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By Azra Brankovic, IESE Research Associate

Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble, professors at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, recently published The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge, a follow-up to their 2005 book Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators: From Idea to Execution. Ten Rules was well-received, and it is a lean machine of a book on executing innovation. The Other Side of Innovation is Ten Rules with a fat suit on.

Those who read Ten Rules will not find much new in The Other Side. The terminology has changed so that CoreCo is now the Little Performance Engine and NewCo is simply “an innovation initiative.” For those wondering if they should read the earlier book or the later one, the decision comes down to style, with the first book delivering just-the-facts and the second book being more talky. The rest of this review covers the one story that is told in both books, with longer quotations taken from The Other Side unless otherwise noted. Read the rest of this entry »

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On our recent Innovation Architect course in New York, we shared three book recommendations for people with an interest in innovation: Read the rest of this entry »

By Azra Brankovic, IESE Research Associate

In What Would Google Do? Jeff Jarvis says his book is not about Google. It is about you, that is, it is about applying the principles in the book to yourself or to your business (which might be one and the same, as in the case of bloggers, say). One continues reading with the assumption that the book will still be about Google, but it’s not.

Jarvis’s book is about going digital. Nicholas Negroponte’s 1996 book Being Digital offered a glimpse of a future digital age and drew a contrast between “atoms” and “bits,” or physical versus digital goods. Jarvis sees Google as emblematic of the digital age and explores “how everyone and everything must evolve in the Google era,” which here means that all manner of businesses, from book sellers to wine shops to insurance companies, should abandon the “atom” and embrace the “bit.” Jarvis is a media critic and he expresses particular urgency about that industry’s needing to shrug off the chains of the material old and embrace the promise of the digital new. Read the rest of this entry »

By Azra Brankovic, IESE Research Associate

When Amar Bhidé’s book The Venturesome Economy: How Innovation Sustains Prosperity in a More Connected World came out last year, it caught our eye because it seemed to be saying that the locus of innovation in the economy is diffuse, and that a creative culture matters. The book argues that there is a bias in how innovation is perceived in the United States, especially by the government and by “techno-nationalists.” Their notion of innovation, according to Bhidé, is confined to cutting-edge, high-level research and technology, and their desire to maintain U.S. “leadership” in innovation globally translates into funneling money into high-level R&D and education for engineering and science students, all in an effort to allay fears of being surpassed by other economies, notably the rising ones of China and India.

The U.S. economy was already roiling when Bhidé’s book came out—Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy on the day of its publication—but the further meltdown and the election of President Obama, who has issued directives to bolster innovation as a remedy for the recession, have accelerated the discussion around whether the government should be funding innovation, and how and to what degree. Read the rest of this entry »

Crowdsourcing – leveraging the masses to produce innovation – is arguably the biggest current trend in the innovation industry.

The phenomenon started to appear a while back, under the guise of terms like ‘Open Innovation’ and The Cult of the Amateur, and the underlying theoretical reasons why the crowd can sometimes outperform experts was described in James Surowiecki’s readworthy book The Wisdom of Crowds (see my review).

Currently, crowdsourcing is the central idea underlying a bevy of new innovation-oriented books, such as Here Comes Everybody (Clay Shirky), Wikinomics (Don Tapscott) and Crowdsourcing by Jeff Howe (who named the phenomenon in a Wired article).

To get a quick feel for what it is all about, check out the two following videos:

 Jeff Howe talks about crowdsourcing

Clay Shirky’s TED lecture (20 minutes, but worth it)

It is interesting to see how the field of innovation is itself subject to trends; currently, you would have to be a brave innovation guru to give a lecture without talking about crowdsourcing. And as with any new trend, there is a tendency to herald crowdsourcing as the answer to everything. There is little doubt that it is an important phenomenon, but it is far from the only thing you have to understand in order to master innovation.

Another noteworthy trend, by the way, is that of quantitative analysis, described in Ian Ayres’ book Supercrunchers (my review here).

By Azra Brankovic, IESE Research Associate

The Game-Changer: How You Can Drive Revenue and Profit Growth with Innovation, co-authored by Procter & Gamble Chairman and CEO A. G. Lafley and consultant Ram Charan, is a tedious read, but it turns out to be a rather hot book on innovation. Two main parts of the book cover two of the most relevant topics in innovation today: the first concerns a change in thinking, which is mainly presented in terms of a switch to “design thinking,” while the second is about implementing innovation. The third part of the book talks about what makes for an innovation culture. Read the rest of this entry »

By Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg

If you are interested in exploring creativity and innovation from an academic standpoint, here’s a few good places to start.

Robert Sternberg’s Handbook of Creativity is a solid and wide-ranging collection of journal articles, most of them classics within the area. This book is probably the best place to start, if you haven’t read about the subject before. Read the rest of this entry »