Strategic Innovation: "Innovator's DNA" Book Summary

Strategic Innovation: "Innovator's DNA" Book Summary

This may be the most important business book of this decade on the topic of strategic innovation. The depth of the research, and the practical and memorable way the research is presented in this book is impressive.

Those that become the masters of the insights shared in this book will become the business leaders of the future.

In the past the key to long-term business success was to capture and maintain market share. The objective was to build up walls that made it hard for other to compete. Competitive advantage was achieved through creating barriers (e.g., expensive assets, economy of scales, purchasing power, existing channels, patents, propriety knowledge.) Today, constant innovation, integrity, and successful marketing are the keys to success.

Business strategy experts and authors of "Innovator's DNA," Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen and Clayton Christensen believe that innovation is "the lifeblood of our global economy and a strategic priority for virtually every CEO around the world."

The authors asked the question, "where does innovations come from?" They didn't have the answers but put together a team that spent eight years finding out. This team interviewed: founders and CEOs of game-changing companies, 100 revolutionary inventors, 500 strong innovators, and over 5,000 executives in 75 countries.

The result of the study is  presented in Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators.  The team suggests that Innovators are not born, they are made. They found that innovators have focused and developed skills in five key areas:

    • Questioning: Innovators have a passion for inquiry and learning. They frequently challenge the status quo by asking basic questions. They also as the question, "if we did this, what would happen?"
    • Observing: Innovators are deep observers. They watch and observe trying to gain new ideas.
    • Networking: Innovators spend gathering, sharing, and testing new ideas through a wide network of people with varying backgrounds.
    • Experimenting: Innovators are continually piloting new ideas.
    • Associating: Finally, innovators are able to make connections between seemingly unrelated ideas or problems, to develop breakthrough ideas.

The book provides examples, tools, and it recommends exercises to help develop innovation skills in area of these areas.


Strategic Innovation: "Innovator's DNA" Book Summary

Highlights by David Willden