Category Innovation

The Innovator’s Hypothesis

The Innovator’s Hypothesis
By Michael Schrage
The MIT Press
Retail Price $21.95
Amazon Price: $9.95

Book Description: 

What is the best way for a company to innovate? That’s exactly the wrong question. The better question: How can organizations get the maximum possible value from their innovation investments? Advice recommending “innovation vacations” and the luxury of failure may be wonderful for organizations with time to spend and money to waste. But this book addresses the innovation priorities of companies that live in the real world of limits. They want fast, frugal, and high impact innovations. They don’t just seek superior innovation, they want superior innovators.In The Innovator’s Hypothesis, innovation expert Michael Schrage advocates a cultural and strategic shift: small teams, collaboratively — and competitively — crafting business experiments that make top management sit up and take notice. Creativity within constraints — clear deadlines and clear deliverables — is what serious innovation cultures do. Schrage introduces the 5X5 framework: giving diverse teams of five people up to five days to come up with portfolios of five business experiments costing no more than $5,000 each and taking no longer than five weeks to run. The book describes multiple portfolios of 5X5 experiments drawn from Schrage’s advisory work and innovation workshops worldwide. These include financial service approaches for improving customer service and addressing security challenges; a pharmaceutical company’s hypotheses for boosting regulatory compliance; and a diaper divisions’ efforts to give babies and parents alike better “diapering experiences” with glow-in-the-dark adhesives, diagnostic capability, and bundled wipes.

Schrage’s 5X5 is enterprise innovation gone viral: Successful 5X5s make people more effective innovators, and more effective innovators mean more effective innovations.

Review

 

This book gives you a different take on innovation that goes against the grain, yet is becoming more popular in large businesses or corporations.  Instead of focusing on one idea at a time, the author suggests generating multiple ideas and working in teams for a limited time to conclude of an idea is feasible and deserves greater attention.  He does a great job presenting his theory and backs up his ideas with concrete examples, showing you where the rubber meets the road.  I found it inspiring.

~Reviewed by Dave H.

Please Share!

    The Curve Ahead

    The Curve Ahead
    by Dave Power
    Palgrave Macmillan
    Retail Price $25.00
    Amazon Price: $18.30

    Book Description: 

    Why do most growth companies stop growing? These fast-growing businesses are the engines of economic growth and wealth creation, but most fall behind the curve before reaching their potential. Executives are surprised when their business models mature sooner than expected, victims of the familiar S-Curve. Tragically, once-promising companies are often sold by investors too ready to throw in the towel. So what can leaders do to keep moving forward?To sustain growth, companies need to discover their next S-Curve. But few have a repeatable process for uncovering new opportunities before their core business stalls. The Curve Ahead offers a practical approach to sustaining long-term growth. It describes how growth companies can build innovation into the rhythm of their business operations and culture using design thinking, prototyping, business model design and other Innovation Power Tools.The Curve Ahead utilizes the power of storytelling to illustrate its messages. Power describes how LoJack and Groupon fell behind the curve, while Amazon, Jawbone, Darn Tough Socks and many others have fueled growth with a series of new S-Curves.

    This book will help thousands of mid-sized companies stay ahead of the curve and discover the path to unlimited revenue growth.

    Review

    This is a must read for any business leader dealing with the challenges of growing their business. Before undertaking a growth strategy you must have a clear understanding of why you’re growing. No doubt that enduring companies excel at doing what is discussed in this book. The content of the book is really great, as the author fills the whole idea with examples from successful companies as he encourages the reader to keep their eyes on the road ahead for the next S-Curve.  If you are thinking about growing your organization, this is a must read.

    ~Reviewed by Dave H.

    Please Share!

      The Innovator’s Method

      The Innovator’s Method
      by Nathan Furr, Jeff Dyer and Clayton M. Christensen
      Harvard Business Review
      Retail Price $30.00
      Amazon Price: $18.98

      Book Description: 

      Have you ever come up with an idea for a new product or service but didn’t take any action because you thought it would be too risky? Or at work, have you had what you thought could be a big idea for your company—perhaps changing the way you develop or distribute a product, provide customer service, or hire and train your employees? If you have, but you haven’t known how to take the next step, you need to understand what the authors call the innovator’s method—a set of tools emerging from lean start-up, design thinking, and agile software development that are revolutionizing how new ideas are created, refined, and brought to market.

