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Beyond the Idea: How to Execute Innovation in Any Organization [Hardcover]

Vijay Govindarajan , Chris Trimble
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Sept. 24 2013

The New York Times bestselling authors of Reverse Innovation and How Stella Saved the Farm distill more than a decade of exclusive research into one short, powerful, action-oriented book.

Companies stumble when they imagine that innovation is mostly about ideas. The reality is that ideas are only beginnings. Indeed, even a company with the world’s best idea still faces a devilish challenge: it must build the business of tomorrow without endangering the business of today.

Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble are the world’s leading authorities on the successful management of innovation. In Beyond the Idea, they distill more than a decade of research and insight into a practical, accessible, read-at-one-sitting handbook that offers invaluable guidance for anyone charged with making innovation happen: executives, managers, consultants, project leaders, and teams.

By offering specific action steps, Beyond the Idea extends the elegant conceptual insights from How Stella  Saved the Farm, Govindarajan and Trimble’s parable. Beyond the Idea shows exactly how to:

  • Build a team with a very particular structure, one that makes it possible to simultaneously build something new and sustain what exists.
  • Manage any innovation initiative as a disciplined experiment.
  • Implement three distinct models for moving from ideas to action.

Beyond the Idea is an essential book for any business that recognizes that innovation always has been, and always will be, the key to long term growth and vitality.


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Beyond the Idea: How to Execute Innovation in Any Organization + Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work
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Review

Praise for Reverse Innovation:

 

“This book is a defining work on how we invest in and engage in the future.” — William Green, Executive Chairman, Accenture

 

“Unique and important work, hard-hitting examples, detailed and actionable steps, and clear explanations.” — Omar Ishrak, Chairman and CEO, Medtronic, Inc.

 

“The global community is now so networked that innovation can come from just about anywhere and make an impact everywhere.” — John T. Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems

 

Praise for How Stella Saved the Farm:

 “This elegant story, rich in insight into what it takes to make innovation happen, has already had tremendous impact in GE executive development programs and on key innovation projects.” — Stephen Liguori, Executive Director, Global Innovation and New Models, General Electric

“Govindarajan and Trimble have managed to do the unthinkable — develop  a case study that is both seriously thought-provoking and truly entertaining.” — Dolph Johnson, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Hasbro

 “We have found How Stella Saved the Farm to be a very useful tool for raising the key challenges in organizing and executing innovation initiatives.” — James Euchner, VP, Global Innovation at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

"Deere has already held innovation workshops based on Stella, with very positive results. This is a powerful, practical tool for learning and executive development." — Mary Jones, Vice President Global Human Resources, Deere & Company

“At first glance, I was skeptical. By the end, I was blown away. In a quick, fun read I found brilliant simplicity, capturing best practices for enabling and managing innovation. I continue to recommend Stella to executives seeking to turn new ideas into material business outcomes.” —Roy Rosin, former Vice President of Innovation, Intuit

About the Author

VIJAY GOVINDARAJAN (VG) is the Earl C. Daum 1924 Professor of International Business at Tuck at Dartmouth. In the latest global ranking of management thinkers, VG came in third place. He lives in New Hampshire.

 

CHRIS TRIMBLE, also on the faculty at Tuck, has been an advisor for dozens of top corporations. With Govindarajan he co-authored The New York Times bestseller Reverse Innovation (2012) and How Stella Saved the Farm (2013). He lives in Vermont.


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By Robert Morris HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
According to Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble, "The most important message in Beyond the Idea is very simple: innovation execution is its own unique discipline. It requires time, energy, and distinct thinking. Unfortunately, few companies treat it as such. In fact, few companies give it much thought at all."

Years ago, Oliver Wendell Holmes observed," I would not give a fig for simplicity on this side of complexity but I would give my life for simplicity on the [begin italics] other [end italics] side of complexity." More recently, Albert Einstein suggested, "Make everything as simple as possible but no simpler."

The methodology that Govindarajan and Trimble propose has twelve fundamental principles (Pages 153-156). Here are the first three:

1. Companies must shift time and energy from [begin italics] this side [end italics] to the [begin italics] other side [end italics] of innovation.

2. Organizations are not built for innovation, they are built for ongoing operations...and there are fundamental incompatibilities between the two. [Please see Pages 6-9.]

