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Are there any innovation lessons from the big boys?

Summer is here, and with it comes the opportunity to catch up on some reading.  With innovation and collaboration foremost in my own mind, that will form the bulwark of my summer reading.

Innovation Prowess: Leadership Strategies for Accelerating Growth is a book by Wharton professor David Heckman.  He looks at companies ranging from General Electric to IBM to try and uncover what sets the best companies apart from the rest.  He looked primarily at companies that have grown organically, and he believes the answer is two fold.

Firstly, he thinks that they practice innovation a lot.  He thinks that being innovative is a skill, and as with any skill, the more you practice it, the better you get.

The best companies also take an open approach to things though.  They do a lot of partnering and sharing.  They experiment widely and don’t suffer from not invented here syndrome.

This combination of discipline and ability defines innovation prowess.  It’s an interesting read.  I’m often wary of business books built on case studies, as so many can fall foul of the halo affect.  A litany of well known books have lauded certain companies based on past achievements, only for those same companies to then rapidly flounder.  The book does offer some interesting insights though.

To find out more about it, check out the interview below with Wharton themselves.


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