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Staying Power: Six Enduring Principles for Managing Strategy and Innovation in an Uncertain World (Lessons from Microsoft, Apple, Intel, Google, ... (Clarendon Lectures in Management Studies) [Hardcover]

Michael A. Cusumano

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Book Description

16 Sep 2010 Clarendon Lectures in Management Studies
As we move into an era of simultaneous innovation and commoditization, enabled by digital technologies, managers around the world are asking themselves "how can we both adapt to rapid changes in technology and markets, and still make enough money to survive - and thrive?" To provide answers to these important and urgent questions, MIT Sloan School of Management Professor Michael Cusumano draws on nearly 30 years of research into the practices of global corporations that have been acknowledged leaders and benchmark setters - and Microsoft, Apple, Intel, Google, and others in software, internet services, and consumer electronics, and Toyota in manufacturing. If we look deeply enough, he contends, we can see the ideas that underpin the management practices that make for great companies, and drive their strategic evolution and innovation capabilities. From his deep knowledge of these organizations, Cusumano distils six enduring principles that he believes have been - in various combinations - crucial to their strategy, innovation management practices, and ability to deal with change and uncertainty. The first two principles - platforms (not just products), and services, for product firms - are relatively new and broader ways of thinking about strategy and business models, based on Cusumano's latest research. The other four - capabilities (not just strategy), the "pull" concept, economies of scope, and flexibility (not just efficiency) - all contribute to agility, which is a mix of flexibility and speed. Some practices associated with these ideas, such as dynamic capabilities, just-in-time production, iterative or prototype-driven product development, flexible design and manufacturing, modular architectures, and component reuse, are now commonly regarded as standard best practices. They are also essential to a new world dominated by platforms and technology-enabled services.

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"[The book's] six principles represent a set of guidelanes that executives in any company or industry should consider in order to achieve high performance over the long terms."--Strategy+Business (named a 2011 Best Business Book)

About the Author

Michael A. Cusumano is the Sloan Management Review Distinguished Professor of Management and Engineering Systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management, with a joint appointment in MIT's Engineering Systems Division. He specializes in strategy, product development, and entrepreneurship in the software business. He has consulted for more than 50 major firms around the world and is the author or co-author of 8 books. The Business of Software was named one of the top business books of 2004 by Steve Lohr of the New York Times. The international best-seller Microsoft Secrets (1995, with Richard Selby), has been translated into 14 languages. Competing on Internet Time: Lessons from Netscape and its Battle with Microsoft (1998, with David Yoffie) was named a top-10 Business Week book.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A valuable guide in the age of cloud-enabled business 4 Mar 2011
By Leif C. Ulstrup - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Professor Cusumano's "Staying Power" is a major contribution in the field of business strategy.

I am in the business of technology and management strategy consulting and think his ideas have enormous value to any executive grappling with the implications and opportunities of cloud-computing enabled business. His six principles are easy to grasp. They are deceptively simple and are particularly powerful in a commercial and public sector business climate of austerity where new business models are emerging that will fuel our next growth cycle, but are disrupting incumbents. The introduction of cloud computing is beginning to have a disruptive effect on a wide range of business. Living through that disruption in day-to-day business can make it hard to see the bigger patterns at play and think through what the future state will look like. Professor Cusumano's elaboration of the platform/complementer services model with his excellent historical context and current market analysis makes it much clearer where we are headed in my industry and to seize emerging opportunities.

I purchased the book based on an Amazon recommendation and I am very grateful I did. The book is written in a more academic style than is typical of the more popular style business and management books. In fact, I picked it up and sat it down several times before committing to the book. It is not a book designed to skim. It requires concentration and focus to understand how Professor Cusumano has reached the conclusions he has. His ability to characterize the current disruptive innovation cycle in the information technology business using his analysis of the history of both the information technology and automotive industry is excellent. It is a fascinating story leading up to today's new business models.

