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The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth Hardcover – Illustrated, November 19, 2013
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Praise for The Innovator’s Solution:
The Financial Times
Fresh thinking aplenty . . . nothing less than a handbook for managers who would rather disrupt than be disrupted.”
Every dilemma demands a solution. And this book lives up to its promise: More than an engrossing read, shot through with Christensen’s rigorous thinking and trademark clarity, it’s a valuable tool for every aspiring upstartwhether you’re inside a billion-dollar company or have a billion-dollar glimmer in your eye.”
The New York Times
If [Christensen’s] first book left business with the quandary of how a middle-aged company can be as creative as the new kid on the block, [this] book is an instructive tutorial on how to rekindle the spark of youth and nurture the fragile flame.”
The Miami Herald
The Innovator’s Solution is an intelligent, perceptive (and frequently counterintuitive) look at innovation, and well worth the time it takes to read and digest it to gain a greater understanding of the complex and profound combination of forces driving business development.”
The Conference Board Review
. . . Required reading for every manager in America.”
The Toronto Globe and Mail
A promising blueprint for innovation.”
About the Author
Michael E. Raynor is a director with Deloitte Services LP. He works with senior executives in the world’s leading corporations across a wide range of industries. He is the author of three critically acclaimed books: The Innovator’s Solution, coauthored with Clayton M. Christensen, The Strategy Paradox, and The Innovator’s Manifesto. Raynor publishes regularly in leading magazines and scholarly journals.
- Item Weight : 1.23 pounds
- Hardcover : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1422196577
- ISBN-13 : 978-1422196571
- Dimensions : 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.1 inches
- Publisher : Harvard Business Review Press; Illustrated edition (November 19, 2013)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #57,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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As the title suggests, the book is a follow-up on the Innovator's Dilemma, which has been a classic business book on how large established companies are surprised by disruptive technology that eventually causes the downfall of the company. The Innovator's Dilemma explained these dynamics and how they happen even when managers in companies make the most "logical" decisions. The Innovator's Solution dives further into this dynamic and tries to answer the question "what can you do about it?" and especially, "How could you sustainably cause disruptive technology".
The book is wonderful and insightful about the meta-level dynamics between and inside companies. There are probably few books that describe these dynamics so well. The book is admittedly theoretical in the way that the authors present a theory and describe how, according to their theory, you could build companies that constantly create disruption... yet admit that no company in the world has ever done that. It is traditional in the sense that most of the organizational dynamics they describe are assuming fairly traditional and hierarchical organizations... evidence from the focus on the role of the CEO. I guess this is a fair assumption still in 2012 as most organizations still do work that way... but on the other hand there are signs that this is changing. I felt some examples from the book were wrong at times or at least showed that the authors aren't that technical. Especially examples related to software, computers or related to Apple and phones seemed off. This annoyed me at times leading me to put the book down for a while, only to resume again a bit later.
The book contains ten chapters and an epilogue. Roughly the first six chapters talk about market dynamics and how companies react and the last three chapters talk about what you can do within your companies. The epilogue is a summary and suggested "actions" chapter.
In the first part, the authors explain that decisions need to be based on a theory and that they are going to attempt, in the rest of the book, to present a theory for making decisions. This theory ought to help companies make better decisions related to products. The authors go on to show how existing marketing techniques often segment incorrect and they ought to focus on "job to be done" rather than different characteristics (a theme that will repeat itself throughout the book). It then describes two different disruptive technologies: 1) low-end, and 2) new market. Then explains the type of customers and scope to focus on. Chapter 5 and the talk about modularization vs integration felt a bit old-fashioned, and especially not that relevant with the increase of software development in the world. Chapter 6 talked about a wonderful market dynamic related to commodization.
The second part makes things a bit more concrete and talks about what you can do within your organization. First it covers organizational structure, then two different strategy processes and how good companies switch between them. Then it has an interesting look at the financial support behind product development and distinguishes "good money" from "bad money" and suggests to focus on "good money" that is "patient for growth but impatient for profit". I loved the organizational dynamics that it described of how organizations invest in disruptive technologies but then cannibalize them when there is a downturn on their main business. The last chapter focuses on the role of the CEO in companies that are trying to create disruption.
I did like the Innovator's Solution at times and have no regret reading it. Certain snippets of it were very very insightful which makes the whole book worth reading. Yet at times I felt bored with it and sometimes even strongly that certain examples were simplistic. Also the traditional management and traditional organization assumptions it had made me feel uncomfortable. Due to all of that, I decided on three Amazon stars.
It refreshes and give a deeper insight to the concepts of sustaining vs disruptive innovation and adds several elements that you have to keep in mind to set up the strategy for your innovation.
