Making Innovation Work: How to Manage It, Measure It, and Profit from It

Reading is fun. But not every book is really worth reading it – especially when it comes to business books. Therefore I already started the “Book of the Week” Series, where I share comprehensive abstracts on my favourite books.

Now I want to start another series called: “Business Books” – featuring information on books in a more compact way. Today I would like to present you “Making Innovation Work: How to Manage It, Measure It, and Profit from It”, by Davila, Epstein and Shelton (2007).

Synopsis
According to Davila, Epstein, and Shelton, innovation represents the opportunity for any organization to survive, grow, and significantly influence the direction of an industry. Blockbuster development does not, however, guarantee success, but must be followed up with successive streams of innovation, from the incremental to the radical. Knowing that the only reliable security is the ability to innovate better and longer than the competition, leading companies develop innovation portfolios that they can use to help sustain growth over the long term. Although many myths surround innovation, making it appear more complex than it is, the authors believe that the execution of innovation is not any more difficult than the implementation of other management activities.

Making Innovation Work challenges prevailing misconceptions and lays out the tools and processes necessary for an organization to harness, manage, and execute innovation successfully and profitably. It provides a start-to-finish process for defining innovation strategy, integrating innovation and business strategy, balancing creativity and value capture, weaving innovation into the fabric of the business, neutralizing organizational “antibodies,” building innovation networks, and measuring and rewarding. The authors’ analyses of these tools and processes show that the execution of innovation is no more or less difficult than the execution of any other management activity. Thus, we see innovation is not about secret formulas; it is about good management, driven by seven “Innovation Rules”:

  1. Exert strong leadership with regards to innovation strategy and portfolio decisions
  2. Integrate innovation into the company’s basic business mentality
  3. Align innovation with company strategy
  4. Manage the natural tension between creativity and value capture
  5. Neutralize organizational “antibodies”
  6. Recognize that the fundamental building blocks of innovation are networks that include people and knowledge both inside and outside the organization
  7. Create the right metrics and rewards for innovation

Essentially, we are shown that there is not much that is truly new about innovation—the basics haven’t changed, only the way innovation is managed. By analyzing what has worked really well and what has not, the book provides new insights into how to execute innovation and parses this how into manageable pieces that can be applied by any company

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