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Innovation : Breakthrough Thinking at 3M, DuPont, GE, Pfizer, and Rubbermaid (Businessmasters Series) Hardcover – June 11, 1997

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

While many managers still view creativity and originality in the workplace with suspicion and apprehension, some of today's top corporations are parlaying these same traits into notable long-term success. In Innovation: Breakthrough Thinking at 3M, DuPont, GE, Pfizer, and Rubbermaid, business scholars Rosabeth Moss Kanter, John Kao, and Fred Wiersema examine the way five visionary firms and dozens of other companies have flattened hierarchies, opened communication, encouraged inventive thinking, and ultimately improved their operations.

From Booklist

Case studies by executives of 3M, DuPont, GE, Pfizer, and Rubbermaid show their company's commitment to innovation and present lessons learned by these well-known companies that have turned themselves into integrated innovation machines. Considering innovation a key element in their long-term success, the companies have made it part of their culture. As an introduction, the editors offer enlightenment on innovation, including the fact that size is not the test of being innovative, that innovation is messy, and that innovation happens at the margins and companies must search for and protect innovators from criticism by the "system." The editors tell us that arrogance is the major enemy of innovation and that although the most interesting ideas come through the interaction of different points of view, teams and their structure can inhibit creativity. The insight gained from the experiences and achievements of these companies can help the reader think more clearly about the elusive concept of innovation. Mary Whaley

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Product Details

  • Series: Innovation (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness; 1 edition (June 11, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 088730771X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0887307713
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,580,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on June 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is how I think it worked. Three well known individuals are asked to have sort of a brainstorming session on innovation. Nothing much happens and nothing really significant surfaces but the verbiage fills one chapter. After that one of the three authors probably asks a graduate assistant to contact the public relations departments of a few companies. The material received is sort of being edited and... voila, you have a book. I don't know if there was an honest effort put into this but what I know is that this book was totally unhelpful.
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Format: Hardcover
Many entrepreneurs and independent inventors will tell you they left a large corporation to escape the idea-killing environment. Yet there are some large firms that have found the keys to successful innovation. Many small entrepreneurs and inventors could do well by duplicating some of these keys.

Bringing just one product from conception to market is a challenging feat. Yet 3M (Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co.) has 50,000 products on the market worldwide and Rubbermaid (often ranked as one of the USA's ten "most admired companies") has over 5,000.

What are some of the successful methods for encouraging innovation? 3M has a rule that allows technical employees to use up to 15% of their time to pursue their own ideas without any monitoring by their supervisors. 3M also has a goal called 30/4. This means "30% of all sales come from products that have been around no longer than 4 years".

But it is not all formulas and goals. Dr. Miller of Dupont points out the importance of intuition and allowing "technical people freedom to break away from the plan and follow their noses". A GE VP points out that despite all that their massive laboratories are capable of; their number-one priority must always be the customers' needs.

In some fields, such as the pharmaceutical field, it would seem the small entrepreneur is locked out. It now takes many years and up to 500 million dollars to get FDA drug approval (up from 50 million dollars just 20 years ago)! Like others, the Pfizer experience is that "the most productive scientists are the self-starters".

It is interesting to note that despite enormous research efforts, serendipity still plays a role. For example, Pfizer had developed a new heart medication that did not live up to expectations.
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