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VINE VOICEon June 10, 2008
The Game Changer is innovation and AG Lafley partners with Ram Charan to describe how P&G has changed the game in consumer products. Lafley is certainly has the credibility to speak as an expert on this subject and he does by discussing the basics of making the enterprise more innovative. Charan lends his considerable breadth of experience and ability to structure these points into a salient business book. Charan plays much the same role as he did with Larry Bossidy in the book Execution. This combination should make for a game changing book. Unfortunately, The Game Changer delivers on about 70 to 80% of these expectations.

The book reinforces rather than reveals new insight into the innovation equation. In many ways it covers existing ground, from the descriptions it looks like P&G concentrated on implementing techniques related to understanding the voice of the customer, value engineering, and the like. All good techniques and well proven, but they are often hard to execute at scale.

The book concentrates on the eight pillars of game changing customer centric innovation. The book does a good job of reviewing each pillar and its implications to business in general and at the high level. These pillars are:

1. Motivating purpose and values - using values and mission to inspire people to reach beyond the everyday to the innovation.

2. Stretching goals - carting clarity through goals that focus on strategies that win and align everyone's energy and activities.

3. Choiceful strategies - making the hard choices that require to achieve the clear goals by deciding where you are going to play and then dedicating the resources on the right strategies.

4. Unique core strengths - focusing on how you are going to win based on taking advantage of your strengths.

5. Enabling structures - pointing out the important and necessary reality that innovation at speed and scale requires more than just being innovative. Here Lafley provides a good explanation of the structures involved in P&G's Connect and Develop strategy.

6. Consistent & reliable systems - Discusses the need to move chaotic and disruptive invention into valuable innovation. These systems are not just IT systems but the managerial decisions, financial control and other processes needed to go from idea to value at scale.

7. Courageous & connected culture - recognizes that people are at the heart of innovation. Now that may sound trite, but Lafley provides good insight into how P&G has gone outside of its comfort zone to understand customer and market needs.

8. Inspiring leadership - is a natural because innovation requires doing something new that can come up against the status quo. Here the book falls back on tried and true concepts such as emotional intelligence. It's good to know that such an idea works and the authors are to be commended for not trying to re-invent the wheel.

Overall a solid, but not spectacular book as the formula that worked well for Execution has lost some of its luster and appeal on this topic. The Game Changer is aimed at the same executive audience who I am sure is already polishing up their notions of getting close to the customer, be more innovative and the like. Given the proven experience and success of P&G, I had expected this book to be more of a case study and more implementation oriented than it is. The individual product innovation stories are helpful, but difficult to translate outside of consumer products. So, that is the basis for the four out of five stars. Worth the read for reinforcement, but not something I would run out and buy ahead of other books.
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on January 2, 2018
Mostly just a plug for P&G, with plenty of platitudes and little actionable advice that’s truly helpful. Even the “what you can do on Monday” practical stuff is very high level and only likely to apply if you are a very senior leader. Skip.
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on February 7, 2011
Although I do enjoy theoretical books, you never quite know what sounds good vs what is actually proven. In The Game Changer we have experience from one of the most respected CEO's every. He might espouse some good theory in this book, but most importantly, he KNOWS what he is talking about. C'mon, adding billions of dollars in revenues to your company...that's worth something.

On the down side, I think could have been 75 pages less. No big though. It's kinda like sitting under a brilliant professor; you can sit through the slow parts.

Each point is covered with his distilled principles, and plenty of examples. It's really not hard to apply them to a small (err, way smaller) company like I run. I would take great theory over application any day.
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on September 2, 2013
It is very P&G focused and therefore there are many recomendations that are really usefull for a firm that needs to put there customer first because they are very B2C. I would have liked equivalent examples for the importance of innovation for B2B firms. In any case it is still very relevant, inspiring, has many usefull tips and is a reference book for any manager interested in promoting innovation in your firm.
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on May 25, 2012
If you are interested in INNOVATION.
This book is must to read.
I had known the word,"INNOVATION", from 1980'.
But I had not got the core of innovation.
Happily, I re-discovered INNOVATION in 2011 by the book of Tom Koulopoulos written "INNOVATION ZONE".
INNOVATION ZONE describes innovation generally and essentially.
THE GAME CHANGER describes innovation specifically from the point of view of great P&G.
Both description is harmonized, I think:)
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on August 19, 2017
Highly recommend this book! Everything was good with the time of my order.
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on February 12, 2011
Wonderful book about the amazing change Proctor & Gamble, and other organizations, made to integrate customer needs and innovation into the core of the business. The book was easy to read, and the case studies were interesting and thorough. Definitely an inspiration of how to turn around a company as well as the leadership qualities that are necessary to drive an organization forward! The leaders have also admitted their mistakes and how they have learned from them.
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on November 22, 2015
I am a long-time fan of Ram Charan's books--this is provocative and was a great read. THANK YOU and Keep 'em coming!
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on August 27, 2015
Great Book. Several ideas to capitalize on within the workplace.
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on May 21, 2013
It resumes a lot of what is needed to focus your company in a continuous innovation process, recommended to every manager.
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