3. There are three powerful models for overcoming these incompatibilities and allowing innovation and ongoing operations to simultaneously to thrive. All three models can coexist in a single company, but it is crucial to match each initiative to the proper model.

a. Model S, for Small initiatives, attempts to squeeze innovation into slivers of slack time. It can deliver a very large number of very small initiatives.

b. Model R, for Repeatable initiatives, attempts to make innovation as repeatable and predictable as possible. It can deliver an ongoing series of similar initiatives, regardless of their size.

c.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Another book thin on substance Nov. 1 2013
By Gary Spedding - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Two books in a row read that are thin on substance and yet get glowing accolades from the business guru network. This book may have some gems - key ideas, but it was presented to the readers as if they are complete idiots or kindergartners. Lets look at Box A children and then box B. The authors state this is just a set of notes and not a full-length tome - directing readers to their more substantial volumes. Ok I get that but why not re-publish the keys in one essential volume with some actual substance? No references are given to other works. Clay Christensen's Innovators Dilemma series covers the substance behind this is a more compelling and professional way and Beyond the Idea might be a little guide to go along with more serious coverage of the topic by Christensen and co-authors. But its not, in and of itself, a masterpiece by any means.The talking down to you tone in this current book leaves me to thinking that the reason businesses are failing or not getting the messages is because we are all idiots not capable of self-thought or not reading the right authors. The last few pages do cover some interesting points and the whole book could have been covered as a paper in a respectable business journal rather than in nearly 200 pages of a lot of redundant and repetitive text. It is disappointing to see such a book from such self promoting "guru's. But it shows the good ol' boy network of experts flourishing and touting each others wares to keep the club alive and well. Again, get this one at the library - heck you can read there in about half an hour! Pages 141-150 covers it all - at least I dog-eared these few pages. Adding 153-169 and you get the summary that the corporations who run these business book summary services will likely use.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Vision without execution is hallucination." Thomas Edison Sept. 24 2013
By Robert Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
According to Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble, "The most important message in Beyond the Idea is very simple: innovation execution is its own unique discipline. It requires time, energy, and distinct thinking. Unfortunately, few companies treat it as such. In fact, few companies give it much thought at all."

Years ago, Oliver Wendell Holmes observed," I would not give a fig for simplicity on this side of complexity but I would give my life for simplicity on the [begin italics] other [end italics] side of complexity." More recently, Albert Einstein suggested, "Make everything as simple as possible but no simpler."

The methodology that Govindarajan and Trimble propose has twelve fundamental principles (Pages 153-156). Here are the first three:

1. Companies must shift time and energy from [begin italics] this side [end italics] to the [begin italics] other side [end italics] of innovation.

2. Organizations are not built for innovation, they are built for ongoing operations...and there are fundamental incompatibilities between the two. [Please see Pages 6-9.]

3. There are three powerful models for overcoming these incompatibilities and allowing innovation and ongoing operations to simultaneously to thrive. All three models can coexist in a single company, but it is crucial to match each initiative to the proper model.

a. Model S, for Small initiatives, attempts to squeeze innovation into slivers of slack time. It can deliver a very large number of very small initiatives.

b. Model R, for Repeatable initiatives, attempts to make innovation as repeatable and predictable as possible. It can deliver an ongoing series of similar initiatives, regardless of their size.

c. Model C, for Custom initiatives, is for all initiatives that are beyond limitations of either Model S or Model R.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Govindarajan and Trimble's coverage.

o Organizations Are Not Built to Execute Innovation (Pages 6-9)
o Only Three Models [for Executing Innovation] Make Sense (12-15)
o The Key to Model S Success Is Motivation (25-28)
o The Key to Model R Success Is Process Excellence (34-37)
o First, Dispose of the Myth (46-48)
Note: The myth is that great ideas come from an inspired visionary. ("Eureka!")
o You Must Create a Dedicated Team for Each Model C Initiative (58-61)
o Dedicated Teams: Six Common Mistakes (67-72)
o Five Specific Mistakes: Into "Little Performance Engine Trap" (85-93)
o Four-Step Process to Support a Shared Staff (101-102)
o Disciplined Experimentation: Four Essential Principles (117-123)
o Be Aware of the Limitations of Spreadsheets (126-128)
o Go Ahead, Put a Stake in the Ground (135-139)
o Innovation Leaders Must Be Evaluated Differently, But with No Less Discipline (145-148)
o The Most Fundamental Principles for Innovation (153-156)

Before concluding the latest and, in my opinion, their most valuable collaboration, Govindarajan and Trimble make an important distinction: "Even though innovation and change are closely related and one often leads to the other, it's quite helpful to differentiate your company's innovation agenda from its change agenda. The prescriptions in Beyond the Idea apply only to innovation." The Holmes quotation with which I began this review correctly suggests the importance of the information, insights, and counsel provided in this volume. Those who read the three volumes on which Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble collaborated, especially this one, will be well-prepared to lead their companies during the perilous but promising journey to the other side of innovation.

