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24/7 Innovation: A Blueprint for Surviving and Thriving in an Age of Change Hardcover – September, 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

As the world's largest management and IT consulting firm, with 65,000 people globally, Accenture is recognized as defining the new consulting market. Serving more than 85 of the Fortune 100 companies, Accenture has been highly regarded for combining services such as strategy and change management along with innovative technology methods. With 24/7 Innovation, one of Accenture's leading consultants show how, in the past, business processes have been thought of as something static, as a series of instructions laid down in manuals to be repeated in exactly the same way every time.

From the Author

I always knew there would be the likelihood of a good book after 15 years of consulting with major companies around the world. The pace of business expansion has been unprecedented in this period, and the changes have put managers into a whirl of uncertainty. This uncomfortable situation demands sharp reflexes and creative thinking just to stay even. Staying ahead requires pervasive innovation.

Innovation is not random. In fact, it emerges best when there is a structure to nurture it. Much like jazz in the world of music. I have been playing the saxophone since I was seven years old, and although I play all types of music, jazz is my passion. I love jazz because it is heavy on innovation (“improvisation” in musical terms). Just as innovation is not random, improvisation not random. There is a simple structure to jazz, like 12 bar B-flat blues. It has a rhythm, chord progression, and tempo. Businesses need much the same to succeed. Simple structures to foster innovation to emerge.

My goal in writing this book is to help companies unleash the creative potential of the people in their organization.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies (September 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071376267
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071376266
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,630,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Shapiro argues that continuous innovation is the only possible source of competitive advantage in a rapidly changing business environment. Yet most companies organize themselves and their efforts in ways that will discourage the development and implementation of these necessary innovations. So rather than doing what you did yesterday better, he wants you to do something new today. This requires a major change in thinking from the typical "lower your costs" and "improve your quality" mentality of many companies. The book is enlivened by many examples from Europe, where Mr. Shapiro practices as a management consultant for Accenture.
One of the things I liked best about this book was the figure on page 18 that describes the organizational progress that is typically followed to go from a functionally bound operation to one that is an alliance-based network of capabilities with partners performing many noncore roles. Many people have difficulty in grasping the different approaches, and this figure may well be helpful to some of them.
The book's focus is around organizing new and improving on old capabilities. A capability is a holistic concept of something that enables "an organization to perform optimally in activities that typically require processes, people, and technology. Capabilities derive from an explicit strategy, and they deliver measurable results." It is in this context that innovation is conceived of as a capability. Mr. Shapiro wants you to focus on where outdistancing the competition will make a difference with the customer, and then use your innovation capability to enhance your capabilities in this differentiating capability. For a pharmaceutical company, this might mean improving the capability to generate new products to market.
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Format: Hardcover
As Shapiro explains, when offering this "blueprint for surviving and thriving in an age of change," the term "blueprint" is a capability which combines people, processes, and technology that together "deliver business performance as defined by an organization's strategy. This is a key point, one which Bossidy and Charan emphasize in their recently published book, Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done. It is important to keep in mind that any "blueprint" provided in a book such as this must almost always be modified to serve the specific needs and objectives of a given organization. This is precisely what Shapiro has in mind when, in the Introduction, observes "in some respects writing a book that describes best practices for innovation that says that best practices are insufficient is slightly ironic. But to try and copy what another company is doing, lock stock and barrel, is just another form of box thinking. Instead, connect the dots. Make connections. Consider what some companies in this book have been doing and consider them in the context of your own business situation. And then try and use these to create new ideas for fostering innovation." Hammer wrote The Agenda to disabuse those who view reengineering as a "silver bullet." I'm certain that Shapiro hopes his readers will view the "blueprint" delineated in Part 1 of 24/7 Innovation for what it is while understanding what it is not...and cannot be expected to do. Change is inevitable.
Long ago, someone divided people into three categories: Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who ask "What happened?" Shapiro views desirable change as as fundamental and pervasive. "It affects customers, suppliers, alliance partners, and anyone who touches [or is touched by] the company.
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Format: Hardcover
Titles can be deceptive, particularly when chosen with an eye to capitalizing on fashionable jargon. 24/7 Innovation is primarily about building a climate of continuous organic change and is more about change management and organizational learning than innovation in the commonly used sense of product and service innovation. However, as the author rightly points out, change and innovation in all its forms tends to be seamless, and success depends on embedding a system of goals, relationships, attitudes, processes and technology that work together to support continuous challenge to the status quo in support of superior customer service.
Shapiro argues for what others have called a 'tight-loose' structure, one within which a limited number of well articulated principles allow for substantial freedom of action at all levels and locations, with carefully selected measures and incentives to link endeavour to the core goals. The author's preferred metaphor is jazz, which encourages creativity within simple structures.
He claims that his approach differs from others - particularly reengineering and TQM - in seven respects. While the attributes are not all as uncommon as he implies, they are worth quoting, as they are all important:
"* It is strategic. Innovation is targeted at the critical parts of the business that differentiate it from its competitors.
* It is pervasive ... permeat[ing] every aspect of an organization ...
* It is holistic, acknowledging the ... interdependence of all aspects of the business
* it is focused on creating value ... not ... cost cutting and streamlining without regard for the impact they have on customers and other stakeholders ... and customers in particular.
* It emphasizes governance ...
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