2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A decent book on knowledge management in corporations,
This review is from: Wellsprings of Knowledge: Building and Sustaining the Sources of Innovation (Hardcover)Dorothy Leonard's book was one of a wave of books on knowledge management (in a corporate context), a topic fairly popular in the 1990s. The book - expanded from a previous article the author wrote on the same topic - is perhaps most memorable for it's core capabilities / core rigidities concept. Or expressed differently, many of the things, which distinguish a company and raise it above the competition can and are also limiting the company in learning and change.
This concept marries up well with the difficulties of achieving architectural innovation - i.e. an innovation, where existing components are combined into a new, different product / defining a new product class - in a company on a repeated basis. The organizational rigidity that tends to set in after one such successful innovation tends to prevent further ones from happening later on. While one can always find examples to the contrary, it is a pretty apt descriptions of how most large corporations work and this makes the book a useful read.
This is of course not all there is to this book, there are specific chapters on shared problem solving, integrating new tools into an organization, experimenting and prototyping, dealing with the 'not invented here syndrome', learning from the market, transfering product development into developing nations and how to keep the innovative capabilities continuous.
The concepts might not be significantly more insightful than those of other authors of the time on the same topic but the book is coherent and very well written (i.e. can easily be read, and the lessons applied by all levels of management) - in that respect it will beat books such as Nonaka and Takeuchi's The Knowledge-Creating Company (Harvard Business Review Classics) hands down.