      To date these tools have helped entrepreneurs, designers, and software developers manage uncertainty—through cheap and rapid experiments that systematically lower failure rates and risk. But many managers and leaders struggle to apply these powerful tools within their organizations, as they often run counter to traditional managerial thinking and practice.

      Authors Nathan Furr and Jeff Dyer wrote this book to address that very problem. Following the breakout success of The Innovator’s DNA—which Dyer wrote with Hal Gregersen and bestselling author Clay Christensen to provide a framework for generating ideas—this book shows how to make those ideas actually happen, to commercialize them for success.

      Based on their research inside corporations and successful start-ups, Furr and Dyer developed the innovator’s method, an end-to-end process for creating, refining, and bringing ideas to market. They show when and how to apply the tools of their method, how to adapt them to your business, and how to answer commonly asked questions about the method itself, including: How do we know if this idea is worth pursuing? Have we found the right solution? What is the best business model for this new offering? This book focuses on the “how”—how to test, how to validate, and how to commercialize ideas with the lean, design, and agile techniques successful start-ups use.

      Whether you’re launching a start-up, leading an established one, or simply working to get a new product off the ground in an existing company, this book is for you.

      Review

      I have a number of other business books, but for life lessons on on launching your business, product, or idea, this one comes up the winner, hands down.  You will find many helpful tips and strategies for implementing innovation in your ventures so you can take your business to the next level. The authors  take you from understanding how innovation is important to you as a business owner to seeing how it will help you scale past your competition by broadening your reach and generating significant profits in the process. The book is well-researched, yet shares many success stories that make it very reader-friendly. If you want to move your business forward, read this book!

      ~Reviewed by Rich W.

       

      Please Share!

        Collective Genius

        Collective Genius
        By Linda A. Hill, Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove and Kent Lineback
        Harvard Business Review
        Retail Price $28.00
        Amazon Price: $19.06

        Book Description: 

        Why can some organizations innovate time and again, while most cannot?

        You might think the key to innovation is attracting exceptional creative talent. Or making the right investments. Or breaking down organizational silos. All of these things may help—but there’s only one way to ensure sustained innovation: you need to lead it—and with a special kind of leadership. Collective Genius shows you how.

        Preeminent leadership scholar Linda Hill, along with former Pixar tech wizard Greg Brandeau, MIT researcher Emily Truelove, and Being the Boss coauthor Kent Lineback, found among leaders a widely shared, and mistaken, assumption: that a “good” leader in all other respects would also be an effective leader of innovation. The truth is, leading innovation takes a distinctive kind of leadership, one that unleashes and harnesses the “collective genius” of the people in the organization.

        Using vivid stories of individual leaders at companies like Volkswagen, Google, eBay, and Pfizer, as well as nonprofits and international government agencies, the authors show how successful leaders of innovation don’t create a vision and try to make innovation happen themselves. Rather, they create and sustain a culture where innovation is allowed to happen again and again—an environment where people are both willing and able to do the hard work that innovative problem solving requires.

        Collective Genius will not only inspire you; it will give you the concrete, practical guidance you need to build innovation into the fabric of your business.

        Review

        This is a very accessible, easy-to-read look at innovation in the area of leadership and the culture of the workplace. The stories that the author’s provide from not only personal experiences, but well-chosen, real-world illustrations of how challenging, and ultimately rewarding, it can be to gather a team and establish a culture that is open to change and new ideas, and that is committed to innovation as the way to do business. The short chapters seem to be perfectly tailored to today’s time-crunched businessmen and businesswomen. This book is a great read for anyone seeking to stimulate and encourage innovation. The practical observations that you find here easily translates into guidance likely to encourage both individual and organizational creativity.

        ~Reviewed by David H

        ~Reviewed by Douglas R.

        Please Share!