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The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators [Hardcover]

Jeff Dyer , Hal Gregersen , Clayton M. Christensen
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 July 2011
Some people are just natural innovators, right? With no apparent effort, they discover ideas for new products, services, and entire businesses. It may look like innovators are born, not made. But according to Jeffrey Dyer and Hal Gregersen, anyone can become more innovative.

How? Master the discovery skills that distinguish innovative entrepreneurs and executives from ordinary managers. In The Innovator's DNA, the authors identify five capabilities demonstrated by the best innovators:

  • Associating: drawing connections between questions, problems, or ideas from unrelated fields
  • Questioning: posing queries that challenge common wisdom
  • Observing: scrutinizing the behavior of customers, suppliers, and competitors to identify new ways of doing things
  • Experimenting: constructing interactive experiences and provoking unorthodox responses to see what insights emerge
  • Networking: meeting people with different ideas and perspectives

The authors explain how to generate ideas with these skills, collaborate with "delivery-driven" colleagues to implement ideas, and build innovation skills throughout your organization to sharpen its competitive edge. They also provide a self-assessment for rating your own innovator's DNA.

Practical and provocative, this book is an essential resource for all teams seeking to strengthen their innovative prowess.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business School Press (1 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422134814
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422134818
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 149,138 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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A well-constructed and well-researched work that adds to the sum of knowledge on innovation.
--Irish Times, August 22, 2011

About the Author

Jeffrey Dyer is the Horace Beesley Professor of Strategy at the Marriott School, Brigham Young University. He is widely published in strategy and business journals and was the fourth most cited management scholar in 1996-2006. Hal Gregersen is a professor of leadership at INSEAD. He consults to organizations around the world on innovation, globalization, and transformation and has published extensively in leading academic and business journals. Clay Christensen is the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and the architect of and the world’s foremost authority on disruptive innovation.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By Robert Morris TOP 100 REVIEWER
As is true of others who have written business books that also offer breakthrough insights, the authors of this one set out to answer an especially important question: "Where do disruptive business models come from?" What Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton Christensen concluded is shared in this book. It's too early to be certain, of course, but I think this book is destined to become a "business classic," as have so many of the other books that Christensen has authored or co-authored. It is worth noting that The Innovator's DNA emerged from an eight-year collaborative study, suggesting that its information, insights, and counsel are research-driven, anchored in the real world.

Some of the most valuable material was generated by interviews of dozens of "inventors of revolutionary products and services as well as founders and CEOs of game-changing companies build on innovative ideas." They also include what they learned from Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and Howard Schultz (whom they did not interview) whose innovative thinking has transformed entire industries. "We wanted to understand as much about these people as possible, including the moment (when and how) they came up with the creative ideas that launched new products or businesses."

The title of this book refers to an aggregate of five primary discovery skills that enable various innovative entrepreneurs and executives to generate breakthrough ideas. "A critical insight from our research is that one's ability to generate innovative ideas is not merely the function of the mind, but also a function of behaviors. This is good news for us all because it means that if we change our behaviors, we can change our creative impact.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful and clearly explained. 15 Aug 2011
By S Smyth
This book is useful to the extent that it identifies and rationalises the things that those of an innovative mind already do, but not necessarily to the degree, emphasis and interconnectedness that would make them more effective innovators.

In addition, the principles described in this book, can be applied to a broad range of activities, such as pertain to industry and the liberal arts. Which is not surprising, since the development of an innovator's increased powers of association, are to be derived from a broad range of influences, as described for the Steve Jobs' example.

The website material that is mentioned in the book is also a useful adjunct, since it provides the means with which to self-assess one's potential as an innovator, and provides guidance about how one may take steps to improve one's potential as an innovator who is better able to prosper in an increasingly globalized and knowledge dependent economy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Innovation demystified 17 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Really good analysis of what makes up successful innovation. Effective guidance on how to improve one's innovation capability. Based on solid research. All entrepreneurs should read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Discovery in a tough delivery world 15 Mar 2014
By Tof
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The authors do a very good job at explaining and illustrating the 5 key skills of innovators. They also propose a way to find a better balance in would-be innovative companies between the fight for daily delivery and the need for discovery through smart, effective, fast risk-taking.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational 11 Dec 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well written and structured. I found myself using elements of the book in everyday activities as I was reading it. Anyone who wants to make a difference and is wondering why it's not happening could find out here.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Was worth the read 3 Oct 2013
By Paschal
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
On the verge of working on an innovative product. The book gave lots of insight on how to get about this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and valuable insights 22 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a valuable book for anybody who wants to understand how to make innovation really work, rather than paying lip-service to the mantra.

It is based on close study of a range of people who have been successful at innovating consistently over the years, and distills their experience into a range of activities. I have heard innovation described as "non-linear and chaotic", and often it appears so to the outsider. Reading this book shows that it is nothing like this label; effective innovation is directed and energetic, and driven by values that are identified in this book.

Buy it for great insights either to improve how you innovate or else to help you manage the innovative talent around you!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting book
The topic and approach is useful. I bought the audio version and the narrator's voice is ok. It is, however, fairly repetitive, which is a shame.
Published 3 months ago by Sue (gamer)
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking but not genius
Sometimes states the obvious. Also constantly referencing RIM doesn't do much for the credibility of this book. Some points do make you think.
Published 4 months ago by JaneE
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Heard about this innovators dna and decided to give it a go just reading it now and it appears interesting.
Published 19 months ago by D Dorah
5.0 out of 5 stars Workable, hands-on guide to practices that improve innovation
Innovation gurus Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen and Clayton M. Christensen studied today's innovators and synthesized their findings into this immediately applicable handbook. Read more
Published on 3 Aug 2012 by Rolf Dobelli
5.0 out of 5 stars A Useful Addition to the Disruptive Innovation Book Series
"But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. Read more
Published on 21 July 2012 by Donald Mitchell
3.0 out of 5 stars Valuable insights way too extensively explained
Okay, I got it: innovators excel at one or more of four skills (questioning, observing, networking and experimenting), through which they draw new associations between things... Read more
Published on 6 Feb 2012 by Frederic De Meyer
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