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The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators [Kindle Edition]

Clayton M. Christensen , Jeff Dyer , Hal Gregersen
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A new classic, cited by leaders and media around the globe as a highly recommended read for anyone interested in innovation.

In The Innovator’s DNA, authors Jeffrey Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and bestselling author Clayton Christensen (The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Innovator’s Solution, How Will You Measure Your Life?) build on what we know about disruptive innovation to show how individuals can develop the skills necessary to move progressively from idea to impact.

By identifying behaviors of the world’s best innovators—from leaders at Amazon and Apple to those at Google, Skype, and Virgin Group—the authors outline five discovery skills that distinguish innovative entrepreneurs and executives from ordinary managers: Associating, Questioning, Observing, Networking, and Experimenting.

Once you master these competencies (the authors provide a self-assessment for rating your own innovator’s DNA), the authors explain how to generate ideas, collaborate to implement them, and build innovation skills throughout the organization to result in a competitive edge. This innovation advantage will translate into a premium in your company’s stock price—an innovation premium—which is possible only by building the code for innovation right into your organization’s people, processes, and guiding philosophies.

Practical and provocative, The Innovator’s DNA is an essential resource for individuals and teams who want to strengthen their innovative prowess.

Editorial Reviews


“The process of Low End Disruption is beautifully described in Clayton Christensen’s series of books: The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Innovator’s Solution and The Innovator’s DNA. If you haven’t read them, you should. What’s amazing about these books is not only how important their conclusions are but how well researched they are.” — TechCrunch

“This final entry in coauthor Christensen’s innovation trilogy complements his influential The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997) and coauthored The Innovator’s Solution (2003) with a notably accessible style.” — The Journal of Product Innovation Management

“pocket-sized map…to your innovation journey” — Strategy+Business

The Innovator’s DNA is a fascinating book, filled with stellar examples, and of course tips, to enhance creativity in your life. I highly recommend this book to chemical engineers for both personal and organizational development.” — American Institute of Chemical Engineers

“Through numerous examples of innovative people and companies, the authors inspire readers to make a positive impact through innovation. Summing Up: Highly recommended.” — CHOICE

“The book will challenge readers to think differently and act differently to generate creative ideas for new products, services, processes and businesses.” — Malcolm Rittman, CMI (Reviewed as Chartered Management Institute’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Book of the Year 2011)

“A terrific and inspiring read, very accessible and deceptively easy to absorb. It provides an accurate reflection of what is known about innovation today and I really believe that it will have an impact on actual practice and on raising people’s aspirations in regard to innovation.” — Professor James Fleck, Professor of Innovation Dynamics at The Open University

The Innovator’s DNA is a book that should interest a broad audience, including inventors, researchers, and professors seeking greater creativity in their teaching and research. Read it to find inspiration – and ways to put down your knitting.” – PRISM Magazine

“one of the most interesting books on innovation to come along in a while.” - Ottawa Business Journal

“The book adds a great deal to our understanding of the mindset of path breaking innovators.” – San Jose Mercury News

“the book is easy to read, jammed with examples and, at a time when innovation is a beacon, offers an interesting model to consider.” – Globe & Mail

Marc Benioff, Chairman and CEO,; author, Behind the Cloud
“Businesses worldwide have been guided and influenced by The Innovator’s Dilemma and The Innovator’s Solution. Now The Innovator’s DNA shows where it all starts. This book gives you the fundamental building blocks for becoming more innovative and changing the world. One of the most important books to come out this year, and one that will remain pivotal reading for years to come.”

Scott D. Cook, Chairman of the Executive Committee, Intuit Inc.—
The Innovator’s DNA is the ‘how to’ manual to innovation, and to the fresh thinking that is the root of innovation. It has dozens of simple tricks that any person and any team can use today to discover the new ideas to solve the important problems. Buy it now and read it tonight. Tomorrow you will learn more, create more, inspire more.”

Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Leader in Me
The Innovator’s DNA sheds new light on the once-mysterious art of innovation by showing that successful innovators exhibit common behavioral habits—habits that can boost anyone’s creative capacity.”

A.G. Lafley, retired Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, The Procter & Gamble Company—
“Having worked with Clayton Christensen on innovation for over a decade, I can see that The Innovator’s DNA continues to stretch our thinking with insights that challenge convention and enable progress in the important cause of innovation . . . so critical to competitiveness and growth.”

About the Author

Jeffrey Dyer is the Horace Beesley Professor of Strategy at the Marriott School, Brigham Young University. He is widely published in strategy and business journals and was the fourth most cited management scholar in 1996-2006. Hal Gregersen is the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank Chaired Professor of Innovation and Leadership at INSEAD. He delivers workshops to organizations around the world on innovation and has published over 50 articles in leading academic and business journals. Clayton M. Christensen is the Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and the architect of and the world's foremost authority on disruptive innovation.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1560 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1422134814
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press; 1 edition (July 12, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0054KBLRC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,912 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Where do disruptive ideas come from?" July 8, 2011
Companies that are seen as innovators command an "innovation premium" in the market, and for good reason. These are the companies that not only adapt to changing conditions, but lead the way through them.

The five discovery skills--building blocks of innovation--that are identified in this book were arrived at through extensive research (8 years and over 100 interviews), which separates it from the bulk of the existing books on innovation that too often trumpet a methodology that worked in one case at one organization as being a universal solution.

