The Innovator's DNA by by Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen & Clayton Christensen - Book review

The Innovator's DNA

Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators

By: Jeffrey H. Dyer, Hal B. Gregersen, Clayton M. Christensen

Published: July 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1422134814
ISBN-13: 978-1422134818
Publisher: Harvard Business Press

"Our project's primary purpose was to uncover the origins of innovative - often disruptive - business ideas", write disruption, innovation and strategy thought leaders Jeffrey H. Dyer, Hal B. Gregersen, and Clayton M. Christensen, in their groundbreaking, research based book The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators. The authors describe how the ability to create innovative ideas is not simply conducted with the mind, but also depends on the innovator's behavior.

Jeff Dyer (photo left), Hal Gregersen, and Clayton Christensen recognize the critical importance of innovation to any company. Not only does innovation provide new products and services to the company's lines, but innovation creates a measurable innovation premium in the company's stock price, creating a double benefit for innovative organizations. For the authors, the challenge was to discover the company behaviors, from the top managerial leadership to the entire organizational activities. Through their interviews with leaders of companies, that the authors recognized for their innovations, it was determined that innovation was more than simply a way of thinking. Innovation was a way of behaving that could be broken down into five important core skills that can be duplicated through practice in other companies.

Hal Gregersen (photo left), Clayton Christensen, and Jeff Dyer interviewed innovative business leaders and compiled a list of innovative companies. The list included the obvious corporations, but also included some less well known innovative organizations. The research results uncovered the necessity of the company's leadership to be strongly supportive of innovation, and even to be important innovators themselves. The innovative companies were found to mirror the innovative style and strengths of the innovative CEO, making the business an innovative powerhouse.

The research also uncovered the five behaviors practiced by innovative leaders, and by extension, their companies. These traits are then organized into repeatable processes that encourage employees to continue innovating at all times. The five discover skills are:

* Associating
* Questioning
* Observing
* Networking
* Experimenting

For me, the power of the book is how Clayton Christensen (photo left), Jeff Dyer, and Hal Gregersen combine their pioneering research with practical advice for developing an innovative organization. The critical insight that innovation is not only a mind based activity, but also a behavioral one, transforms the very concept of innovation. The authors move the principle of innovation from one of being the sole province of the lone creative genius, to a set of steps in a process. That systematic basis for introducing innovation into a company culture becomes one of greater acceptance, and is less challenging for corporate leaders.

The introduction of a new process, in this case an innovation system, provides a powerful and game changing option for leading companies to embrace and utilize to their advantage. The additional revenue and profits from the resulting innovative products, combined with the stock value's innovation premium, makes this book an important addition to the overall field of innovation.

I highly recommend the transformational and very practical and real world oriented book The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators by Jeffrey H. Dyer, Hal B. Gregersen, and Clayton M. Christensen, to anyone seeking a systematic approach to innovation, that is grounded in real world experience by the world's most innovative companies. This book will change the way you and your company think about innovation, how ideas are generated, and how the proven process can be implemented within your own organization

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