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Table of Contents

Foreword by Marshall Goldsmith
Chapter 1: Business Breakthroughs Deliver Surprise
Chapter 2: The Power of Surprise
Chapter 3: Leapfrogging to Breakthroughs
Chapter 4: Listen: Start with Yourself, Not the Market
Chapter 5: Explore: Go Outside to Stretch the Inside
Chapter 6: Act: Take Small Simple Steps, Again and Again and Again
Chapter 7: Persist: Take the Surprise Out of Failure
Chapter 8: Seize: Make the Journey Part of the (Surprising) Destination
Chapter 9: Bring It Home

About the Author

Soren Kaplan is managing principal at InnovationPoint, where he works with organizations including Disney, Visa, Colgate-Palmolive, Kimberly-Clark, Medtronic, Cisco, Philips, and numerous other global firms. He previously led the internal strategy and innovation group at Hewlett-Packard during the roaring 1990s in Silicon Valley and was a cofounder of iCohere, one of the first web collaboration platforms for online learning and communities of practice. He is an adjunct professor within the Imagineering Academy at NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. He resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, two daughters, and hypoallergenic cat.


"Leapfrogging challenges its readers to break out of conventional thinking by employing a few simple notions: know who you are, stay true to your purpose, and enjoy the journey along the way. By showcasing examples of challenging conventional thinking, embracing surprise, and welcoming failure as a learning exercise, Kaplan invites readers to learn from the stories of others. Leapfrogging shows that leaders who look inward to challenge the status quo will be on track to truly change the game."
--Sarah Robb O'Hagan, President, Gatorade

"Breakthroughs in business don't follow set formulas. We must continually explore options, test, and modify our assumptions based on results and feedback. Then, we can adapt to what we experience and learn. Leapfrogging delivers new principles and tools that readers can apply to their business, whether they're just starting out or leading an established organization. It is the new guide for entrepreneurs and leaders in today's environment."
--Glenn Allen, cofounder, OpenTable

"We as business leaders are always talking about, but rarely find, the key to lasting breakthroughs in the organizations we lead. We push and persist and still get incremental results. Leapfrogging is an extremely useful and insightful handbook for managers on how to finally break the cycle of incremental innovation."
--Dr. Ric Roi, Senior Vice President, Global Center of Excellence; Head, Consulting Practice Leader, Asia Pacific Right Management/Manpower Group

"Superbly crafted, powerful in its simplicity, offering smart, actionable learning... Finally, a simple, holistic model that allows for breakthrough thinking and living."
--Mary Beth Robles, Vice President, Innovation Capabilities and Knowledge Systems, Colgate-Palmolive

"Creating breakthroughs requires new approaches to how we engage in learning as leaders ourselves and as organizations. Leapfrogging reveals strategies for engaging people in the type of experiential learning that challenges assumptions and leads to breakthroughs."
--Anne Blouin, CAE, Chief Learning Officer, ASAE: The Center for Association Leadership

"Soren Kaplan's book is a powerful and practical read on an aspect of breakthrough thinking that many of us have been missing--even though it's always been there right in front of us. Through the use of compelling stories, he brings to the foreground principles and practices that cause the reader to see the world of opportunities with a new lens. His integration of what it takes to innovate, both organizationally and personally, is exceedingly pragmatic. And his use of questions to help readers reveal their own insights and wisdom makes this a must-read for all those wanting to take their success to the next level."
--Teresa Roche, Vice President and Chief Learning Officer, Agilent Technologies

"Throughout my career I have relied on building prototypes to blaze the path to great solutions. Whether it is a new product, service, experience, or business, the goal is to challenge assumptions and find unexpected and hopefully breakthrough insights, and these often come in the form of small and large surprises. Soren Kaplan's treatise hits the nail on the head."
--Dean Hovey, President and CEO, Digifit, and cofounder, IDEO

"Change (and therefore innovation) is often seen as disruptive and uncomfortable. Leapfrogging provides individuals and organizations a tried-and-true path for stepping into the unknown. With experience and compassion, Soren Kaplan leads the reader through a process that is not only imaginable but invaluable. While breakthroughs often require a certain degree of breakdown first, by following the Leapfrogging process you can feel confident the breakthrough will happen and the journey will be worth the risk!"
--Renee Dineen, Head of Organizational Development, Roche Pharma Division

"There is no doubt that one's mindset is a critical lever in driving true business innovation. In Leapfrogging, Soren Kaplan has outlined exactly the right principles for creating an organizational mindset that challenges orthodoxies and seeks out and learns from surprises."
--Deborah Arcoleo, Director, Global Innovation Center of Excellence, The Hershey Company
"Leapfrogging is as much about the secrets of breakthrough leadership as it is about business innovation. The book is loaded with fresh ideas and examples that inspire new thinking and action."
--Hans Middag, Director, Learning and Development, Randstad
"Leapfrogging is like Deepak Chopra meets Gary Hamel, all brought to life with great clarity and storytelling. No wonder Soren Kaplan is named after the Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard. He describes that when we embrace uncertainty, solutions will spontaneously emerge out of chaos. He outlines how we can anticipate the excitement that occurs when we remain open to an infinity of choices. Of course, doing all this requires that we be courageous, and Kaplan shows the way. From my experience teaching, training, and consulting on the subject of breakthrough innovation, I see a great need for these skills, and Leapfrogging offers a solution to a very important problem in these exciting and challenging times."
--Marianne T. Poulsen, Head of European Office, SRI International

"I have long advocated for customer surprise, and now here comes Soren Kaplan advocating for strategic surprise. It is a concept every executive should harness, and Kaplan demonstrates that true breakthroughs in innovation should be surprises. And the most surprising thing of all: by following the approach outlined in Leapfrogging, you will be assured of leading your organizations into creating such breakthroughs and thereby transform your business."
--B. Joseph Pine II, coauthor, The Experience Economy and Infinite Possibility
"Leapfrogging shows that breakthrough innovation isn't just about technologies and products. While these may be important, the difference between success and failure often lies in leadership. Leadership today is about navigating disruptive change. Flexibility, adaptability, and responsiveness are essential when pursuing and leading opportunities in uncharted territory--and Leapfrogging gives leadership and innovators everything they need to push boundaries."
--Mirja Kaarlela, Head of Office, Silicon Valley, Tekes--the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation

"Surprise indeed! I read Leapfrogging with the intention of learning more about promoting and leading innovation breakthroughs in my organization. Imagine my surprise as I found myself reflecting on my own personal journey. I now have a greater understanding of the possibilities for real breakthroughs since I see how they apply to my company, my group, and my own role."
--Michele Egger, Innovation Capability Operations, Chevron

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