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Reverse Innovation: Create Far From Home, Win Everywhere Hardcover – April 10, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


Named a Best Business Book for 2012 in strategy+business magazine

“Whether you are an executive of a global company or you are simply interested in innovation among cultural differences, creativity, and diversity, this is a lovely and persuasive read.” — Business Insider

“In Reverse Innovation: Create Far from Home, Win Everywhere, Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble make a compelling argument for companies to not just widen their lens, but shift it to a completely different context— that of developing economies.” — strategy+business magazine

“This lovely, persuasive work couples the focused repetition of a good textbook with the lively style of an entertaining article.” — Directorship (South Africa)

“Highly recommended... released this year to a chorus of approval from global business leaders this book explains the way in which the flow of innovation has changed... Reverse Innovation shows senior managers how to make innovation in emerging markets happen, and how these innovations can unlock business opportunities on a global scale - using real-life case studies to illustrate the theories.” — Business Executive

“The book presents its ideas clearly, with about half devoted to the general concepts and the other half to case examples of companies such as GE, Procter & Gamble and PepsiCo, which are leading the way in reverse innovation. If your company can benefit from reverse innovation – or might suffer from it—the book is well worth reading.” — Globe & Mail

“…a book that offers provocative insights into the quickly changing dynamics of the global economy.” “The book is rich with examples…” — The Wall Street Journal

“In Reverse Innovation, [the authors] argue that…western businesses must similarly learn new tricks from their emerging markets. It is an idea that they have been championing for years and which has become increasingly fashionable.” — The Financial Times

“The book, an extension of a 2009 Harvard Business Review article that Govindarajan and Trimble co-authored with General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, reads like a how-to guide for executives looking to innovate beyond the U.S. and Europe...It's a useful and even inspiring read for any executive who cares about the future of business innovation.” —

Reverse Innovation is a must read for anyone seeking to participate in emerging markets, be they CEOs of multinationals, leaders of NGOs, or government policy makers.” — Stanford Social Innovation Review

“This accessible new book...provides a clear evaluation of the issues faced and expert advice on how to implement a reverse innovation strategy.” — Developing Leaders

“Govindarajan [and Trimble] writes about how reverse innovation is rapidly changing the way companies think and how that’s affecting the way they look at markets.” — Fortune (India)

“This insightful book makes a compelling case for the developing world supplying the strongest emerging market of the new century.” — Publishers Weekly

“This is a fascinating book for anyone interested in how concepts of innovation need to change in order to succeed, and an even more important book for those who can actually take part on the level the authors advise.” — 800 CEO READ

“A well-researched and thoughtful book.” — The Irish Times

“This book shows how, counter-intuitively, there are many circumstances when business models and products developed in emerging markets can provide new opportunities in rich economies also.” —

ADVANCE PRAISE for Reverse Innovation:

Jeffrey R. Immelt, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, General Electric—
“Govindarajan and Trimble offer a framework for the next phase of globalization.”

Robert A. McDonald, Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Procter & Gamble Co.—
Reverse Innovation is a playbook for leaders who want to unlock growth in emerging markets.”

William D. Green, Chairman, Accenture—
“Innovation knows no geographic boundaries. This book is a defining work on how we invest and engage the future.”

Omar Ishrak, Chief Executive Officer, Medtronic, Inc.—
"Unique and important work, hard-hitting examples, detailed and actionable steps, and clear explanations.”

Ajay Banga, President and Chief Executive Officer, MasterCard—
“As the world’s economic center of gravity continues to shift—and as new consumers continue to emerge—it’s clear that the logic and business practices that drove yesterday’s success won’t drive tomorrow’s.”

Peter F. Volanakis, Former Chief Operating Officer, Corning Technologies—
“I wish I had this book ten years ago."

About the Author

Vijay Govindarajan is the Earl C. Daum 1924 Professor of International Business at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, and the first Professor-in-Residence and Chief Innovation Consultant at General Electric. He ranked third in the recent Thinkers 50 list of the greatest management thinkers in the world. Chris Trimble, a well-known innovation speaker and consultant, is also on the faculty at Tuck.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422157644
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422157640
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mal Warwick on April 30, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Back in 2004, a respected marketing professor at the University of Michigan named C. K. Prahalad raised eyebrows in the business community with a widely-read book titled The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. In 25 words or less, he postulated that multinational corporations could grow their markets and their bottom line by reaching out to the billions of poor people who crowd emerging nations across the globe. Much of Prahalad's book consisted of "case studies" -- written by his graduate students -- that purported to support his thesis. Unfortunately, practically none of them did.

