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Dealing with Darwin: How Great Companies Innovate at Every Phase of Their Evolution Hardcover – December 29, 2005

33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Innovation" is one of the great buzzwords of management theory, but this treatise accords it a thoroughgoing analysis. Management consultant Moore, author of the bestselling Crossing the Chasm, argues that companies can escape the marginless hell of commodity and price competition only through innovations that differentiate their products from their competitors' in the minds of consumers. He elaborates a taxonomy of 15 "innovation types," from "disruptive" breakthrough technologies like Apple's iTunes to more mundane marketing innovations like hiring a sports superstar to endorse athletic shoes. Unlike many business futurists, Moore doesn't exalt innovation for its own sake, insisting it must be tied to concrete business goals. To help companies determine the right-and wrong-strategies for innovation, he develops an analytical framework that distinguishes emerging from mature market categories and "complex systems" companies that sell pricey customized projects to a few customers from "volume operations" companies that sell standardized products to the masses. Moore illustrates these ideas with real-world examples, biased toward tech-sector companies; an extended case study of innovation-management at networking leviathan Cisco Systems forms the backbone of the book. Moore's approach is somewhat theoretical and replete with diagrams that feature sine waves and fractals. Fortunately, his treatment remains lucid and commonsensical, and offers a wealth of insights for thoughtful managers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Less a cookbook than a detailed menu of meals that can be prepared to turn your competitors into dinosaurs. Brontosaurus burger, anyone?”

Dealing with Darwin provides a lucid and engaging perspective on managing innovation.”
—Ed Zander, CEO, Motorola

“Moore has delivered an innovative and instructive treatise on innovation.”
The Boston Globe

Dealing with Darwin is teeming with ideas and practical advice.... Moore’s new book is a very significant and valuable addition to the strategist’s bookshelf.”
Strategy and Leadership --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio (December 29, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591841070
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591841074
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #910,708 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Geoffrey Moore is an author, speaker, and advisor who splits his consulting time between start-up companies in the Mohr Davidow portfolio and established high-tech enterprises, most recently including Salesforce, Microsoft, Intel, Box, Aruba, Cognizant, and Rackspace.

Moore's life's work has focused on the market dynamics surrounding disruptive innovations. His first book, Crossing the Chasm, focuses on the challenges start-up companies face transitioning from early adopting to mainstream customers. It has sold more than a million copies, and its third edition has been revised such that the majority of its examples and case studies reference companies come to prominence from the past decade. Moore's most recent work, Escape Velocity, addresses the challenge large enterprises face when they seek to add a new line of business to their established portfolio. It has been the basis of much of his recent consulting.

Irish by heritage, Moore has yet to meet a microphone he didn't like and gives between 50 and 80 speeches a year. One theme that has received a lot of attention recently is the transition in enterprise IT investment focus from Systems of Record to Systems of Engagement. This is driving the deployment of a new cloud infrastructure to complement the legacy client-server stack, creating massive markets for a next generation of tech industry leaders.

Moore has a bachelors in American literature from Stanford University and a PhD in English literature from the University of Washington. After teaching English for four years at Olivet College, he came back to the Bay Area with his wife and family and began a career in high tech as a training specialist. Over time he transitioned first into sales and then into marketing, finally finding his niche in marketing consulting, working first at Regis McKenna Inc, then with the three firms he helped found: The Chasm Group, Chasm Institute, and TCG Advisors. Today he is chairman emeritus of all three.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Those who have read one or more of Moore's previous books (notably Inside the Tornado, Crossing the Chasm, and Living on the Fault Line) already know what a clear thinker and eloquent writer he is on the subject of high-tech markets, especially in terms of formulating appropriate strategies and tactics at a time when ever-accelerating change is the only constant within those dynamic markets. In Dealing with Darwin, he develops in much greater depth his response to this question: "How do great companies innovate at every phase of their evolution?" He is convinced (as am I) that there is a process of natural selection which determines why some companies prosper and most others do not.

Moore cites the concept of value disciplines which Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema first introduced in their brilliant book, The Discipline of Market Leaders: Choose Your Customers, Narrow Your Focus, Dominate Your Market. He then identifies four clusters of innovation zones: Product Leadership, Customer Intimacy, Operational Excellence, and Category Renewal. The challenge for decision-makers in any organization (regardless of its size or nature) is to select innovation zone in which to establish and sustain "break away" separation from its competitive set. Moore suggests that this decision be made in terms of three factors:

1. Core competence: different organizations have different assets to exploit

2. Competitive analysis: different sets of competitors leave different openings to exploit

3. Category maturity: Different stages of the category-maturity life cycle reward different forms of innovation

Moore acknowledges an "odd pairing" of innovation leadership at the top with innovation "bubbling up from the bottom." Initiatives from both must be in proper alignment.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mark P. McDonald VINE VOICE on February 12, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I have always enjoyed Geoffrey Moore's books which unfortunately trounced over the same old ground of the technology adoption cycle from different perspectives. This book starts out the same way, but unlike most business books gets better as it moves on.

Overall, parts two and three of this book should be required reading for anyone in Product Strategy, Product Marketing or General Management. Why, well these chapters provide a complete review of the major strategies and tactics involved in managing a business.

Section two talks about innovation strategies based on your company and the state of the market. The clear delineation of strategies for growth, mature, and declining markets provides a framework for plotting the structure and intent of your strategy.

In growing markets: disruptive, application, or product innovation.

In mature markets: Line extension, value engineering, enhancement, integration, marketing experiential, process or value migration innovation.

In declining markets: Organic renewal, acquisition renewal, or harvest and exit.

The clarity of Section II is a breath of fresh air as many strategy books either focus on only one of these types of innovation, or try to talk over your head with the idea that if you don't understand what they are saying, then you must not be strategic enough. This section is clear, directive, filled with examples and a great way to look at strategic direction and choice.

However, Section III of this book has the real gems and the culmination of Moore's ideas and thinking. Here Moore addresses the topic of how to reallocate and evolve the enterprise to achieve its strategy and innovation goals. This is not your typical discussion of change management and change readiness.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Eric D. Brown VINE VOICE on October 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Ever see a book in the bookstore that catches your attention and you realize it was a best-seller sometime in the past? You realize you never picked it up to read it and decide that you should?

That's what happened when I ran across this book.

I heard about this book when it was released in 2005 and always meant to read it...but just never did. Whilst perusing the local Half-Price Books, I decided I'd pick it up and read it...because I'm a book nerd, there is a dinosaur on the cover and I saw what I thought were fractals in the book! :)

I got the book home and started reading...and I made it to page xii in the preface to the paperback edition before realizing I may have made a mistake buying this book. What happened?

I read this passage:

"The key message is simple. In order to achieve competitive advantage in a commoditizing market, one must innovate so dramatically as to create definitive seperation between your offers and those of the low-cost commoditizers. That means selecting a vector of innovation that can set you apart and investing intensely along that vector..."

Huh? The key message is simple but the author makes the message difficult to understand.

Why didn't Mr. Moore just say: To gain competitive advantage, you need to separate yourself from your competitor by choosing an innovation path and investing in that path.

After reading this passage, I was very very skeptical about the rest of the book. Especially after this passage immediately following the above one:

"Extract resource from context to fund core."

What does that mean?
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