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on 7 September 2010
This book will appeal to several audiences in the public, private and non profit sectors - directors (including non execs), managers leading innovation projects, experts in IT, HR, Finance, organisation design and academics. I think it would be a good read for politicians too.

Each chapter has 1-2 pages of recommendations and observations. At the end there are 13 pages of assessment tools and 11 pages about the research process.
The research evidence is very impressive and presented in a clear, logical format. It provides detailed insight into the issues and approach about how to design and establish teams to 'solve the execution challenge'. It uses the same approach to explain the need for focussed experiments to discover how to (and by implication whether to continue to) implement the potential innovation.

The book stresses how important it is to learn effectively and frequently and then act on what has been learned. I found this aspect most useful - we hear so much, well intentioned, general advice about learning lessons. This is specific-it shows the benefits of acting on the lessons we have identified.

It is not a book for readers who want insights on how to have creative, innovative ideas in the first place!

I have also read and use Nick Milton's book.The Lessons Learned Handbook: Practical Knowledge-Based Approach to Learning from Experience.

This book does what it says in the title. The 2 books complement each other.
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on 20 July 2011
This is a long-overdue book. The authors have analysed a range of businesses and identified what happens after the buzz of the brainstorming has passed. From my own experience, I recognise, in this book, things that worked and why some things did not. It contains practical advice and a structure - plus warnings. It's not a rule book; it needs to be used intelligently not slavishly.

This should be on the shelf of any executive who has to manage innovation and deliver value to the business. I've already bought another copy to give to somebody else!
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on 9 August 2015
If only more people would read this. Innovation has become an overused and misused buzzword and this book goes a long way to helping understand the challenges and how to overcome them. Being able to identify the different challenges for small, medium and large companies is particularly insighful and ought to be read by every local authority economic development officer.....
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on 15 February 2014
This book does exactly what it sets out to do. It explains their key lessons about executing innovation drawing on a wide range of case studies from a variety of industries around the world.

They are well chosen studies to illustrate the points they wish to make and give a range of insights if you want to try and implement them in your business
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on 1 October 2010
This is a well structured and argued book that looks at the execution challenge of innovation. The distinction it calls between idea generation and innovation is already well established but it provides an insightful analysis into the nature of the challenges of successful radical innovation - the reasons why innovation is risky and the issues that need to be considered in setting out to succeed.

A great analysis of the issues with some new thinking both in perspective and expression
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on 14 January 2015
there are some excellent observations and food for thought but the authors get a bit lost in the second half of the book. This book could have been half the length and still be worth the money.
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on 11 April 2014
The best book I've read for understanding why organisations resist innovation and how to overcome this and make innovation projects work.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 12 October 2010
In their previous collaboration, Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators: From Idea to Execution, Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble recommend following "Ten Rules" throughout a collaborative innovation process. They affirm the value of strategic experiments because they can have high revenue growth potential, focus on emerging or poorly defined industries, test an unproven business model, involve radical departure from existing business, require allocation of at least some existing assets and competencies, develop new knowledge and capabilities, create discontinuous rather than incremental value creation, have greater uncertainty across multiple functions, tend to be unprofitable for several quarters (or more), and offer little (if any) indication of performance, at least initially. In other words, strategic experiments can be - and almost always are -- messy and unpredictable.

As I began to read this book, I was reminded of a statement by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.: "I don't care a fig about simplicity on this side of complexity but I would give my life for simplicity on the other side of complexity." Now consider what Govindarajan and Trimble observe in their Introduction: "There is a Rainier-like summit in the innovation journey. It is the moment a company says yes! That's a great idea! Let's take it to the market! Let's make it happen!...Getting to the summit can seem like the fulfillment of a dream, but it is not enough. After the summit comes the other side of innovation - the challenges beyond the idea. [begin italics] Execution. [end italics] Like Rainier, it is the other side of the adventure that is actually more difficult. It is the other side that holds hidden dangers. But because the summit itself has such strong appeal, the other side is usually an afterthought. It is humdrum. It is behind the scenes. It is dirty work."

The "journey" metaphor is appropriate because Govindarajan and Trimble embarked (like Odysseus) on a ten-year journey during which they completed research on a number of well-known and well-respected companies (e.g. Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, The New York Times, and Unilever) and interviewed dozens of senior-level executives at dozens of other companies that include Aetna, Allstate, Ben & Jerry's, BMW, Citigroup, GE, Harley-Davidson, Mattel, Procter & Gamble, Sony, and Timberland. What they learned about what works, what doesn't, and why during efforts to reach "the other side of innovation" is shared in abundance in this book.

The challenge for leaders of innovation initiatives (whatever the scope and nature of those initiatives may be) must help their organization to achieve and then sustain an appropriate balance between "foundational" operations that are on-going and repeatable, and, experimental operations that non-routine and often disruptive. To help prepare leaders to meet this challenge, Govindarajan and Trimble explain how to

o Build a dedicated team
o Define a partnership of the team with the "Performance Engine"
o Obtain support from senior-level executives
o Anticipate and prepare for resistance and conflict
o Achieve buy-in
o Devise and conduct a "disciplined" experiment
o Identify information needs
o Focus on learning when evaluating results
o Achieve transparency through effective communication
o Create a framework for accountability

These are worthy objectives, to be sure, but by no means easy to achieve. It is important to keep in mind that all organizations are works in progress and the same is true of each of those who are involved with them. Innovation initiatives are by nature messy, disjointed, flawed, and (yes) frustrating. Hence the importance of seeing each "failure" as a precious learning opportunity. It is possible to be prudent without also being risk-averse. Credit Govindarajan and Trimble with providing a wealth of valuable information, accompanied by rock-solid advice that is anchored in real-world situations.

It is not necessary but, in my opinion, highly desirable to read their earlier book, Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators: From Idea to Execution, first before reading this one.
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This book blazes a new trail for innovators who want to do more than come up with creative ideas; they want to make new things happen. Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble, faculty members at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business, offer a "ready reference" filled with down-to-earth approaches for moving innovation initiatives forward within established companies. The book is based on 10 years of scholarly research but it is written in practical terms. It unhooks innovation from anything that would undermine it, including some cherished myths about big ideas and rebellious leaders. The book offers a professional process for putting innovation in action, which requires discipline, a "Dedicated Team" and an unbiased approach to learning from experimentation. Govindarajan and Trimble provide real-life examples and detailed advice directed to "innovation leaders," in particular. getAbstract recommends this solid text also to executives, HR professionals, financial managers and anyone with a stake in innovation. (Whether you are in academia or not, note the fine "Scholarly Foundations" appendix, where the authors explain the genesis of their concepts.)
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on 13 August 2010
I found the depth of research astounding. I felt the accurate observations highlighted by the book are of use to any organisation, both Blue chip and SME, to ensure they do not waste vital resources and change their current profit centres unnecessarily.

The book helps to break down the understanding needed to innovate innovation management into a discipline that can be taught as a subject area on any MBA course. It breaks down all aspects needed in the process of innovation from the inception of the idea to the perspiration needed to commercialise it. It highlights how the notion of the synergy effect can be leveraged and its importance in management of a process.

This book compliments my research on how companies can grow by understanding the risks and complexities and the need to understand the importance of management.

I hope all the readers benefit in the same way I have.
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