Fundraising Reading Round-Up
Fundraising Reading Round Up

Book review (and special offer): The innovation workout by Lucy Gower

I was delighted to receive a copy of Lucy Gower’s new book the innovation workout. I’ve known Lucy for a number of years and in my previous role she ran a training session on innovation for my team.

Therefore I was looking forward to reading the book and seeing Lucy’s expertise in written form. Fortunately the book lived up to the high standards I expected. Here is my full review, along with a special offer from Lucy at the end of the article.

Book review: the innovation workout

Innovation is an over-used and often misunderstood concept within charities and fundraising teams. Every organisation I’ve worked for has wanted to be ‘more innovative’ without really taking the time to understand the problem(s) they wanted to solve. Another common mistake I’ve seen made is thinking innovation is solely ‘eureka’ moments - transformative ideas and events. In my opinion, fundraising hasn’t seen any serious, breakthrough innovation for over 20 years - as an aside, I’d argue even F2F fundraising was the bringing together of two separate existing ideas to create a huge change in how donors are recruited.

These mistakes lead to lost time and wasted effort. Fortunately this book provides a framework for looking at different types of innovation and understanding how you can create a culture where innovation flourishes and is conducted in a systematic manner.

The book is split into three parts

  • Ten steps to enhance your innovation skills
  • Ten innovation skills in action
  • Ten common innovation challenges

It can be read from start to finish or you can just flick to the section on a particular question or problem you have around innovation.

There are three things I particularly like about the book.

  1. The book is written in an easy to read style without using too much jargon. It is a pacey run through the principles, problems and opportunities related to innovation.
  1. It is packed full of practical examples from a range of industries and professions. It is not a book aimed solely at fundraisers or charities. By drawing on examples from all walks of life you get a wide perspective that gets you thinking and making connections. These are highlighted throughout the book along with links to see the examples online.
  2. The accompanying workbook is an excellent resource. It provides a number of exercises you can work through and run internally when you have an innovation problem you want to tackle. I’ve already used two of the exercises (on personas and facilitating an ideas session) on training that I have run. Both have been well received by colleagues.

Due to the style of the book it doesn’t go into lots of depth on any particular area. So if you want to know more about a certain topic, such as De Bono’s thinking hats tool, then you will need to read some of the further books listed at the end of the workbook.

Overall, if you are interested in innovation or need to run sessions on creativity, generating new ideas or problem solving then this book is for you. For me the best books are ones I go back to time and time again and use in my everyday work. The innovation workout will be one of those books.

Special offer:

Lucy is offering anyone who buys the book on Tuesday 10 November between noon - 13.00 UK the chance to join her on a free webinar (normally priced £25). Simply send Lucy your receipt and she'll send you the details!

You can buy the book on or