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This is one of the volumes in a series of anthologies of articles that first appeared in HBR. In this instance, its ten articles focus on one or more components of a process by which to inspire and then execute breakthrough innovation. Having read all of the articles when they were first published individually, I can personally attest to the brilliance of their authors' (or co-authors') insights and the eloquence with which they are expressed. Two substantial value-added benefits should also be noted: If all of the articles were purchased separately as reprints, the total cost would be at least $60-75; they are now conveniently bound in a single volume and for a fraction of that cost.

Here in Dallas, there is a Farmers Market near the downtown area at which several merchants offer slices of fresh fruit as samples. I now provide what follows in that spirit.

In "Innovation's Holy Grail," C.K. Prahalad and R.A.Mashelkar use the term "Ghandian" innovation because, "at the core of this type of innovation lie two of the Mahatma's tenets: `I would prize every invention of science made for the benefit of all' and `Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's reed'...Ghandian innovators solve problems in two ways: by acquiring or developing technologies and by altering business models or capabilities."

In "The Customer-Centered Innovation Map," Lance A. Bettencourt and Anthony W. Ulwick suggest that all jobs have the same eight tasks. To use job mapping, look for opportunities to help customers at every step." They are:

1. Define: Determine their goals and plan resources
2. Locate: Gather items and information needed for the job
3. Prepare: Set up the environment to do the job
4. Confirm: Verify that they're ready to perform the job
5. Execute: Carry out the job
6. Monitor: Assess whether the job is being successfully executed
7. Modify: Make alterations to improve execution

"Because problems can occur at many points in the process, nearly all jobs also require a problem resolution step. Some steps are more critical than others, depending on the job, but each is necessary to get the job done. Successfully."

In "Innovation: The Classic Traps," Rosabeth Moss Kanter identifies and then rigorously discusses eight (8) common mistakes that must be replaced by the "potent remedies" she recommends. The mistakes are:

o Rejecting opportunities that at first glance appear too small
o Assuming that only new products count - not new services or improved processes
o Launching too many minor product extensions that confuse customers and increase external complexity
o Strangling innovation with the same tight planning, budgeting, and reviews applied to existing businesses
o Rewarding managers for doing only what they committed to do - and discouraging them from making changes as circumstances warrant
o Isolating fledgling and established enterprises in separate silos
o Creating two classes of corporate citizens - those who have all the fun (innovators) and those who must make the money (mainstream business managers)
o Allowing innovators to rotate out of teams so quickly that team chemistry can't gel
o Assuming that innovation teams should be led by the best technical people

Suggested Readings:

Two by Thomas Kelley with Jonathan Littman: The Art of Innovation and The Ten Faces of Innovation

The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge
(Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble)

Innovation to the Core: A Blueprint for Transforming the Way Your Company Innovates (Peter Skarzynski and Rowan Gibson)
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