Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
Sorry not much ground breaking, just good reenforcement
on 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.