Here, eight years later, is the book that Prahalad -- now, unfortunately, deceased -- should have written. Govindarajan, a professor at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business, and Trimble, a younger Tuck faculty member, have formulated a concept they call "reverse innovation" that is the key to doing business in those emerging markets that excited Prahalad's lust. Their book, too, is dominated by case studies, but in this case the examples do a good job of illustrating how multinational companies have successfully developed products that gained a foothold in developing countries -- though by no means necessarily at "the bottom of the pyramid."

"Reverse innovation" -- an ethnocentric term -- begins with the conventional wisdom that business innovation takes place in rich countries but asserts that transnational corporations wishing to become established in developing markets must cast off traditional thinking and develop products and services within those markets and base them on the needs and wants of people living there.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By john moran on April 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great business books tend to either explain world-changing phenomena (e.g., Steven Johnson's Where Good Ideas Come From) or prescribe steps to become more successful (e.g., Jim Collins' Good to Great).

Reverse Innovation does both. It builds on groundbreaking earlier frameworks (including Clay Christensen's theory of disruptive innovation and Govindarajan and Trimble's own models of innovation execution) to both describe, and explain how to make use of, an astonishing phenomenon: emerging-market innovations that "defy gravity" to gain traction in developed economies.

This trend is real, and the authors have the examples to prove it - from John Deere and GE to numerous small companies and entrepreneurs you've never heard of. But the best part of the book is the combination of practical, how-to advice (they provide counterintuitive organizational steps to "create far from home and win everywhere") with the illustrations of how this trend is literally changing billions of lives.

The potential to win in rich markets as well as poor will attract every major corporation to solve the problems of those not at the "top of the pyramid." This is capitalism at its best: the profit motive as a phenomenal engine for the welfare of the entire world. Kudos to Govindarajan and Trimble for both uncovering the trend and providing a playbook for everyone to take advantage of it.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Pepijn Veling on April 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
World-class open-heart surgery for up to 1% of the costs of rich world comparables...: `Reverse innovations' - innovations developed for and adopted first in developing countries - have shown major potential in both emerging and, increasingly, developed markets.

The authors clearly outline why multinationals everywhere must and how they can learn to develop such compelling reverse innovations, in order to compete both far from home in vast and fast growing emerging markets, as well as in their own backyards.

A very exciting must-read for both those who are interested in sustaining business viability, as well as academics interested in exploring a rather new and stirring field of innovation sciences.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rishikesha Krishnan on November 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In the mid-1970s, the Xerox Corporation faced the first real threat to its domination of the photocopying industry. This threat did not come from IBM or Kodak, the large American companies that had entered the industry. Instead it came from Canon and Ricoh, at that time relatively small Japanese companies.

Xerox had fortified the technological lead it enjoyed due to its patent-protected technology with strong customer relationships, a renowned service network, and a business model built around leasing large and fast copiers to central photocopying facilities within company locations. Realizing that they couldn't possibly beat Xerox in head-on competition, Canon and Ricoh chose to change the rules of the game. They sold small, relatively slow copiers with limited functionality yet high reliability to individual managers within companies who were looking for options to meet their own copying needs.

Xerox was caught on the wrong foot. With a large base of machines leased out to customers, it was difficult for the company to shift to a model of outright sales. Further, within the US operations, they lacked a small copier product that could compete with what the Japanese were offering.

Ironically though, Xerox's Japanese affiliate - Fuji Xerox, a joint venture with Fuji Photo Film - had developed small copiers of its own that were particularly suited to the Japanese market. Yet, in a typical case of one-way information flows that often seems to characterize MNCs, Xerox failed to immediately recognize or exploit the products created by Fuji Xerox to compete more effectively with Canon and Ricoh in the US market. By the time they did it was too late.

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