The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge

The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge

Companies can’t survive without innovating. But most put far more emphasis on generating Big Ideas than on executing them—turning ideas into actual breakthrough products, services, and process improvements.That’s because “ideating” is energizing and glamorous. By contrast, execution seems like humdrum, behind-the-scenes dirty work. But without execution, Big Id...

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Title:The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge
Author:Vijay Govindarajan
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Edition Language:English

The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge Reviews

  • Peter Auwera

    Fantastic must read for anybody doing innovation within a big established company

  • Richard Parent

    Govidarajan and Trimble set forth step-by-step guides for managing innovation. As they acknowledge, their advice is easy to understand but hard to implement. Nonetheless, it's brilliant stuff.

    I came to Govidarajan and Trimble's work through their most recent book, "The 3-Box Solution," which I thought was spot-on and invaluable for understanding why innovation is hard, what it needs to succeed, and why your organization isn't doing it. Yet. "The Other Side of Innovation" is their most detailed

    Govidarajan and Trimble set forth step-by-step guides for managing innovation. As they acknowledge, their advice is easy to understand but hard to implement. Nonetheless, it's brilliant stuff.

    I came to Govidarajan and Trimble's work through their most recent book, "The 3-Box Solution," which I thought was spot-on and invaluable for understanding why innovation is hard, what it needs to succeed, and why your organization isn't doing it. Yet. "The Other Side of Innovation" is their most detailed book, delving into the nuts and bolts of managing innovation. Highly recommended.

  • Book Calendar

    The Other Side of Innovation Solving The Execution Challenge by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble.

    The Other Side of Innovation is about innovation inside enterprises. It does not cover innovation inside startups. This is a business management book. The authors argue that there are usually two ways to innovate; build special innovation teams or improve on existing products.

    Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble argue that for major changes it is important to create specia

    The Other Side of Innovation Solving The Execution Challenge by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble.

    The Other Side of Innovation is about innovation inside enterprises. It does not cover innovation inside startups. This is a business management book. The authors argue that there are usually two ways to innovate; build special innovation teams or improve on existing products.

    Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble argue that for major changes it is important to create special groups of people outside of every day operations. This is because innovating requires different skills and mindset than day to day operations. They make the case that innovation is about learning, experimenting, and taking risks. These are not day to day activities in most corporations.

    I found their argument convincing. Where they said innovation occurs inside a corporation is in its "performance engine". It is there that small continuous changes in process and execution can be introduced over time. This has to have more than just ideas and excution, it also has to be accepted by managers or it will not work.

    The examples the authors use are from large corportations; Nucor, Fisher-Price, John Deere, Thomson West and other large corporations. The writing is easy to follow; it is in plain english. The book is written for the practitioner. It even includes a set of assessment tools at the end of the book.

    There is a Scholarly Foundation section at the end of the book. Like all the content in this book, they justify their choices. They not only give bibliographic citations, they also give reasons why the material was cited. This makes the writing more believable.

    This book is a quality business title. It is published by Harvard Business Review Press. Both Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble are faculty at The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth. There is a companion website at

    I plan to read their other book, Ten Rules For Strategic Innovators. It is supposed to be more focused on startups.

  • Yasser

    Convinced me that execution is at least as important as the idea and that it's extremely difficult to innovate in an established company. Deliberate org and process changes are needed to enable innovation and it is best done separate from the "performance" org i.e. the part of the company that delivers the quarterly numbers.

  • Synexe

    THE MAIN IDEA

    Much of the focus over the last decade or so has focused on the supply-side of innovation. How do you come up with innovative ideas and concepts that you can take to the market. In this excellent book the authors focus instead on the problem of executing innovation. Something of which much less has been written about but which is vitally important for achieving successful innovation.

    INTERESTING TIDBIT

    The authors co-authored an article in the Harvard Business Review (HB

    THE MAIN IDEA

    Much of the focus over the last decade or so has focused on the supply-side of innovation. How do you come up with innovative ideas and concepts that you can take to the market. In this excellent book the authors focus instead on the problem of executing innovation. Something of which much less has been written about but which is vitally important for achieving successful innovation.

    INTERESTING TIDBIT

    The authors co-authored an article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) on frugal innovation with Jeff Immelt, the head of General Electric (GE).

    WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW

    Organizations need to devote specific resources to innovation. But, and herein lies the difference to many others who argue this, these groups need to be embedded and inter-connected to other parts of the other organizations. The reason is that skunk works may not have the connectivity with market intelligence and knowledge of the capacity and capability of their organization as a whole to actualize the ideas that they come up with. That is – they can’t innovate in a vacuum.

    THE GENERAL OVERVIEW

    Established businesses are generally focused on efficiency – through increased predictability and speed – rather than innovation. But, innovation is unpredictable and messy which is at odds with this other aim. In response to this the authors promote the creation of specific, dedicated innovation centers within organizations that are nonetheless connected and linked in with the other aspects of the organization. And, they ought to be held accountable for their work – although in this case it would be their ability to learn from their mistakes rather than, say, keeping to their budgets.

    It’s a great book. The most valuable element it brings though is the author’s corrective on the over-focus that has occurred in recent years on the Start Up as the model for organizational behavior. Start Ups play a valuable role in our organizational ecosystem – but merely one role. There is still a role for more mature an established organizations – albeit one that is changing as the environment in which they operate continues to shift and change – and it is important for us to better understand how to help these types of organizations operate more effectively as they create value in the world. If there is a problem with the book it is that they tend to promote THE answer for the role of execution in innovation – dedicated innovation resource centers – rather than propose that as one example amongst others within the innovation tool box that managers and leaders can utilize to improve their organization’s ability to execute on innovation.

  • Christophe Meyer

    Painless, insightful reading

    Explains how successful companies (many examples) manage:

    Innovation Dedicated Team: recruiting, organization, evaluation, learning from prediction errors

    Ongoing Performance Engine: sharing resources, without damaging it

    Advocates for the creation of a Dedicated Team for each innovation initiative

  • Bob Gao

    it looks like this book is exactly talking the "new technologies" team recently setup in our company.

    the great point of this book - it is not another book of stage gate process, it talks about setting up a team and how should we run this team

    ideas are only beginnings

    conflict between innovation and ongoing operation is inevitable

    innovation requires a special team and a special plan

    run a disciplined experiment

  • Joe

    Really insightful and practical look at solving the challenges large organizations face when trying to innovate. A little bit repetitive, but I had quite a few a-ha moments about innovation team structure and evaluation.

  • Em Flynn

    I liked this book, and its real-world examples. It was helpful to see how corporations have approached innovation and created new teams/systems/ways of thinking that is very applicable and translatable for my work. However, this book was exhaustingly redundant, and was written clearly for the too-busy CEO in the way it drove its points home 10x over to make sure we got the point. I would have loved this book had it been 50 pages, instead of 180. But still glad I read it.

  • Thomas Brooks

    Good Read. Great case studies for consultants.

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