If you're looking think outside of the box, it helps to get a sense of what leaders in the field of corporate innovation are thinking. Of course, you could attend a conference with a long list of speakers, but an easier and cheaper method is to catch up on what thought leaders are cogitating about. Here is our list of top books and articles published in recent months.From Failure to Success
One of the hardest things to face in a career is face a failure. That is, unless you know how to turn failure into a learning experience, which helps you avoid making the same mistake again. That's what Julian Birnkinshaw and Martine Haas teach you to do in “Increase Your Return on Failure," an article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) that explains why fear of failure often keeps companies from reaching new peaks. They recommend creating a ratio in which the denominator is the resources invested in a project, while the numerator is the assets you gained from the experience, however bad.
They recommend studying projects that did not pan out, spreading the lessons learned across your organization and doing a corporate-level survey to make sure your firm's approach to failure is making the most of it.
How to Vet Ideas
In the same vein, how do you know whether or not a good-sounding idea has legs to stand on? A recent book by Pat Flynn called "Will It Fly?" walks you through how to uncover aspects of your great idea that you haven't thought about and then how to validate and test the idea using a small segment of a target market before risking everything.
Although primarily aimed at newcomers thinking about starting a new business, the book also provides an invaluable guide to companies trying to decide whether to enter a new market or proceed with a new product innovation.
How The Internet of Things Will Impact Companies
One of the hottest technologies these days is the Internet of Things (IoT). Companies of all kinds, not just tech firms, need to know how this technology will impact the economy going forward. A good introduction to the challenges companies face is the book “Building the Internet of Things," by Maciej Kranz. He's a vice president at Cisco Systems, so he knows his stuff and provides a great primer on how IoT will change all of our lives.
How to Leverage Multisided Platforms
The other great innovation of our time is multisided platforms. Everybody knows about the B2C success of Uber and Airbnb, but how are businesses succeeding in adapting this technology to their B2B customers?
For a good look at this issue, check out the book "Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms." Written by the economists David Evans and Richard Schmalensee, it explores interesting case studies, such as how Open Table survived after a near-death experience.
On Innovation and Disruption
For those company executives who've been scratching their heads trying to figure out how to set fire to innovation at their firm, HBR has collected their “10 Must Reads 2017" into a book that contains a number of valuable innovation insights.
Of particular interest is the article “What is Disruptive Innovation?" which is based on the book, “The Innovator's Solution," by Clayton M. Christensen and Michael Raynor. The book describes how businesses can disrupt the lower end of a market even while entrenched businesses occupy the top end.
An Innovation Legend
Finally, for insights into the sheer brilliance of the mind of a renowned corporate innovator, it would be hard to beat “Shoe Dog," the memoirs of Phil Knight, who turned a waffle iron and an understanding of competitive running into the multibillion dollar leisure company Nike, Inc.
Although it is a personal story of how Knight built Nike into a $30 billion sports behemoth, it is also a textbook on how to create brand, ensure employee loyalty and create a unique corporate culture that helps assure success.
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