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The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators Hardcover – 19 Jul 2011
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This final entry in coauthor Christensen’s innovation trilogy complements his influential The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997) and coauthored The Innovator’s Solution (2003) with a notably accessible style.” The Journal of Product Innovation Management
pocket-sized map to your innovation journey” Strategy+Business
The Innovator’s DNA is a fascinating book, filled with stellar examples, and of course tips, to enhance creativity in your life. I highly recommend this book to chemical engineers for both personal and organizational development.” American Institute of Chemical Engineers
Through numerous examples of innovative people and companies, the authors inspire readers to make a positive impact through innovation. Summing Up: Highly recommended.” CHOICE
The book will challenge readers to think differently and act differently to generate creative ideas for new products, services, processes and businesses.” Malcolm Rittman, CMI (Reviewed as Chartered Management Institute’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Book of the Year 2011)
A terrific and inspiring read, very accessible and deceptively easy to absorb. It provides an accurate reflection of what is known about innovation today and I really believe that it will have an impact on actual practice and on raising people’s aspirations in regard to innovation.” Professor James Fleck, Professor of Innovation Dynamics at The Open University
The Innovator’s DNA is a book that should interest a broad audience, including inventors, researchers, and professors seeking greater creativity in their teaching and research. Read it to find inspiration and ways to put down your knitting.” PRISM Magazine
one of the most interesting books on innovation to come along in a while.” - Ottawa Business Journal
The book adds a great deal to our understanding of the mindset of path breaking innovators.” San Jose Mercury News
the book is easy to read, jammed with examples and, at a time when innovation is a beacon, offers an interesting model to consider.” Globe & Mail
Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO, salesforce.com; author, Behind the Cloud
Businesses worldwide have been guided and influenced by The Innovator’s Dilemma and The Innovator’s Solution. Now The Innovator’s DNA shows where it all starts. This book gives you the fundamental building blocks for becoming more innovative and changing the world. One of the most important books to come out this year, and one that will remain pivotal reading for years to come.”
Scott D. Cook, Chairman of the Executive Committee, Intuit Inc.
The Innovator’s DNA is the how to’ manual to innovation, and to the fresh thinking that is the root of innovation. It has dozens of simple tricks that any person and any team can use today to discover the new ideas to solve the important problems. Buy it now and read it tonight. Tomorrow you will learn more, create more, inspire more.”
Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Leader in Me
The Innovator’s DNA sheds new light on the once-mysterious art of innovation by showing that successful innovators exhibit common behavioral habitshabits that can boost anyone’s creative capacity.”
A.G. Lafley, retired Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, The Procter & Gamble Company
Having worked with Clayton Christensen on innovation for over a decade, I can see that The Innovator’s DNA continues to stretch our thinking with insights that challenge convention and enable progress in the important cause of innovation . . . so critical to competitiveness and growth.”
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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.
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."
It should also be noting that an abundance of entrepreneurial research throughout the past 17-20 years reveals that, in terms of personality traits or psychometric measures, entrepreneurs do not differ significantly from typical (even traditional) business executives. My take is that almost anyone in almost any workplace can develop the five discovery skills. The extent and velocity of that development will largely depend on leadership. "The bottom line: If you want innovation [enterprise wide], you need creativity skills within the top management team of your company."
The co-authors include a disclaimer (sort of): "First, engaging in the discovery skills doesn't ensure financial success...Second, failure (in a financial sense) often results from not being vigilant in engaging all the discovery skills...Third, we spotlight different innovators and innovative companies to illustrate key ideas or principles, but not [repeat NOT] to set them up as perfect examples of how to be innovative."
The five Discovery Skills are hardly head-snappers: Associating with stimuli (mind, heart, and five senses); Questioning anything and everything, especially one's assumptions and premises; Observing with intent and intensity, noting what many others miss; Networking by connecting people as well as dots while accessing new (i.e. unfamiliar) resources; and Experimenting (e.g. test the untested, disassemble and deconstruct, prototype, add new knowledge). In the most innovative organizations or portions thereof, all five are institutionalized in terms of incentives and rewards, division of labor, allocating resources, transparency, cross-functional collaboration, recognition/celebration, and (yes) protection for prudent but bold risk-takers.
Not everyone is willing and/or able to thrive in such a culture. Disruption is by nature messy, unpredictable, confusing, upsetting, and often threatening. When Joseph Schumpeter introduced the process of "creative destruction," his ultimate objective was, in fact, creative creation. Just as Albert Einstein urges us to make everything as simple as possible but no simpler, Schumpeter urges us to destroy everything except what is essential...and then build on that. The authors of this book urge us to strengthen the five skills through individual and team initiatives that are guided and informed by a business model that, if it is designed properly, will be continuously self-disruptive.
Innovation is one of those subjects about which there is a lot of agreement ... and disagreement. Some people believe innovation is inborn, while others argue that it is mostly learned behavior. Some people find it so hard to develop new ideas that they spend much time learning how to think differently, without much considering if those different thoughts are helpful or not. Others have so many different ideas that they have difficulty focusing on just a few of them.
Into such agreement and disagreement, individual studies of actual innovators and non-innovators can be helpful in pointing out differences. If the differences can be learned, then others can become innovators. That's the premise behind this book.
Disruptive innovations are those that leave existing business models and offerings hung out to dry, such as what happened to Bowmar and its portable electronic calculator business. Most innovation is, instead, incremental, providing just a little twist on what's always been done in an evolutionary change. If you have read any other books in this series, you know that most organizations focus on incremental innovation because it is so immediately profitable ... leaving the competitive door open for those with disruptive approaches.
In The Innovator's DNA, the authors use about 80 interviews of disruptive innovators and survey information for a large number of non-innovators to identify that these factors are important (as summarized in the model found described by Figure 1-1 on page 27:
(1) Courage to innovate
(1a) Challenging the status quo
(1b) Taking risks
(2) Engaging in helpful behaviors
(3) Cognitive skill to synthesize novel inputs (characterized as associational thinking)
The book goes on to describe these characteristics in more detail and to suggest ways to increase your effective use of them through people, processes, and organizational philosophies.
To greatly oversimplify the book's key point, you should assume that there's an enormously valuable disruptive innovation waiting for you to discover that will greatly reward you for your efforts. Therefore, making finding that disruptive innovation your top activity and organize accordingly.
If someone told you that you could count on finding large flawless natural diamonds by simply looking around for them where you live and work, you would certainly be looking. And if, in fact, there were such diamonds, you would be more likely to find them.
So are disruptive innovations almost always available. Well, my research and teaching experiences have convinced me that's the case. This book, however, doesn't try to make that case. It just assumes it to be true in a tacit way.
How applied is the information? Well, it's great for someone new to the subject. For someone who isn't, it's pretty simplified. As a result, this book will mainly appear to those who don't have a clue how to start looking for a disruptive innovation, and that's all to the good.
I must admit that I think the notion of an innovation premium in stocks probably can't be accurately verified by the methods used in this book. It just assumes any premium is due to innovation. My own research shows that innovation is only one factor in gaining and retaining a stock-price premium value. So take that bit with a big grain of salt.
Otherwise, the work is solid ... as far as it goes.
I do hope the authors will do a more applied version of this work aimed at those who are more advanced practitioners of disruptive innovation. Now, that would be a most helpful book!
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