The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge

December 25, 2010
the other side of innovation

The Other Side of Innovation

“Through innovation, business organizations can change the world. There is just one little problem. Business organizations are not built for innovation; they are built for efficiency.”

Vijay Govindarajan

In The Other Side of Innovation the authors demonstrate their absolute knowledge of an area that many organizations need more of: innovation! They have been studying over the past decade innovation within established organizations. In the process they have compiled perhaps the most extensive library of innovation case studies in the world. They clearly outline for the reader a path to innovation within any organization and point out ways organizations derail themselves in the process.

This is such a straight forward book well thought out and well executed. The Authors are both credible and far from academic sounding. If you are struggling with innovation in your organization this is a must read. This is not a book about thinking outside of the box – it is about once you have that idea how are you going to execute to make it happen.

The authors first take you through the challenge of innovation in an organization. The fact that a business is being built to produce and be predictable. Much of their work reminds me of my reading of Ichak Adizes The Corporate Lifecycle but put more practical (Although I learned a lot from that book too). They discuss three different ways organizations experience innovation. Firstly there is the innovation of just modifying by using best practices, Secondly there is the type of innovation in which you are running a production based on innovation like building a new model car each year. And thirdly, there is the type of innovation that is a absolute game changer. Based on these types of innovations require very different type of efforts.

Once you are familiarized with this tension between change and status quo you begin to learn the process based on years of experience to successfully implement change in your organization. I received an advance copy of this book and I could not recommend it to certain clients fast enough.

In the first part of the book they take you through the steps to create a project team:
1) Divide the labor.
2) Assemble the Dedicated Team
3) Manage the partnership

In the second part of the book they examine the steps for planning an innovation initiative and checking the progress:
1) Formalize the experiment
2) Break down the hypothesis
3) Seek the truth

Are you prepared for the innovation that needs to take place in your organization? Do you know how to organize it? And who should be on the team to insure it’s success?

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