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Mastering the Dynamics of Innovation Paperback – October 1, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0875847405 ISBN-10: 0875847404 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 2nd edition (October 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0875847404
  • ISBN-13: 978-0875847405
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #411,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is the most valuable book I've read in years."--Tom Peters -- z

About the Author

Since 1984, Harvard Business School Press has been dedicated to publishing the most contemporary management thinking, written by authors and practitioners who are leading the way. Whether readers are seeking big-picture strategic thinking or tactical problem solving, advice in managing global corporations or for developing personal careers, HBS Press helps fuel the fire of innovative thought. HBS Press has earned a reputation as the springboard of thought for both established and emerging business leaders.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
This book is written in a concise manner that is straightforward and easy to understand.
A. Valentine
As I survey the rapid growth of trading hubs/net market makers in the industrial procurement space, I am struck by the similarity to the examples in the book.
Michael Stanger
It is obvious to all of us that even the strongest product and business strategy will eventually be overturned by technological change.
Robert Morris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael Sandman on February 15, 2003
Verified Purchase
James Utterback has achieved the difficult goal of taking careful scholarship, drawing useful conclusions and presenting the whole package in a highly enjoyable book. He makes a major contribution by distinguishing between product innovation and process innovation and shows how and why the former is likely to come from outside the established industry players, while the latter is more likely to come from inside.
In the process he reaches back into history and covers industries ranging from pond ice to memory chips. Combining his explanation with concepts with Geoffrey Moore's "Crossing the Chasm" provides a powerful means of understanding where innovation comes from and what the barriers are to its success. Utterback's book goes beyond that. It also calls into serious question the idea (posited by Moore and others) that today's "high tech" cycle of innovation is fundamentally different from earlier innovative cycles in other industries. All in all, Utterback uses industrial history in a low-key, fact-based book that shines a clear, bright light on what drove yesterday's technology developments -- and today's.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Lou Agosta (lagosta@21stcentury.net) on March 13, 1999
This is a fascinating and chilling account of technological innovation. It belongs on the recommended list of technology managers and staff alike. Utterback marshals compelling case histories that provide the objective foundations for more popular accounts of technology formation such as Geoffrey Moore's CROSSING THE CHASM (1). We gain insight into why it's so crowded at the bottom. Reasons exist in abundance why firms that epresent established technology are the least likely to perceive the threat represented by radical innovation. It is a slight exaggeration to say Utterback makes current management sound like the last Czar of Russia praising the happiness of the serfs. Yes, perhaps the serfs were happy; but the Bolsheviks weren't. In short, the technological discontinuity is not going to come from established competitors. All the electric typewriter manufacturer's were "taken down" by the Word Processor. But how then to recognize the radical innovation? The key to Utterback's argument is the idea of a "dominant design" of a technology It forms the center of a network of system features, user habits, collateral assets such as brand image, market channel and customer switching costs. By definition, the dominant design wins the market. It is the pattern to which both competitors and incremental innovators must adhere to if they aim at significant following in the current market. It is what radical innovation over-throws. Many case histories are provided. Each of the chapters illuminates an aspect of the dynamics of innovation by drilling down into a specific example. Thomas Edison came late to the race to produce a commercial electric lamp. He succeeded through ingenuity and systematic thinking.Read more ›
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 22, 2001
Utterback explains "how companies can seize opportunities in the face of technological change." There are dozens (hundreds?) of other books on the same subject, notably those written by Geoffrey A. Moore. I rate this book so highly because it is exceptionally well-organized and well-written, because it examines several offbeat subjects (eg the development of the typewriter and the evolution of the typewriter industry, the development of the incandescent electric light), and because Utterback focuses so intensely -- and so effectively -- on real-world situations in which the "dynamics of innovation" are manifest. This book is very informative but also great fun to read. (Those who enjoy it as much as I did are urged to read both The History of Invention and The Lever of Riches.) Chapter 4 revisits the the dynamics of the innovation model (Figure 1-1) and then in Chapter 5, Utterback shifts his attention to developments within the plate glass manufacturing industry. In Chapter 6, he examines the innovation differences between assembled and nonassembled products. Subsequent chapters sustain the discussion of "the power of innovation in the creation of an industry" and then, in Chapter 9, Utterback "draws together some of the lessons of earlier chapters and academic research to consider the relationship between the behaviors and strategies of firms with respect to technological innovation and long-term survival." He concludes his book (in Chapter 10) by addressing "the perennial management issue of how corporations can renew their technology, products, and processes as a basis for continued competitive vitality." It is obvious to all of us that even the strongest product and business strategy will eventually be overturned by technological change. Ours is an age in which change is the only constant.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Valentine on March 9, 2002
Verified Purchase
This book is written in a concise manner that is straightforward and easy to understand. Utterback explains how innovation has evolved over the years, using great examples from a variety of assembled and non-assembled industries. One side note, I found that this book was worth the cover price for the history of industries he mentions alone. Some of the products and industries mentioned in this book include: Incandescent light bulbs, Typewriters, Glass, photography, and Ice. This book is loaded with invaluable nuggets of insight, it is impossible to due it justice in a book review. I highly recommend reading it.
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