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The First Mile: A Launch Manual for Getting Great Ideas into the Market [Kindle Edition]

Scott D. Anthony
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £16.99
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Book Description

You have a great idea, now what?

That first mile—where an innovation moves from an idea on paper to the market—is often plagued by failure. In fact, less than one percent of ideas launched by big companies end up having real impact. The ideas aren’t the problem. It’s the process.

The First Mile focuses on the critical moment when an innovator moves from planning to reality. It is a perilous place where hidden traps snare entrepreneurs and roadblocks slow innovators inside large companies.

In this practical and enlightening manual, strategic adviser Scott Anthony equips innovators with new tools, questions, and examples to speed through this crucial early stage of innovation. You’ll learn:

• How to evaluate your idea’s strengths and weaknesses using the “DEFT” process—Document, Evaluate, Focus, and Test
• Fourteen recipes from an “experiment cookbook” to gain confidence in your idea or business
• Why “spinouts,” “wrong turns,” and other challenges commonly trip up innovation—and the practical strategies you can use to avoid them
• Why innovators need to seek chaos in an age of constant change—and other essential leadership skills

Drawing on his decade of experience as an innovation adviser and investor, Anthony describes hard-won lessons from disruptive start-ups and global giants alike. The First Mile will give you the knowledge and confidence to travel this perilous—but ultimately promising—terrain.

The first mile can be a scary place, but you don’t have to traverse it alone. This book can help.


Product Description

Review

Named one of "9 Big Idea Business Books You Need to Read Now" -- Inc. magazine "Anthony skillfully leads readers through his process..." "the author ends each chapter with a distillation of key messages and provides a First Mile Readiness Checklist that readers will value." -- Publishers Weekly "...a concise, engaging book with practical tools for innovators and entrepreneurs. New product development professionals will find this book enjoyable based upon the real-life stories that are peppered throughout the text." -- Product Development and Management Association ADVANCE PRAISE for The First Mile: Clayton M. Christensen, Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School; author, The Innovator's Dilemma-- "I like this book a lot. Scott shows that while the probability of any specific business idea being successful is quite small, there is a set of principles and processes that are very reliable in building new businesses. They guide you away from strategies that won't work, toward those that will." Aaron Levie, cofounder and CEO, Box; Inc. magazine's 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year-- "The First Mile is a deeply pragmatic and insightful playbook that every aspiring entrepreneur should read. I wish I had this book when I started building my company eight years ago." Peter Sims, author, Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries-- "The First Mile is a remarkable gift for anyone who wants to turn small bets into big wins. Scott Anthony shares what he does better than anyone else--combines the best innovation research, consulting experiences, tools, and inspiration into one book." Bruce Brown, retired Chief Technology Officer, Procter & Gamble-- "Scott Anthony has done it again. Reflecting his unique experience as a consultant, a student, and a practitioner of innovation, The First Mile is a valuable and practical guidebook that will help you significantly improve your innovation output." Rita Gunther McGrath, Associate Professor, Columbia Business School; author, The End of Competitive Advantage-- "If you've ever left a brainstorming meeting frustrated by a lack of follow-through ever wondered why it seems so hard to implement good new ideas, or ever seen promising projects wither away, buy this book. It will transform the way you approach innovation and dramatically enhance your innovation effectiveness." Hal Gregersen, Professor of Innovation and Leadership at INSEAD-- "Anthony absolutely hits his full innovation stride in The First Mile! He asks all the right questions to help any leader take bold--but wise--first moves when transforming risky new ideas into concrete, competitive realities. Anthony's insights, based on a lifetime of global innovation experience, can help anyone battle test their best ideas by rapidly putting them into practice."

About the Author

Scott D. Anthony is the managing partner of Innosight, a global strategic innovation consulting and investment firm. Based in the firm's Singapore offices since 2010, he has led Innosight's expansion into the Asia-Pacific region as well as its venture capital activities. He is a sought-after strategic adviser and the author or coauthor, most recently, of The Little Black Book of Innovation and Building a Growth Factory.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 9864 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (1 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422171760
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422171769
  • ASIN: B00GQDL7M0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #156,443 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
By Robert Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Note: The observation that serves as the title of this review was expressed by Howard Akin

Those who have read any of Scott Anthony's previously books - notably The Little Black Book of Innovation, The Silver Lining, The Innovator's Guide to Growth, and Seeing What's Next, co-authored with Clayton M. Christensen, Erik A. Roth -- already know that no one else has a better understanding of what innovation is and isn't than he does. I have read and reviewed all of them and thus was especially excited as I began to read his latest and, in my opinion, his most valuable book, The First Mile. In my opinion, it is his most valuable book thus far, for reasons that will soon become obvious.

