Home Book Reviews Borrowing Brilliance: The Six Steps to Business Innovation by Building on the Ideas of Others

Borrowing Brilliance: The Six Steps to Business Innovation by Building on the Ideas of Others


Borrowing BrillianceI really don’t know how I heard about David Kord Murray’s book, Borrowing Brilliance: The Six Steps to Business Innovation by Building on the Ideas of Others.  It could have been recommended to me by Amazon.com or I could have read a book review of it while traveling.  Nonetheless, I found the concept intriguing enough to purchase a copy.  The book stimulated so many ideas that I could not wait to pick it up again whenever I had the chance to read a few chapters.

Murray is one of those interesting people that few of us have the chance to meet.  He was educated as an engineer, graduating from the University of Vermont in 1982, and later obtained his MBA from Pepperdine University.  Early in his career, while at McDonnell Douglas, he had the opportunity to work on the Space Shuttle program as well as the MX missile.  Later, he went into the financial services business, founding several companies and later working at Intuit as its head of innovation.

Borrowing Brilliance is essentially the roadmap to how Murray taught himself to become an innovator.  Murray organized his system into six steps.  The first three steps are involved with the origin of the idea.  Step One is Defining, for defining the problem that you’re trying to solve.  Step Two is Borrowing; Murray recommends borrowing ideas from places with a similar problem.  Step Three is Combining, where you examine connecting and combining the borrowed ideas that you believe relate to solving your problem.  The last three steps involve the Evolution of the Idea from solution to implementation.  Step Four is Incubating, where the combinations created in Step Three are incubated into a solution.  Step Five is Judging, where the strength and weakness of the solution are examined.  The final step, Step Six, is Enhancing.  In this step, Murray recommends eliminating the weak points of the solution while enhancing the strong ones.

One of the strong points of this book is the way in which Murray brings his personal experiences from the three businesses that he started to the businesses started by other people we know like George Lucas, Bill Gates, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Steve Jobs.  The concept of using a metaphor to transform your idea into reality is excellently illustrated by Murray’s description of the evolution of George Lucas’ Star Wars script into the phenomenally successful movie series.  According to Murray, George Lucas knew that he wanted to create a science fiction movie, but kept running through a hodge podge of ideas such as science fiction and Western, science fiction and spy story, etc.  Finally, he figured that the right combination was science fiction and mythology and with that borrowed combination, created a unique movie that attracted movie goers like no other movie in history.

Murray also has a blog which has some insightful and worthwhile information along the same lines as the book.  I enjoyed Borrowing Brilliance so much that I bought a few extra copies and gave them away to colleagues of mine.  In an age where knowledge is increasing exponentially, it is helpful to have a system like Murray’s that provides you with an interesting way to define and solve problems.

Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President in 2002. In September 2019, Dr. Boston retired as CEO of APEI and retired as APUS President in August 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. For four years from 2009 through 2012, APEI was ranked in Forbes' Top 10 list of America's Best Small Public Companies. During his tenure as president, APUS grew to over 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 100,000 alumni. While serving as APEI CEO and APUS President, Dr. Boston was a board member of APEI, APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and Fidelis, Inc. Dr. Boston was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity by the U.S. Secretary of Education in 2019. He also serves as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), as a Trustee of The American College of Financial Services, as a member of the board of Our Community Salutes - USA, and as a member and chair of the board of New Horizons Worldwide. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. In August 2020, the Board of Trustees of APUS appointed him Trustee Emeritus. In November 2020, the Board of Trustees announced that the APUS School of Business would be renamed the Dr. Wallace E Boston School of Business in recognition of Dr. Boston's service to the university. Dr. Boston lives with his family in Austin, Texas.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *