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Innovation to the Core: A Blueprint for Transforming the Way Your Company Innovates Hardcover – February 12, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...the 'innovation movement' is gathering momentum"... three "critical" preconditions [are] needed to foster innovation, including "creating time and space in people's lives for reflection, ideation and experimentation." --IndustryWeek, May 1, 2008<br /><br />Instead of simply encouraging workers to be creative, give them tools to "stretch their thinking and develop new perspectives,"...Make innovation an "all-the-time, everywhere" process. --CNNMoney.com, April 16, 2008<br /><br />The good news is that innovation isn't purely a function of brain wattage and fat research budgets...Innovation lurks within myriad nooks and crannies of any company--from the receptionist to the head of information technology. --Forbes.com, April 2, 2008

Instead of simply encouraging workers to be creative, give them tools to "stretch their thinking and develop new perspectives,"...Make innovation an "all-the-time, everywhere" process. --CNNMoney.com, April 16, 2008

"...the 'innovation movement' is gathering momentum"... three "critical" preconditions [are] needed to foster innovation, including "creating time and space in people's lives for reflection, ideation and experimentation." --IndustryWeek, May 1, 2008

About the Author

Peter Skarzynski is CEO and founding Director of Strategos, a consulting firm he co-founded with Gary Hamel. Rowan Gibson is a global business strategist and editor of the international bestseller Rethinking the Future: Rethinking Business, Principles, Competition, Control & Complexity, Leadership, Markets and the World.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (February 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1422102513
  • ISBN-13: 978-1422102510
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #501,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am among those who agree with Michael Porter that "the essence of strategy is choosing what not to do" and with Peter Drucker that "there is surely nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency what should not be done at all." These two observations are directly relevant to the material that Peter Skarzynski and Rowan Gibson present as they respond brilliantly to questions such as these:

1. How to create the preconditions for innovation?
2. How to establish a foundation of "novel strategic insights"?
3. How to generate a "torrent" of new opportunities for innovative thinking?
4. How to ask the right questions at the right time?
5. How to construct an "innovation architecture"?
6. How to select, schedule, manage, and leverage investments in innovation?
7. What does "driving to innovation" involve?
8. When doing so, how to balance supply and demand?
9. How to build a "systematic innovation capability"?
10. How to sustain innovation?

The Porter and Drucker observations correctly stress the importance of knowing what not to do as well as knowing what to do. There are countless examples throughout the history of business when brilliant execution had catastrophic consequences. I suspect this is what Gary Hamel had in mind when suggesting in the Introduction that in a world of ever-accelerating change, "innovation is the only insurance against irrelevance. In an environment of steadily decreasing friction and crumbling entry barriers, innovation is the only antidote to margin-crushing competition. And in a global economy where knowledge advantages dissipate ever more rapidly, innovation is the only brake on commoditization.
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Format: Hardcover
Innovation to the Core is an excellent book! I can recommend this book to anyone working in large enterprises on innovation, innovation processes or business strategy. While not going deep into the question why innovation is important, the authors role out an extensive plan how to make innovation a core capability of your organization. It is assumed that successful application of this "blueprint" will ultimately lead to sustained competitive advantage through continuous breakthrough innovation both in products and in the business model. The examples of Whirlpool, P&G, IBM, GE and others are used to proof this assumption.

The book is very much focused on the importance of people behind innovation and discusses a wide array of business elements that may need to be changed in order to implement and operate a holistic, seamlessly integrated innovation process. The transformation process and key issues are repeatedly compared to the development of TQM many years ago. An idea that I like because it allows us to learn from experience in the past where companies were challenged with a focus on quality similar to a focus on innovation today.

While this book is great when read with a focus on the key issues surrounding cultural change, values and corporate learning, I can not agree that it is a complete blueprint for making innovation work. The key topic of IT and processes did not get the attention it should have received to complete this book. According to my own experience with global organizations and also to other authors like Prahalad in his latest book on innovation, are IT systems and processes two of the key success factors to a sustainable system of innovation inside the enterprise.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is a guide on how to develop an innovation culture inside an organization. Industry agnostic, and with a lot of good examples, it illustrates the main steps an organization should take to gain a competitive advantage through innovation. Its focus is on new concepts like crowd sourcing and openness to customers, employees and even competitors rather the traditional secrecy of the R&D department, and has a broad perspective on innovation, not simply NPD. I recommend it to anyone interested in innovation management.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've read many many books on innovation, but this one was dry and painful. I only got about half way through before I got bored with it and moved on to Clayton Christensen's "How will you measure you life?". It wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't engaging and felt a little too much like a pep talk and too little like new and applicable information.
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This was one of the first books that I read on innovation, and it continues to be a favorite.

It's an easy read yet packed with excellent information for someone wanting the "big picture" on innovation as well as a good reference book. Readers shouldn't let the length of this book scare them. Its almost 300 pages don't need to be read in any particular order, and all of the information in it is so meaningful and written so well, that readers will likely want more after having read the entire book.

Innovation to the Core is one of the few books that I've read more than once, and yet I continue to come back for more. I'm still in awe as to how the authors covered so much ground without it feeling overwhelming.

There are a lot of books on innovation on the market today, but this one takes a deep dive and underscores the importance of a systemic and sustainable approach. If I could give it a higher rating than 5 stars, I would!
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