Interview Guide to K. Melissa Kennedy

A Few Things You’ll Get From This Book 1 Minute Book Summary

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The Innovation Revolution

Discover the Genius Hiding in Plain Sight

This is an essential guide for 21st century leaders with a proven billion dollar rapid results method, Smart SpeedTM, to harness innovation consistently from INTRApreneurs at speed.

Learn to:

  • Break up business log jams
  • Say NO to random innovation efforts that don’t work
  • Stop the brain drain of internal dysfunction that saps creativity and effective problemsolving
  • Recapture your relevance, productivity, excitement and competitive edge by creating INTRApreneurs, who are invested and empowered WITHIN the corporate framework.

It’s different than other books on the subject because it empowers leaders with 250 field tested strategies and the proven Smart Speed method of transforming ideas to impact.

What others say about the book…

If enterprise leaders want the spirit, secrets and success of startups translated to work inside big business, this is the one must-have book.

Andrew Hyde

Founder of Startup Weekend

The world is littered with dinosaur corporations who just can’t find a way to innovate and as a result become less relevant every day. Could this be you? Today’s best practices around startups can be yours as well. Simply take a read of this book and be both inspired to start as well as build a framework for effective innovation inside your company. I have been there through stints inside a $6B company, the federal government and as co-founder of MapQuest. The best business books are easy to consume and leave you with some great insights.

Chris Heivly

Co-Founder of MapQuest (sold to AOL for $1.2B), Startup Evangelist, Investor

Many of us are leaders today because we recognized how our teams can thrive in this context out of trial and error…and with a dash of luck. Boy, what I would have done for a rule book! Well, now we have one. Go read this and start your own movement.

Hideo Esaka

Vice President, Client Systems Commercial Marketing, Dell Technologies

Here is a powerhouse book on tips, tactics, and approaches to grow your business at warp speed using INTRApreneurs and the “smart speed method.” Melissa Kennedy has written a thought provoking book on leadership and innovation for the 21st century.

Luanne Tierney

Managing Member, Chief Marketing Officer Fivesky

Regardless of the size of your enterprise, change is here to stay and you have to embrace it if you’re going to thrive. Knowing your employees, your key assets, and how to motivate them is going to be key in meeting business challenges. Embracing change and providing your employees a climate and culture to succeed will build a strong foundation for your longer-term objectives. Melissa provides some incredible insights to actions that we as leaders need to take to enable the innovation that will be required for the success of our employees and business.

Rick Bowers

IBM Vice President & RTP Site Executive, IBM Cloud Technical Support

This book reinforces essential leadership skills that every leader should be reminded of, regardless of how much experience they have. The situation-based applications for the many faced Leadovator are especially powerful and practical. I’ve experienced working at every type of organization described in The Innovation Revolution (a Hierarchical Innovation Crusher, an Innovation Comeback Kid and a Nimble Innovation Powerhouse) – and the latter is, by far, the most exciting to be a part of!

Lynn Vitello

Vice President, Marketing, MaxPoint

Finally! A text that embraces—rather than grimaces at—Millennials and their fast-paced, crowd-sourced, quick-decision, digital-denizen approaches as the next great stage in the evolution of effective business. From one person’s idea, through the leanest of lean startups, to the rise and fall of behemoths we all know, Kennedy offers her hands-on, well-researched, tried-and-tested methods that not only span the range from entrepreneurial to intrapreneurial but from intimately introspective to explosively impactful.

Tim Flood

Ph.D. Associate Professor, Management & Corporate Communication, UNC Kenan Flagler Business School

The Innovation Revolution is a resource treasure trove for managers who want to cut straight through the faddish jargon that plagues this topic and get down to doing business more creatively. After reading it, they’ll have at their disposal Melissa’s level-headed breakdown of the latest research and best practices in innovation management and a clear-and quick-path to generating and strategizing ideas.

Melissa has no trouble with stalling, or stalled out creative plans. While her book attends to things like theories and cultural contexts, and generates richer and deeper action plans because of this, it’s also obsessed with getting results.

To that end she equips her readers with tools, like individual and organizational diagnostics to help give them an informed and customized start; targeted practice exercises and challenges to help get things moving when moving is hard; an analysis of the physiology and cognition of mind-changing, because sometimes to work our brains we need to move our legs; a no-holds-barred management manifesto that will create time, flexibility, and the space for change within organizations; and diverse plans for overcoming all kinds of typical emotional, organizational, managerial, and personal obstacles.

Bottom line: you could attend all those innovation seminars, workshops, symposiums and MOOCs. Or you could read this book, and get started.

Dr. Colbey Reid

Consumer Innovation Collaborative, Director, Professor of Practice, NC State University, Poole College of Management

Who Should Read This Book?

Leaders and aspiring leaders in medium to large organizations who aim to change the world and know the status quo won’t do it. Leaders’ who experience the following:

  • Information overload — more data and information than ever before in history.
  • Growing, purpose-driven class of employees challenging everything; millennials and generation flux.
  • Flattening business organization structures.
  • Over extended workforce where “Do more with less and less” is commonplace.
  • A proliferation of project backlogs.
  • Technology-enabled ‘everything.’
  • Plummeting “costs” of market entry — money and access.
  • Exponential growth demands and intense pressure.
  • Complex competitive and partner dynamics.
  • Incongruent market expectations of startups vs. enterprise.
  • Traditional management practices that hinder strategic agility and action.

