Dealing with Darwin goes into all the fundamentals of innovation and many examples of the different types. It also talks about the stages of new technologies, which innovation types are most appropriate depending on the stage your market is in and and where to avoid spinning your wheels. Most valuable in this book are the hundreds of examples of process, disruptive, application and line extension innovations which really bring home how other companies have given themselves a competitive advantage.
Harvesting Intangible Assets is all about creating a culture shift in your organization to stimulate innovation and intrapenuership, which empowers every employee to help bring an idea to life. It’ll teach you how to setup a system for managing intangible assets and understanding their intrinsic value. It sets out all the ways that these ideas can grow into meaningful revenue opportunities. It strongly lays out the case of how many organizations are wasting internal resource of internal intellectual capital by letting good ideas go untapped.
A must read for anyone who works for a company that is at risk of being disrupted by a new technology. This lays out how well run established companies can be destroyed by not recognizing when their market is being disrupted and lays out the defining characteristics of disruptive innovation. Many examples are given for how established companies that have plenty of market leadership and good customer relationships can still be toppled when a new company comes in with a disruptive technology. It gives several solutions for how a company might react to disruptive technology and the consequences of ignoring or moving too slowly.
In this book Eric Ries makes the case for putting out a minimum viable product as quickly as possible in order to gauge whether there is even a true market interest before heavily investing in making it perfect. He lays out what draws organizations chasing worthless metrics and gives plenty examples of success and failure stories from the world of silicon valley. The mantra is to be lean, create the ability within your organization to iterate constantly and develop new features in a matter of days as opposed to months or years like larger organizations.
A fundamental book for understanding how ideas spread and what is known as adoption theory. For anyone who is about to introduce a new technology or a product that is unique it’s very valuable to understand just how the adoption cycle works. This classic lays out a full view of how an idea comes into the mind of a consumer and how that idea is then validated. It sets out the different characteristics of people and at what stage they might be willing to try a new technology. The theory in this book can be applied to almost anything considered new.
Competing on Analytics is about innovating by transforming your organization into a decision and optimization based culture. It goes into many examples of companies that have given themselves a sustainable competitive advantage by driving their decisions with a wealth of data. You’ll learn how a good analytics system can improve a company: dynamic pricing, choosing business locations, suppliers, manufacturing cost reductions, route scheduling, inventory management and personalized marketing based on customer segments. It also focuses on the potential challenges that many companies face in adopting metric based decision making, mainly getting it to be adopted by all members throughout the organization and embedded within the culture.
Written by Pixar legend Ed Catmull whose career has been full of innovation and fostering creativity. Creativity, INC shares his philosophy of management and his story of running one of the most creative organizations in the country. It’s an honest account that spares no detail of the challenges and mistakes made along the way. It emphasizes how candor and empowering employees helped Pixar be so successful.
Sometimes the best how to guides are insights in the lives of those who have already changed the world and Steve Jobs certainly fits the bill. In the book “Steve Jobs” Walter Isaacson gives you a glimpse at the birth of Apple, its near demise and its second wind directly into the sails of innovation. While Jobs’ management philosophy may have been inhumane he had several traits that were instrumental for an innovative chief executive: relentless pushing to have the best and brightest, a willingness to take risks and a deep focus on design & functionality.
Dealers of Lightning is the story of how Xerox’s research unit changed the world, inventing many of the new computer technologies we use today. It was Xerox PARC that came up with laser printers, with bitmap graphics, with the graphical editors and object oriented programming and the use of windows and a mouse (an idea quickly borrowed by Bill Gates & Steve Jobs). It’s also a story of how some missteps in realizing the value of ideas and protecting and monetizing intellectual property should be avoided.
Innovation is not possible without a free flow of ideas and that’s what makes this book so good. It’s funny and easy to read and helps stimulate the process of coming up with new ideas by developing a process to define challenges and come up with solutions as well as having the right mindset to truly think against the grain. There are hundreds of examples for idea generation in this book and lots of inspiring quotes and anecdotes.
Which books on innovation have you read that you really enjoyed?