How many big businesses have pioneered the technologies and business models that now dominate e-commerce, personal computing, biotechnology, and wireless telecommunication? Answer: hardly any. The problem is not that executives fail to recognize the need to infuse their organizations with the kind of model-busting innovative capabilities of agile startups. It's a lack of understanding of what to do and how to do it.
But now, this groundbreaking book reveals the patterns through which game-changing innovation occurs in large, established companies, and identifies the new managerial competencies firms need to make radical innovation happen. The authors define a radical innovation project as one that delivers a product, process, or service with either unprecedented performance features, or with familiar features that will enable market transformation through significant performance improvements or cost reductions. These projects are nurtured within the established organization, not skunkworks. They are not concerned with exploiting current lines of business, but with exploring entirely new ones.
Based on evidence from a five-year, real time study of twelve radical innovation projects within ten major corporations-including General Electric, IBM, Nortel Networks, DuPont, and Texas Instruments-this book addresses seven managerial challenges large companies face in creating and sustaining radical innovation: (1) dealing with radical ideas in the "fuzzy front end"; (2) developing new models for project management; (3) learning about unfamiliar markets; (4) working through uncertainty in the business model; (5) bridging resource and competency gaps; (6) managing the transition from radical project to operating status; and (7) engaging individual initiative.
The authors, experts in a variety of areas such as entrepreneurship, R&D management, product design, marketing, organizational behavior, and operations and project management, distill a comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach to mastering each of these challenges, from the conceptualization of viable ideas to the commercialization of radical innovations. Designed to push the envelope of thinking about the most significant challenge facing large companies today, this important book offers a revolutionary new paradigm for long-term corporate success.
Richard Leifer, Christopher M. McDermott, Gina Colarelli O'Connor, Lois S. Peters, Mark Rice and Robert W. Veryzer are all faculty members in the Lally School of Management and Technology, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.