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Innovation to the Core: A Blueprint for Transforming the Way Your Company Innovates Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (February 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422102513
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422102510
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"...the 'innovation movement' is gathering momentum"... three "critical" preconditions [are] needed to foster innovation, including "creating time and space in people's lives for reflection, ideation and experimentation." --IndustryWeek, May 1, 2008<br /><br />Instead of simply encouraging workers to be creative, give them tools to "stretch their thinking and develop new perspectives,"...Make innovation an "all-the-time, everywhere" process. --CNNMoney.com, April 16, 2008<br /><br />The good news is that innovation isn't purely a function of brain wattage and fat research budgets...Innovation lurks within myriad nooks and crannies of any company--from the receptionist to the head of information technology. --Forbes.com, April 2, 2008

Instead of simply encouraging workers to be creative, give them tools to "stretch their thinking and develop new perspectives,"...Make innovation an "all-the-time, everywhere" process. --CNNMoney.com, April 16, 2008

"...the 'innovation movement' is gathering momentum"... three "critical" preconditions [are] needed to foster innovation, including "creating time and space in people's lives for reflection, ideation and experimentation." --IndustryWeek, May 1, 2008

About the Author

Peter Skarzynski is CEO and founding Director of Strategos, a consulting firm he co-founded with Gary Hamel. Rowan Gibson is a global business strategist and editor of the international bestseller Rethinking the Future: Rethinking Business, Principles, Competition, Control & Complexity, Leadership, Markets and the World.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Innovation to the core shows you how!
Jorge Barba
The information provided in this book is straightforward and insightful.
Connie Reimers-Hild, PhD, CPC
I recommend it to anyone interested in innovation management.
Mihai Marinescu

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am among those who agree with Michael Porter that "the essence of strategy is choosing what not to do" and with Peter Drucker that "there is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all." These two observations are directly relevant to the material that Peter Skarzynski and Rowan Gibson present as they respond brilliantly to questions such as these:

1. How to create the preconditions for innovation?
2. How to establish a foundation of "novel strategic insights"?
3. How to generate a "torrent" of new opportunities for innovative thinking?
4. How to ask the right questions at the right time?
5. How to construct an "innovation architecture"?
6. How to select, schedule, manage, and leverage investments in innovation?
7. What does "driving to innovation" involve?
8. When doing so, how to balance supply and demand?
9. How to build a "systematic innovation capability"?
10. How to sustain innovation?

The Porter and Drucker observations correctly stress the importance of knowing what not to do as well as knowing what to do. There are countless examples throughout the history of business when brilliant execution had catastrophic consequences. I suspect this is what Gary Hamel had in mind when suggesting in the Introduction that in a world of ever-accelerating change, "innovation is the only insurance against irrelevance. In an environment of steadily decreasing friction and crumbling entry barriers, innovation is the only antidote to margin-crushing competition. And in a global economy where knowledge advantages dissipate ever more rapidly, innovation is the only brake on commoditization.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christian Thun on September 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Innovation to the Core is an excellent book! I can recommend this book to anyone working in large enterprises on innovation, innovation processes or business strategy. While not going deep into the question why innovation is important, the authors role out an extensive plan how to make innovation a core capability of your organization. It is assumed that successful application of this "blueprint" will ultimately lead to sustained competitive advantage through continuous breakthrough innovation both in products and in the business model. The examples of Whirlpool, P&G, IBM, GE and others are used to proof this assumption.

The book is very much focused on the importance of people behind innovation and discusses a wide array of business elements that may need to be changed in order to implement and operate a holistic, seamlessly integrated innovation process. The transformation process and key issues are repeatedly compared to the development of TQM many years ago. An idea that I like because it allows us to learn from experience in the past where companies were challenged with a focus on quality similar to a focus on innovation today.

While this book is great when read with a focus on the key issues surrounding cultural change, values and corporate learning, I can not agree that it is a complete blueprint for making innovation work. The key topic of IT and processes did not get the attention it should have received to complete this book. According to my own experience with global organizations and also to other authors like Prahalad in his latest book on innovation, are IT systems and processes two of the key success factors to a sustainable system of innovation inside the enterprise.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mihai Marinescu on November 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is a guide on how to develop an innovation culture inside an organization. Industry agnostic, and with a lot of good examples, it illustrates the main steps an organization should take to gain a competitive advantage through innovation. Its focus is on new concepts like crowd sourcing and openness to customers, employees and even competitors rather the traditional secrecy of the R&D department, and has a broad perspective on innovation, not simply NPD. I recommend it to anyone interested in innovation management.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAME on November 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Peter Skarzynski and Rowan Gibson have gathered a great deal of background information on innovation. Readers who know the literature on the subject will find many of their suggestions familiar. This is not a criticism, but rather a point of praise: The book intelligently synthesizes techniques for innovation drawn from a wide range of sources to provide an up-to-date set of conceptual tools. Skarzynski and Gibson integrate these tools into a smooth, methodical process that readers can apply immediately. They illustrate their suggestions with examples and continually underscore important points. Actually, getAbstract finds that the book's only weakness is its optimism: The authors write as if every company will be willing to face the challenge of innovation, and dedicate the time and energy needed to tackle it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Braden Kelley on March 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A few weeks ago I received "Innovation to the Core" by Rowan Gibson and Peter Skarzynski (with an introuction by Gary Hamel) in the mail. "Innovation to the Core" weighs in at 295 pages, but it is an easy, and pleasant read. The book is full of a lot of great material, and the influence of Gary Hamel is evident in several of the chapters.

The book starts with a premise that I agree with, which is that too many companies view innovation as a specialized activity to be handled by specialists - in much the same way that people viewed the quality movement in its early days. Now of course companies endeavor to embed quality throughout the entire organization and seek to make it a core competency. The same thing now needs to happen with innovation in organizations that want to be able to both sustain themselves and win in the long term:

"Despite the gargantuan nature of the challenge, building a deep, systemic capability for innovation is now the inescapable imperative for every company - as important to an organization's success and survival as the quality movement was in its day."

To create the preconditions for systemic innovation you have to:

1.Create time and space for reflection, ideation, and experimentation
2.Maximize the diversity of thinking
3.Foster connection and conversation ("combinational chemistry")

Before reading this book, I've been trying to convince people that insights are more important than ideas and that the quality of a company's insights and execution are what will differentiate the winners from the losers in today's marketplace. This insights conversation has always been difficult because people always want to jump to the ideas - thinking that the idea is king.
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