“But innovation isn’t about one-time change, like running from the grizzly,” says Shapiro, innovation leader and author of Best Practices Are Stupid ( ). “It’s about continuous change. In other words, adaptability.”

As his story of the hikers progresses, we find that the first hiker bolts, while the second hiker simply grins. He knows that bears have poor eyesight and will only chase prey that runs. The first hiker gets eaten.

The take-away from the story: In order NOT to be eaten, Shapiro breaks down the three levels of innovation:

* Innovation as an Event
* Innovation as a Capability
* Innovation as a System

Shapiro ( ) goes on to say that many organizations want to get innovative and move fast-but usually end up running in the wrong direction, like toward a bear. He says it’s much better to take deliberate action by understanding the marketplace and harnessing the organization’s energies with a focus on what’s most important.

“It’s not the smartest organization that will survive, or the company with the most money,” says Shapiro (sign up for his monthly Free Innovation Tips at ). “It’s the organization that adapts and evolves to address ever-changing market conditions.”

About Stephen Shapiro:
Stephen Shapiro is one of the foremost authorities on innovation and collaboration, and has personally touched hundreds of thousands of lives in over 40 countries. While Stephen’s insights apply to virtually any organization, big or small, he has contributed to shifting the innovation culture for such Fortune 500 organization as Staples, GE, BP, Johnson & Johnson, Fidelity Investments, Pearson Education, Nestle, and Bristol-Myers Squibb. As the founder and creator of a 20,000 person internal innovation practice within Accenture, and advisor to hundreds of organizations worldwide, Stephen possesses a rare and extensive arsenal of tools, allowing him to arm any organization with the knowledge they need to shift their most threatening challenges.

Stephen can be reached at 617-379-1177 or online at

Press Contact:
Stephen Shapiro
24/7 Innovation
2001 Marina Drive
Suite 807
Quincy, MA

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