More than an "how to" is a kind of "how not to" make "autopilot" mistakes.
I have been in GE for almost 15 year, and I have seen most of the things here described happen. And they happen because of the inherent business dynamics described in this books. Read it if you want to take the right steps.
I consider the christensen's thrilogy one of the 3 pillars of business strategy, togheter with game theory and classic Porter's.
If you want to add a further step to the hints suggested here may be worth to read also the Blue Ocean Strategy, that is senseless without the concepts here described.
There are two regrets about this book:
the first is that the subject is complex, and depicts evolving scenarios. So crafting out of the book a "check list" to follow, is hard task.
If the author would have added it, would have simplified the life of us - that have to use his theory - quite a lot.
So be ready to sweat a bit in order to use this book for your innovation...
because it absolutelly deserve it!
the second is that much of the examples are depicted as "large companies dealing with innovation" while my point of view is more that of "entrepreuner launching an initiative". so I need to "EXTRAPOLATE" the hints to by used in this situation. Feasible, but again: not easy - neither prompt.
The Innovator's Solution is really more concentrated on producing new growth through disruptive markets rather than on maintaining dominance in the presence of disruptive innovation. That being said, the specific details on generating new growth areas are equally applicable to avoiding being toppled by a new entrant.
Particularly good is the emphasis on what circumstances are important for success & failure. Most of the examples are very applicable, but some are stonger than others. Some have mentioned the milkshake example of being particularly weak, but I don't agree that it is worthless. Yes, the problem being addressed is a marketing research problem, but that is directly applicable to the circumstances in that case. There were other, stronger examples of identifying how to compete against non-consumption, but if viewed as a simple, pedagogical example, it does serve to show an application of what was just discussed.
I enjoyed this very much and if you liked The Innovator's Dilemma, this will leave you feeling much less fatalistic.
Top reviews from other countries
As such, is this dilemma relevant to the small business market?
The authors acknowledge they have written the book for big, established companies but state that the ideas will apply for start-up entrepreneurs.
The book is based around answering a series of questions.
1) How can we beat our most powerful competitors?
2) What products should we develop?
3) Which initial customers will constitute the most viable foundation upon which to build a successful business?
4) Which activities required to design, produce, sell, and distribute our product should our company do internally, and which should we rely upon our partners and suppliers to provide?
5) How can we be sure that we maintain strong competitive advantages that yield attractive profits?
6) What is the best organizational structure for this venture?
7) How do we get the details of a winning strategy right?
8) Whose investment capital will help us succeed, and whose capital might be the kiss of death?
9) What role should the CEO play in sustaining the growth of the business?
Each is the focus of a chapter along with answers the related questions.
The first of these recaps the lead author's earlier book, The Innovator's Dilemma. This explains why markets are vulnerable to disruptive innovation in the low margin markets and small markets. It is fascinating because the process is remorseless yet seems so logical for incumbents.
The next chapter urges market segmentation based on the job to be done by the customer. In my training, I use an example of the same person making very different choices for a restaurant for a romantic dinner, an important business lunch and a large family celebration. The use situation is often overlooked as people rush to segment by demographics or psychographics.
Ironically, because the book is old, the big example used is the Blackberry device which was later swept to one side by the development of multi-purpose smartphones.
I'm not going into each chapter in this review but I hope I've given you an indication of the scope and insight available from this excellent book.
Are all markets open to disruptive innovation. Clearly technology products like computers and mobile phones are vulnerable. The Internet has undermined retail businesses but also financial services. Office cleaning or painting and decorating haven't yet been disrupted but are robots far away?
The contents is essential both for offensive and defensive reasons. The world won't stand still so you need to understand how you can best protect what you have while also knowing how to develop the next set of products and services.
One irritation is the book describes diagrams in the book, rather than using diagrams to summarise text explanations. If you read the kindle version on a small device, like I do, you will struggle. Sadly this is a common occurrence.
What I particularly like about the book is that it's rooted in cause and effect logic. What is logical leads people in the wrong direction because they don't see the negative aspects and take actions to avoid the inevitable consequences.
This reinforces my belief that executives don't think deeply enough.
The book is written for the corporate market but with some effort it can be transferred to smaller businesses and entrepreneurs who have businesses that may be on either side i.e. they are the disruptors or they face being disrupted.
Paul Simister helps frustrated business owners who are stuck get unstuck.
This book is for executives and managers. The previous should reflect on how they choose those they put in charge and use circumstance-based approaches rather than the so common one-size-fits-all approach they once used. The latter should revisit their mental filters that lead to kill disruptive ideas even before birth.