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Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators

From Idea to Execution

Vijay Govindarajan, Chris Trimble

Publisher: Harvard Business School, 2005 , 224 pages

ISBN: 1-59139-758-8

Keywords: Strategy


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How to Build a Breakthrough New Business within a Profitable Old One

Even world-class companies with successful business models eventually hit the ceiling on growth. That’s what makes emerging industries so attractive. These markets represent huge opportunities for capturing long term growth and competitive advantage. But because they lack a proven formula for making a profit, they are risky and expensive — with dire consequences for failure.

Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble argue that every organization’s survival depends on strategic experiments that target such untested markets, but few firms understand how to implement them successfully. Too many managers think that a great idea is enough to get them from business plan to profitability, but somewhere in the middle of the innovation process, most organizations stumble. In Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators, Govindarajan and Trimble reveal where firms go wrong on their journey from idea to execution—and outline exactly what it takes to build a breakthrough business while sustaining excellence in an existing one.

Based on an in-depth, multiyear research study of innovative initiatives at ten large corporations, Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble identify three central challenges to strategic innovation:

  • Forgetting some key assumptions that made the current business successful
  • Borrowing assets from the established organization to fuel the new one
  • Learning how to succeed in an emerging and uncertain market

The authors illustrate ten rules to help organizations overcome these challenges, and show how firms must rewire their “organizational DNA” across four main areas: staffing, structure, systems, and culture, in order for a promising new venture to succeed. They also spell out the critical role senior executives must play in managing the inevitable tensions that arise between today’s business and tomorrow’s.

Breakthrough growth opportunities can make or break companies and careers. Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators is every leader’s guide to execution in unexplored territory.

Table of Contents:

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  • Chapter One: Why Strategic Innovators Need a Different Approach to Execution
  • Chapter Two: Why Organizations, Like Elephants, Never Forget
    Case: Corning Microarray Technologies
  • Chapter Three: Taming the Elephant
  • Chapter Four: Why Tensions Rise When NewCo  Borrows from CoreCo
    Case: New York Times Digital
  • Chapter Five: Turning Tension into a Productive Force
  • Chapter Six: Why Learning from Experience Is an Unnatural Act
  • Chapter Seven: How Being Bold, Competitive, or Demanding Can Inhibit Learning
    Case: Hasbro Interactive
  • Chapter Eight: How Being Reasonable, Inspiring, or Diligent Can Inhibit Learning
    Case: Capston-White
  • Chapter Nine: Finding Gold with Theory-Focused Planning
  • Chapter Ten: The Ten Rules Explained
    Case: Analog Devices


Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators

by Roland Buresund last modified 2010-08-15 19:20

Rating: ********** (Excellent)

A truly excellent book on innovation from a strategic perspective, with a simple model (Forget, Borrow and Learn) makes this a truly great book.

It has a lot of examples, and even though the first nine chapters (out of ten) seems to focus on failures, it is very worthwhile to read it all.

Really recommended reading, especially from the standpoint of all trash that exists out there regarding Innovation and Business Development, which this book proves youy can skip! Add to that, that they are truly great writers as well, yiu can't miss.

You could of course argue wether this is about Innovation, Business Development, Strategy, Organizational Development or Knowledge Management,  but if you do, you have missed the point of a really outstanding book. I know that reading it changed my thinking on a number of issues.

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