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The Wide Lens: A New Strategy for Innovation [Hardcover]

Ron Adner
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

April 3 2012

How can great companies do everything right - identify real customer needs, deliver excellent innovations, beat their competitors to market - and still fail?

The sad truth is that many companies fail because they focus too intensely on their own innovations, and then neglect the innovation ecosystems on which their success depends. In our increasingly interdependent world, winning requires more than just delivering on your own promises. It means ensuring that a host of partners -some visible, some hidden- deliver on their promises, too.

In The Wide Lens, innovation expert Ron Adner draws on over a decade of research and field testing to take you on far ranging journeys from Kenya to California, from transport to telecommunications, to reveal the hidden structure of success in a world of interdependence.

A riveting study that offers a new perspective on triumphs like Amazon's e-book strategy and Apple's path to market dominance; monumental failures like Michelin with run-flat tires and Pfizer with inhalable insulin; and still unresolved issues like electric cars and electronic health records, The Wide Lens offers a powerful new set of frameworks and tools that will multiply your odds of innovation success.

The Wide Lens will change the way you see, the way you think - and the way you win.

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The Wide Lens: A New Strategy for Innovation + Best Practices Are Stupid: 40 Ways to Out-Innovate the Competition
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"Essential reading for innovators."
—Kirkus Reviews

"A clear analysis of numerous scenarios, both failures and successes, with a depth rarely found in pragmatically-tinged books. Anyone involved in moving a product from conception to adoption will not want to let this book pass them by."
—Publishers Weekly

"The Wide Lens opens the readers' eyes to the bigger picture and expands the mind to the possible pitfalls that have come to stand in
the way of the success of many innovative products and services....Don't miss out on your opportunity to see your innovation go from conception to success by engaging a wider lens."
—Jack Covert Selects, 800ceoread

"Ron Adner is a breakthrough thinker. He zooms out to see more clearly how -- and why -- some innovations take hold, and others do not. Adner's core insight is profound, that an innovation's success depends on its place in an entire ecosystem, and his concepts can help people turn inspired creativity into practical impact and market success. A significant contribution."
—Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and co-author of Great by Choice

"This is a path-breaking perspective on innovation. Adner's tools guide you to ask the right questions to protect you from making mistakes that condemn so many innovations to failure."
—Clayton Christensen, Kim B. Clark Professor, Harvard Business School, author of The Innovator's Dilemma

"The Wide Lens will change the way you think about innovation. Adner shows why and how you must adapt your approach to innovation in today's interdependent world. This is highly useful reading for anyone whose success depends on collaboration."
—John Donahoe, President and CEO, eBay, former CEO, Bain & Company

"The Wide Lens is an important new book on innovation. Ron correctly identifies the important challenge of recognizing market ecosystem and competitive strategies. His framework for innovation is contemporary, teachable and practical. Growth is today's big challenge. The Wide Lens will help big and small companies grow faster."
Jeffrey R. Immelt, Chairman and CEO, General Electric Corporation

"Engaging, insightful, and immensely practical. Success in today's economy requires mastery of your innovation ecosystems, and The Wide Lens is the definitive guidebook to this new landscape. Adner's innovative tools and insights will make your strategy more robust and your organization more effective."
—Kevin Sharer, Chairman and CEO, Amgen

"What is the big picture?' This is a question that haunts every business strategist --- reflecting the fear that our analysis of the landscape has missed the larger threats or opportunities in front of us. Based on years of research and teaching, The Wide Lens gives a brilliant answer. Ron Adner describes the landscape of innovation in the most complete terms ever achieved. The arrival of this book is a major event for leaders everywhere."
—Adam Brandenburger, J.P. Valles Professor, NYU Stern School of Business,  co-author of Co-opetition

"As Ron Adner makes crystal clear, when it comes to proliferating a successful innovation, "it takes a village!" And if you do not think about the needs of your co-innovators, or the chain of adopters that helps it get all the way into the hands of your end users, you are likely to find yourself stranded on the wrong side of a chasm, looking longingly at the customers that could have been yours."
—Geoffrey Moore, author of Crossing the Chasm and Escape Velocity

About the Author

Ron Adner has spent the last decade studying the root cause of innovation success and failure. An award winning professor of strategy at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, and previously at INSEAD, he is a speaker and consultant to companies around the world. His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Forbes, and the Harvard Business Review.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book Nov. 6 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Good book but you have to watch out for these retrospective best seller novels. As they say hindsight is always 20/20
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  59 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read!!! March 8 2012
By Robert A. Hoffman - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've started far more business books than I've finished - quite simply, I find them a chore.