The surprising revelation is that these five building blocks are behaviors, not traits that you are either born with or will never have. These are habits that can be learned and mastered through practice.

Although the ideas will be familiar to readers on creativity and innovation, they take on new meaning when presented in this context and prioritized based on the researcher's findings. For example, two of the five behaviors are universal and appear to be essential, while the other three showed up frequently, but not every one of those behaviors is practiced in every case.

The later part of this book gives practical ideas on how to integrate these habits into the 3P's (people, processes, and philosophies) of an organization.

I had high expectations for this book and it did not disappoint.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
As is true of others who have written business books that also offer breakthrough insights, the authors of this one set out to answer an especially important question: "Where do disruptive business models come from?" What Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton Christensen concluded is shared in this book. It's too early to be certain, of course, but I think this book is destined to become a "business classic," as have so many of the other books that Christensen has authored or co-authored. It is worth noting that The Innovator's DNA emerged from an eight-year collaborative study, suggesting that its information, insights, and counsel are research-driven, anchored in the real world.

Some of the most valuable material was generated by interviews of dozens of "inventors of revolutionary products and services as well as founders and CEOs of game-changing companies build on innovative ideas." They also include what they learned from Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, and Howard Schultz (whom they did not interview) whose innovative thinking has transformed entire industries. "We wanted to understand as much about these people as possible, including the moment (when and how) they came up with the creative ideas that launched new products or businesses."

The title of this book refers to an aggregate of five primary discovery skills that enable various innovative entrepreneurs and executives to generate breakthrough ideas. "A critical insight from our research is that one's ability to generate innovative ideas is not merely the function of the mind, but also a function of behaviors. This is good news for us all because it means that if we change our behaviors, we can change our creative impact.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We can all learn to innovate August 14, 2011
Christensen is one of the great thinkers of our time. Start by reading his book - Innovators Dilemma where he explains what disruptive innovation is. The Innovator's DNA builds on his many previous books by laying out the skills needed to innovate. He not only explains the skills but gives hope that anyone can learn them and explains how.

The 5 skills:

1 - Associate. Innovators associate previously unconnected things to come up with products or ideas. Innovators apply ideas from completely different areas to their field.

2 - Questioning. clearly nothing happens unless someone questions things.

"Question the Unquestionable" Ratan Tata - Tata Group

3 - Observing. "Observation is the biggest game changer" - Scott Cook - founder of Intuit (I have met Scott a few times and he is one of the nicest person you could want to meet. I say this and I do not even like accounting) Obviously learning is greatest when things are observed.

4 - Networking. Again, a key skill for any innovator.

5 - Experiment. This, for me, would be summed up by my Fail Often, Fail Fast, Fail Cheap.

One final quote from the book:

"Innovators like to work for other innovators"

Perhaps that is why whole companies seem to attract high innovation people.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A Politically Correct Status Quo

It is politically correct in management circles to say that you are "results oriented" or that you "drive for results" in your organization.

The status quo in business schools is to indoctrinate students in the delivery skills of analyzing, planning, detail-oriented implementing, and disciplined executing.

This book and the research upon which it is based disrupts that politically correct status quo.

Clayton Christensen has spent close to two decades creating the research, conceptual, and application foundation of the disruptive innovation body of knowledge. He has been working for more than 8 years with Jeff Dyer and Hal Gregersen, both gifted researchers, teachers, and consultants in their own right, on this project. These guys are a disruptive "dream team" of contributors.

This book articulates an extension of the disruptive innovation body of knowledge that clearly describes an individual profile of the disruptive innovator and an organizational profile of an organization that makes disruptive innovation happen.

So what makes this book disruptive?

The first thing is timing. It arrives on the scene at a time when innovation is one of the most critical components of a solution to our global financial and organizational mess. If we are to get out of our morass of debt and sluggish growth and respond to the continually emerging challenges of a burgeoning global society it will ride on the backs and wings of innovation. The status quo must be disrupted for us to survive and thrive!

Second is the audacity of the core models. The authors claim that innovation can be learned at both the individual and organizational level.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
must read for sales person needing to think outside the box
Published 15 hours ago by Frank Gallo
5.0 out of 5 stars ... classes and I kept it because it had such great information in it
This book was a required book for one of my classes and I kept it because it had such great information in it.
Published 3 days ago by Lauren Holmes
5.0 out of 5 stars A very insightful and practical collection of how innovators think ...
A very insightful and practical collection of how innovators think and act. This book is full of relevant anecdotes to support its theories.
Published 2 months ago by Benjamin Carson
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional book. I can apply the 5 skills real ...
Exceptional book. I can apply the 5 skills real life.
Published 3 months ago by Sandi Hubert
5.0 out of 5 stars best innovation book!
If you are looking for practical ways to enhance innovation, you should read the book. The skills provided on the book are incredibly detailed. Great read.
Published 3 months ago by Marco Valle
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Just okay in my mind. well written. Just meh.
Published 4 months ago by Stephanie M. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST READ
Published 4 months ago by Nicholas Guillory
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read if you want to start your business
This is a great read if you want to learn how to be creative and maybe start your own business. Gets down to the details of how innovators are and what it takes to be successful in... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Dina Lynn
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential tool for the aspiring innovator
One of my favorite books. This is a great tool for intentionally developing your innovation skills.
Published 4 months ago by Andy R.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great service good product
Published 5 months ago by Nicolas Boccazzi
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