Title: The Innovator’s Dilemma
Author: Clayton M. Christensen
You should read if: you are involved in product line planning, corporate strategy, or looking to commercialize a new technology.
Description: I heard Mr. Christensen speak at an innovation seminar in 2004, and was struck by his poise and obvious intelligence. This book defines and describes the impact of a disruptive technology. The book is a fun read well supported with anecdotes and data visualizations. From a product management perspective, the contents are both exciting and frightening, and if you can internalize the concepts, the book is a great resource for product planning. The ideas apply to both large companies and startups though these constituents are usually on opposite sides of the disruptive technologies. Mr. Christensen follows up this book with two others, The Innovator’s Solution and Seeing What’s Next, both good reads.
Title: Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Author: Peter F. Drucker
Topics: Innovation, Ideation
You should read if: you want a systematic approach to developing new product and service concepts.
Description: Maybe it was the context of my life at the time, but when I read this book, I was blown away, I felt like I’d found a gold mine. When I was reading this book I was working in a product planning role in an established, medium sized company and struggling to find appropriate new product concepts for the division. My group was attempting to create a systematic ideation process to incorporate into the division’s best practices. It was a struggle! When we mapped out the origination of our best ideas, they seemed to come from random sources. When we analyzed why concepts we expected to be great failed, we did not come to an actionable conclusions on how to better evaluate concepts. Drucker’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship provides excellent insight into both of these issues. In this book, Mr. Drucker identifies and describes the seven most likely sources of new concepts, and ranks them in their likelihood of succeeding. He supports this by explaining how established companies struggle with new concepts because of their mature and often inflexible practices, and also presents some ideas on how to structure a new concepts group within an established company to allow exciting new concepts to flourish. The book is well written, an easy read, and provides real and rational guidance on identifying and developing new concepts.