If you’re under constant pressure for double-digit growth. If you struggle to achieve speed, make timely decisions and reach goals. If you spend too much time in meetings and not enough time making a difference— You are ready to lead The Innovation Revolution — a movement toward systemic innovation inside the enterprise, powered by INTRApreneurs.

Interview Topics

These topics are suggestions only. Feel free to address topics of particular interest to your audience.

Current State of Business and Innovation in the Enterprise

Did you know that we will experience 20,000 years of progress in the 21st century, instead of just the linear 100 years? We are working in an unprecedented era of uncertainty and an accelerating pace of change. Combine that with increasing complexities in markets, industries, partners and customers and the leadership and innovation practices of the past no longer apply. It is imperative enterprise leaders evolve and embrace a new approach to innovation through INTRApreneurship.

21st Century Leadership

Leadership isn’t what it used to be. It has transitioned from command and control to collaborate and empower. Most of the skills and attitudes to effectively lead in this new era of uncertainty and empathy were never taught in business school or leadership development programs. Leaders must learn to master modern management skills such as digital fluency, analysis among the billions of bits of data, iteractive problem solving and resource management across the matrix of indirect stakeholders inside and out. Leaders must learn how to develop and then trust INTRApreneurs to co-led in order to succeed.


Truth is … INTRApreneurship isn’t a new concept. INTRApreneurship is simply entrepreneurship inside the organization. It was made famous by one of the most influential CEOs and leaders of the 1980s, former GE CEO Jack Welch. With the changing workforce dynamics and the emerging Age of Entrepreneurship upon is, INTRApreneurship is the only way for the enterprise
to recapture its relevance, productivity and excitement.

Lean Startup Translated for the Enterprise

Enterprise strategy and management practices in the last 25 years were defined by controlled, linear release cycles with big budgets and extensive timelines. These practices brought success in the past but are what hinder the future success for the enterprise. The Lean Startup Movement emerged in the last decade and has empowered the millions of startups, focusing on iterative customer feedback on both the development and market relevance of products and services. The book details how to use these tools in a method called Smart SpeedTM, which takes the best practices of lean startup and translates it for the enterprise to increase speed to market and speed to results.

Barriers to Innovation

Innovation is change that matters. Change is challenging for everyone. There are the usual suspects that impede innovation efforts like fear, frustration and focus. And then there are systemic barriers like culture, dysfunctional internal systems and processes or buzzwords gone bad. Barriers to innovation are complex, but can be overcome through trusting and empowered leadership and courage to look within to transform.

Interview Questions

These are suggestions only. Feel free to ask any questions that interest you. I appreciate the questions prior to the interview to ensure there is a smooth transition from question to answer.

  1. Why do leaders need to change business-as usual? What are the top trends supporting your challenge?
  2. What is this Innovation Revolution you write about? And what is the genius hiding in plain sight?
  3. What is the solution, Smart SpeedTM, you describe and how do we know it works?
  4. How do you translate best practices from startups for the enterprise? What is the big difference between these organizations?
  5. What makes this book different than other books on the market?
  6. How can readers successfully apply the more than 250 questions, strategies and actions in The Innovation Revolution
  7. What do you think the #1 Mistake a Leader makes when it comes to innovation?
  8. What can organizations do to create and nurture INTRAprenuers – entrepreneurs on the inside?
  9. If leaders and organizations want to get help and advice, how do you work with them?

About the Author: K. Melissa Kennedy

Organizations that actually want to get things done get their people to work with K. Melissa Kennedy.

What kinds of things? Introducing new products. Building customer loyalty. Improving sales processes. Reorganizing operations to boost efficiency. Changing the world. In short, the kinds of activities that make a real difference inside big companies like Cisco and Arby’s and Lancope — for the people involved, for their customers and, oh yeah, for the bottom line.

To the tune of more than $1 billion in revenue-generating projects. And counting.

It’s all made possible by Smart Speed™, a unique process that focuses on intrapreneurship — taking advantage of the innovation-driving resources hiding in plain sight: front-line employees who have unique insights and great ideas. And who can, given the chance, launch amazing, effective, strategic, workable new initiatives in just 48 hours.

Yes, 48 hours. Hence the company name.

In previous work lives, Melissa lived through enough high-priced consultant engagements and shiny-object acquisitions to learn that they’re typically ineffective. And adding insult to injury, they take away too much time from real work.

That made her a passionate advocate for breaking through the quagmire of corporate bureaucracy and empowering internal teams with the best parts of startup culture: Teamwork. Focus. Speed. Accountability. Action.

Which led, in turn, to a series of successes, for herself and for her clients:

  • She pioneered one of the first social media strategic plans for Cisco System — including a monthly online video program that was viewed by 120,000 customers within the first year and ultimately helped add more than $1 billion to the sales pipeline
  • She launched a comprehensive marketing initiative for NC State University — which led to its first $1 billion fund-raising campaign
  • She co-led the effort to raise $3.1 billion for North Carolina public universities and community colleges — the largest higher education bond referendum campaign in US history

The icing on all those billion-dollar cakes? With her quick wit, abundance of energy, leadership flair and infectious enthusiasm, working with Melissa can be a heck of a lot of fun.

Publisher: 48 Innovate (March 7, 2017)
ISBN: 978-0-9982925-0-2
ISBN: 978-0-9982925-1-9
Paperback: 222 Pages
Retail Price: $18.95 Print, $9.99 Kindle

Contact: K. Melissa Kennedy
Company Name: 48 Innovate
Phone Number: 919-348-2207
Email Address:
Twitter: @kmelissakennedy
LinkedIn: /in/kmelissakennedy
Company Website:
Book Website:

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