What he offers is essentially an operations manual for anyone in need of information, insights, and counsel to get their ideas to market, faster and with much greater impact. As Anthony explains, "The first mile is a perilous place. Hidden traps snare entrepreneurs, and seemingly never-ending roadblocks slow innovators inside large companies. It's easy to make a wrong turn on the path to the magical combination of z deep customer need, a compelling solution, and a powerful economic model. Creating new things always takes longer and always costs more than you think, making it all too easy to run out of fuel."

I agree with Anthony that any new idea, especially one that is promising, is in greatest danger during the first mile (stage, phase, etc.) of its existence. I also agree with him that the scientific management of strategic uncertainty is the key to its survival. More specifically, he recommends DEFT -- a process that involves four stages: documentation, evaluation, focus, and testing -- and devotes a separate chapter to each of the four.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Got the wrong product after a long waiting time 22 Sept. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Got the wrong product and had to go through the whole process again.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." 30 April 2014
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Note: The statement I selected to serve as the title of this review was made by Howard Akin

Those who have read any of Scott Anthony's previously books - notably The Little Black Book of Innovation, The Silver Lining, The Innovator's Guide to Growth, and Seeing What's Next, co-authored with Clayton M. Christensen and Erik A. Roth -- already know that no one else has a better understanding of what innovation is and isn't than he does. I have read and reviewed all of them and thus was especially excited as I began to read his latest and, in my opinion, his most valuable book, The First Mile. In my opinion, it is his most valuable book thus far, for reasons that will soon become obvious.

What he offers is essentially an operations manual for anyone in need of information, insights, and counsel to get their ideas to market, faster and with much greater impact. As Anthony explains, "The first mile is a perilous place. Hidden traps snare entrepreneurs, and seemingly never-ending roadblocks slow innovators inside large companies. It's easy to make a wrong turn on the path to the magical combination of z deep customer need, a compelling solution, and a powerful economic model. Creating new things always takes longer and always costs more than you think, making it all too easy to run out of fuel."

I agree with Anthony that any new idea, especially one that is promising, is in greatest danger during the first mile (stage, phase, etc.) of its existence. I also agree with him that the scientific management of strategic uncertainty is the key to its survival. More specifically, he recommends DEFT -- a process that involves four stages: documentation, evaluation, focus, and testing -- and devotes a separate chapter to each of the four. Before embarking on that perilous journey, he suggests, potential value of the given idea should be determined according to three criteria:

1. It must address a legitimate market or customer need.
2. It must address the need in a reliable and compelling way.
3. It must be capable of creating value according to metrics that are relevant to the opportunity.

To aid in that process, Anthony provides a set of 27 questions that must be answered with clarity and candor. He also recommends and briefly discusses the utility of three "capture tools" and, in fact, fills the reader's toolbox with countless others by the book's conclusion. The first is an "idea resume," originally introduced in a book, The Innovator's Guide to Growth (2008); next, "the business model canvas" that Osterwalder and Pigneur thoroughly explain their book, Business Model Generation (2010); and then a mini-business plan, one that incorporates all of the strengths of one formulated by Wildfire's founders. Table 2-1 (on Pages 37-38) provides an overview of that plan. Anthony also includes four "Watch-Outs" to keep in mind when using any of the tools he offers. I commend him on his brilliant use of reader-friendly devices. In addition to Tables, he also uses "Overviews" and "Key Messages from This Chapter" section to focus on key material. These and other devices will facilitate, indeed expedite frequent review of especially important material later.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Anthony's coverage.

o The Scientific Method and Strategic Uncertainty (Pages 14-19)
o The Next Step: Twenty-Seven Innovation Questions (29-33)
o Four Watch-Outs (39-44)
o Pattern-Based Analysis (47-50)
o How to Prioritize Uncertainties (69-81)
o Keep Teams Small and Focused (84-89)
o "The First Mile Readiness Check List" (137-138)
o Challenge #1: Make a Wrong Term (144-168)
o Decision-Making Systems That Pierce through the "Fog of Innovation" (172-191)
o Seek Chaos (199-206)
o Parting Thoughts (207-208)

With regard to Scott Anthony's concluding remarks, they include his hope that those who read his latest book will "at the very least approach innovation with more confidence by understanding what they can do to more scientifically manage its risks." A careful reading and then (hopefully) a careful re-reading of this book will help his readers to develop the ability to handle ambiguity and uncertainty, to embrace rather than fear chaos with diversified networks and a variety of skills when challenged in unexpected ways. True, the first mile is uniquely perilous but is also true that those who read this book will be well-prepared to achieve much greater progress, faster, than would probably be possible during subsequent miles.