That is why I highly recommend Beyond the Idea as well as How Stella Saved the Farm: A Tale About Making Innovation Happen (2013), Reverse Innovation: Create Far From Home, Win Everywhere (2013), and The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge (2010).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great wakeup call Oct. 18 2013
By BJORN - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Im working as director of business innovation and meet this daily at my workplace. Think its a must read for everyone involved in running innovation.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Where is the Idea?? Jan. 18 2014
By Rodinhood - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Where is the Idea?

Let me begin this book review with a confession. When I received my copy of the book a few weeks ago, I began reading it in all earnest. I wanted to be an early bird in sending in my review. The slimness of the book (170 pages) was an added attraction. However, as it often happens, the book along with other ‘must reads’ got parked in the corner shelf, to be ‘dealt with’ later.

Yesterday, when I began reading it again I asked myself, “Alok, given the very powerful title of this book, what do you remember of the first 22 pages that you had read?”

My mind seized; my brain cells overheated and my memory began to play tricks on me. Alas, the answer was ‘nothing’ – a ‘404’ in web entrepreneurs’ jargon. Something was not quite right.

‘Beyond the Idea’ is uninspiring, insipid and quite frustrating. If you have read Haruki Murakami, this book mimics his signature style of ‘keeping you waiting’. Alas, in ‘Beyond the Idea’, nothing happens after the wait.

As an entrepreneur, the concept of Going Beyond Ideas is very close to my heart. Most digital entrepreneurs have zillions of ideas but hardly do anything beyond fantasizing about the implementation. Hence when this book came along, my heart leapt - I thought I would find the secret of making things happen, inside.

The authors Vijay Govindarajan & Chris Trimble (both professors at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth) apply an extremely academic and boring method in attempting to solve what is one of the greatest challenges of modern day entrepreneurs and companies.

The book very early states that “Beyond the Idea is about project management…”

Huh? Ideas become projects only if they are truly worth pursuing. But the pain, the inertia, the guts and the glory really lies in making decisions of converting an idea into a project!

The book is dominated by Chapters called ‘Model S’, ‘Model R’ and ‘Model C’. Frankly speaking, components of each of these models sound just as mundane and theoretical with labels such as ‘The Key to Model S is Project Excellence’, ‘Divide the Labour’, ‘Assemble the Dedicated Team’, etc

What I really miss in this book are examples! Given the professors’ extensive backgrounds and the eminent school that they are associated with, I am surprised at the complete lack of live, real, familiar business cases studies in the book.

Imagine if the case of the Smart (car) or the Swatch or even the ubiquitous yellow ‘Sticky Notes’ (one of the greatest examples of an ‘idea-turned-business’), - was elaborated in this book – it would have then set all theoretical explanations of Models S, R, C, etc in a real world context!

The book is stuffed with academic charts that increasingly look confusing as the pages progress. For some reason the authors have chosen to ‘chartify’ simple plain sentences; and in the process made the central point even more confusing.

A couple of analogies in the book amused me. One of them states, “It's like Mars trying to get along with Venus” – in the context of making teams get along! Did the authors mean Men or Women or actually the planets?! No one told me that the planets had a problem with each other…!

Another analogy screams, “…This is akin to imagining that the hammer and the nail will work out their differences…”! Excuse me? Did the hammer and nail have differences? Maybe professors Govindarajan and Trimble think so. To entrepreneurs like me, a hammer and a nail are ‘partners’ who get the job done!

Having said this, the book is sprinkled with some nice surprises and concepts. “Doing is so difficult” in Chapter 1 (Model S) sounds so Zen! The reference to the “Lake Wobegon Effect” is enlightening. The idea that “The innovation leader must report to at least two levels higher in the hierarchy than his budget” is a delightful insight! I especially liked the introspection on Excel Sheets and found the explanation of how they (excel sheets) “hide assumptions”, “focus attention on the wrong place” and “create an illusion of precision”.

However, ramblings such as, “creating some degree of familiarity between the Dedicated Team and Shared Staff can help sooth tensions” sounds almost juvenile in a book of this stature. Is this something that professors need to teach and preach? I wonder who the target audience is perceived for this book…?

What got me all worked up was the statement “If this year’s innovation initiative destroys someone’s career, nobody will sign up from next year”.

Plain wrong. Innovation IS about destruction, mayhem and disruption; and that is the outcome of the Best Ideas of the World. I have not heard of extremely motivated, enterprising and inspired individuals worried about how their ideas or the implementation would ruin their careers! I believe the contrary – it’s exactly these people - those who see a great idea through, from inception to ideation, eventually are the ones who actually enjoy the greatest careers in the world!

Overall, a disappointing and missable book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet June 14 2014
By Russell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Exactly what I thought it would be. I will definitely recommend this to others. I have no complaints with the order.
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