Once I started really focusing on the book, I could not put it down. My copy is full of highlighter pen marks and 3M stickers. Kudos to Professor Cusumano for a valuable tool for business executives trying to figure out how to proactively take advantage of the cloud-enabled business models that are emerging. I hope that he extends this work with additional video and supplementary blog or presentation materials to continue to expand on his ideas and share more examples of the ideas in action. I have already begun converting his ideas into execution in my business.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why managers should read "Staying Power" 23 Feb 2011
By J. S. - Published on
"Staying Power" is one of these rare books on strategic management that is both thoughtful and engaging. The author uses real examples and established companies from different industries and different countries, to illustrate a number of principles that hold for all companies. The "six enduring principles" presented in the book may not be obvious at first, but they are fundamental principles to guide you in improving the performance of your company or business unit, new or mature, small or large. The principles come alive with the examples. The examples are so vivid and well told that any experienced manager will be able to feel inside the respective company, looking carefully at the case in point and interiorizing what each principle is about and how to put it in practice in her or his company or business unit. This book is not a "quick read", but you can read it effectively one principle (one chapter) at a time. Your time will be very well rewarded.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read book on technology strategy 22 Nov 2010
By V.A. - Published on
Staying Power book builds upon the material covered in his earlier books "business of software" and "platform leadership" and takes it to the next level. This book is a good read for anyone connected with software strategy or for senior executives in a technology company. Cusumano has taught strategy courses at MIT for over 15 years and he lays down some of the fundamental strategies for attaining and maintaining a leadership position in a technology industry.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read - yet its examples can become outdated soon! 1 Mar 2014
By Patricio O. Gorman - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Definitely a recommended book for strategy and technology practitioners. Although its content can become quickly outdated due to the fast-moving tech industry, the six principles seem to endure the test of time and provide a good lens to analyze the present.

The book talks a lot about Microsoft's Windows platform, when today we are experiencing its demise. The reader has to apply to current examples by analogy, but it proves relatively easy due to the theoretical clarity of the concepts herein.
5.0 out of 5 stars 2011 Best Business Book 6 Dec 2011
By Strategy And Business Magazine - Published on
Michael A. Cusumano, a veteran researcher at MIT, looks for patterns of lasting success in his latest book, Staying Power: Six Enduring Principles for Managing Strategy and Innovation in an Uncertain World. In it, he reviews the companies he has studied in depth during his career -- first, Toyota and the broader Japanese auto industry in the late 1980s, and then Microsoft, Intel, and other information technology companies in the 1990s -- to identify "the big ideas that create staying power and superior performance." These are the principles that should have enormous value for managers in all industries.

As the book's title indicates, Cusumano is concerned with success over the long term. He writes, "I concluded that a handful of principles -- I have chosen six -- appear to have been essential to the effective management of strategy and innovation over long periods of time." It's worth noting his use of words like appear and I concluded, which admit subjective judgment, rather than claiming a measure of truth or scientific precision. Indeed, there's no pretense of conducting quantitative analysis in this book; rather, it represents an effort to seek patterns from in-depth case studies.

The first two principles describe fundamentally different ways of thinking about strategy and business models. Platforms, not just products draws on the successes of Toyota and Microsoft to illustrate the power of a strategy that generates complementary products, builds positive feedback, and makes incumbents harder to dislodge. In both companies, global leadership was based on the ability to create platforms, not just stand-alone products. Services, not just products (or platforms), the second principle, stresses the importance of offering services as an effective way to avoid the commoditization of products. Not only do services add revenue, often at a higher profit margin, but they are also harder to replace.

The next four principles are all related to agility -- to sensing and responding quickly and flexibly. Capabilities, not just strategy stresses the need to develop capabilities over time, rather than rely on any single strategic decision. Pull, not just push is associated with Japanese manufacturing methods, but, according to Cusumano, it goes far beyond that application. It pertains to product design, for example, because the ability to draw on customer preferences and ideas early in the process can confer an advantage. Scope, not just scale reminds us that in addition to the benefits of scale, which can lead to lower per-unit cost, successful companies seek out economies across activities such as research, product development, engineering, and more, sharing ideas and applying novel insights from one part of the company to others, allowing the whole to be greater than the sum of its parts and often more robust and better able to withstand downturns. Finally, flexibility, not just efficiency stresses the importance of pursuing efficiency while also remaining able to adapt to changes in the marketplace as well as seeking advantages of innovation.

These six principles represent a set of guidelines that executives in any company or industry should consider in order to achieve high performance over the long term. Take them together, and instead of a conventional strategy aimed at pushing scale-efficient products, for example, we would think of developing capabilities that enable us to offer flexible platforms of services and products. For Cusumano, staying power comes not just from discrete strategic moves but ultimately from a mind-set of agility and responsiveness.
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