I have a concluding thought of my own: The two appendices, "Innosight Ventures Assessment Tool" and "Cognitive Biases and the First Mile," all by themselves, are worth far more than the cost of the complete book.
Amazon US now sells it for $16.60. That's not a bargain, that's a steal.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Practical and easy-to-follow guide to assess and launch your new projects 30 Jun. 2014
By Sudhanshu - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Others describe what should be done. Scott describes how he does it everyday and how he keeps it simple.

There are several great books which describe the process of assessing and launching new initiatives. What I love about this one is that it is very easy to follow and helps you easily implement that process. You just take out pen and paper and start doing the easy exercises that Scott eloquently guides you through. He describes real life experiences from the many start-ups he has assessed and guided for Innosight's venture capital arm. These experiences are some of the many gems in this book.

In addition, he gives you a clear path to making an investment case for your project. The book is complemented by ready templates. It is full of the kind of experiences that you can gain only by running a successful consulting business over many years, as Scott has.

This is a great read for:
- Chief Innovation Officers and other C-level leaders at MNCs looking to replicate the lean start-up process in their own firms
- Start-ups looking for a disciplined process to assess and launch their idea and raise investment
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, great info and tools 16 May 2014
By Garry Floyd - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is very helpful for those initial ideas, and if they are really worth proceeding with. Of course all businesses are different, but this book gives you the tools and steps to take to verify if your idea is a money maker or a money taker. I will probably reference this book for every new idea that I have in the future.
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply efficient ! 31 Aug. 2014
By FORESTIER - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
In modern corporation, "Innovation" is the new buzzword. In Europe (where I come from), "innovation" is seen as the last hope to avoid the growth trap we are glued in. For many people the innovation problem is seen as not having the right idea at the right time in the right firm and all the success is based on entrepreneur's motivation, experience and frankly on a big piece of luck. Ask around you in your firm and you will hear things like "my product was not ready for the market", or "I didn't have luck there was a clear market need but I didn't expected there will be such many obstacles", etc...
Scott Anthony is one of the few experts saying that innovation is a clear management process and that the probability of success can be maximized by applying a rigourous scientific method. Being an experimental physicist and a high tech engineer, I loved this book because it described in a pragmatic and friendly ready to use way the work I do everyday. Except that the topic is not unveilling the mysteries of the Nature but unlocking the success trigger of your innovation. His DEFT process is simple: you have an idea, you document this idea to gain knowledge, you evaluate it to see risks, you focus on the major ones and the most important one you EXPERIMENT.
The author gives a wide array of tools that can be applied to every innovation project contexts. Moreover this book gives access to some extra contents on the companion website, contents highly pratical and easily reusable for your problems.
Reading this book is like having a consultant giving you advice above the shoulder, highly pratical, simple but powerful ideas, original concrete examples of success and failures, important insights and food for tought.
I bought this book, I read it in one evening and since then it is in my office and I will suspect that it will do the same effect to many other people.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Book.Clears misconception about Innovation 24 Jun. 2014
By Shepra - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am someone who cannot read a book more than once, I get distracted really fast. But I must admit, this book was so wonderfully written that it made me read it twice. Whenever I read business books it was more about theoretical concepts which could not be translated into what I do for my clients. However, this book has a very good balance of theory and application. We all think innovation is about big bang ideas and forget it there. Rarely do we go ahead and execute them, but Scott Anthony has articulated really well about ways to not stop at just ideation but given a framework and process around execution. Large corporations are scared of spending a lot without outcomes, but the iterative approach, testing and learning, getting creative with testing both the idea and solution in this book gives a better approach to allay the fear. Not many of us take the pain of going through the process of customer development. I think this book is a natural extension to Steve Blank's book on Customer Development. The concepts in the book is versatile in that it can be applied to both small and large organizations including startups.

At times things can be really difficult to digest in books. Scott Anthony has done a wonderful job of simplifying things and always looks to tell a story around a concept he wants to convey. Indian Philosoper Chanakya said "Learn from the mistakes of others... you can't live long enough to make them all yourselves!!", hence there are ample examples of companies who have succeeded or failed to tell us what to do and what not to do. Also, the best part was giving us access to frameworks which can be used for our daily work. I'd recommend this book to any business student or professional.

Cons: I have one feedback though. I wish the book would have been a little colorful interms of pictures like the Business Model Generation book by Alexander Osterwalder.
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