Adner's The Wide Lens is the opposite - it is a joy to read. Filled with useful concepts and real world lessons, and written in a clear, compelling manner, Adner makes each chapter interesting by telling the real story of companies that succeeded or failed - and why.

Interesting - it's a FUN read. How often can you say that about a business book?
Clear and concise - Adner excels at transferring knowledge efficiently - little wonder that he is a successful teacher
Useful - Adner's description of the interconnected nature of many of today's innovative products and services, and how to avoid the trap of a narrow focus, are great lessons
Great Stories - From digital movies, to inhalable insulin, to run-flat tires and many more, you will find yourself very knowledgable about business successes and failures covering a wide range of products and services

This is Adner's first book, I wish there were more!

In short: read this book.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Wide Lens - A Must Read March 6 2012
By Vijay Govindarajan - Published on
Ron Adner's The Wide Lens is a welcome addition to the important topic of innovation. Everyone agrees that in a fast changing world, innovation is the key. Yet, most companies struggle to innovate. Why? One reason is that they tend to focus on their own innovations but fail to leverage innovations outside the company's four walls. Competition for the future depends upon collaboration among an eco-system. Ron Adner shows how to do it. This is a must read.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Game-changing strategic frameworks March 3 2012
By Ken Fraser - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The strategic frameworks developed in the Wide Lens have changed how I think about the world. I have little doubt that this ecosystem perspective will pervade managerial thinking and business school training for future generations of leaders throughout the world. For now, these ideas offer a distinctive, practical and ground-breaking view on innovation strategy. This work is at the forefront of business thought and Ron Adner is on a climb that will see him join the highest echelon of business strategists, alongside FW Taylor and Michael Porter. This book is a must read for any serious or aspiring executive.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Essential Look at 21st Century Business March 3 2012
By VTReader - Published on
I was fortunate enough to take Ron Adner's class at Tuck as a student and it was far and away the best class I took. To this day I still apply his teachings on a daily basis working in the startup world.

Adner challenged students to think beyond the standard strategy frameworks and view success or failure with a "wide lens." It was an eye-opening experience. Once you get used to this way of viewing the world, it's impossible not to see innovation ecosystems cropping up everywhere. And it frequently leads to counterintuitive conclusions!

In this book Adner highlights the best of his teachings and punctuates each concept with vivid case studies of Apple, Michelin, Nokia, Pfizer, and more.

As an MBA student I was required to read many, many books on strategy and innovation. I could have saved a lot of time by just reading The Wide Lens and skipping the rest. If only it had been available back then!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most useful business book I've ever read March 3 2012
By John Kaye - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Adner's work is both richly insightful and easy to grasp. The cases are vivid and tools applicable to a wide audience - general managers, product managers, founders, business school students, C-suite executives and everyone in between. I found the three-part structure of the book to be extremely useful and thought it enhanced my level of learning by clearly and systematically building upon the earlier concepts presented - developing a very valuable toolbox of relevant examples and frameworks along the way.

The first section introduces the inherent challenge of innovating within innovation ecosystems (which exist in every industry once you learn how to spot them) and makes explicitly clear the hazard that co-innovation and adoption chain risks pose to even the most well-funded and highly skilled organizations (the Michelin run-flat debacle and Nokia's epic 3G failure are especially illuminating). He proves the point that in today's business environment, listening to customers and flawless execution are not enough - these are necessary but in no way sufficient. In the second section, Adner presents a bold assessment of how, when, and where to compete in order to maximize one's likelihood of success - including a brilliant discussion of how to spot when first-mover advantage is a benefit and when it's a curse via the First-Mover Matrix. In the final section, a clear blueprint is presented to teach managers how to think about ecosystem reconfiguration and steps for shaping ecosystems in order to eliminate a firm's innovation blind spots and prevent avoidable failures.

The singing reviews from other A-list business minds like Jim Collins and Clay Christensen are spot on. This book has changed the way I think - I use at least one of Adner's case examples or frameworks on a daily basis. Buy this book, read it, and then keep it on your desk - it will change the way you think about managing innovation and your business.
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