December 2006

Thought-Provoking Books, Articles and Research Reports

Research Report: The Discipline of Service Innovation
by Peer Insight

Peer Insight is a research-based service innovation firm which has been conducting a study over the past 3 years of innovation in the service sector of US industry.  They conducted in-depth research with 30 companies and 67 innovation projects.  The report summarizes five of the key findings. A free copy of this executive summary is available at their website,

  1. Services follow a less well-defined development path than products.
  2. Leadership engagement is more critical to success in service innovation because the development process is less well defined.
  3. Prototyping techniques have not made the transition from product to service development environments.
  4. There is a strong correlation between successful outcomes and the use of robust customer experience design methods.
  5. Companies that use a single innovation model to deliver both incremental and high-impact innovations tend to get only incremental innovations.


Article: Reinventing Innovation at Consumer Goods Companies

Article is available from online journal McKinsey & Company, November 2006

For years, consumer goods companies have excelled at product innovation.  Recently however, their tried-and-true processes for choosing ideas, selecting business models, and making investment decisions have become orthodoxies that hinder the adoption of novel, tailored and flexible ideas.  Four orthodoxies are particularly ingrained in the consumer goods industry. (1) Innovation starts with existing business models and categories; (2) Focus groups are at the heart of efforts to generate insights; (3) It's best to rely first on internal resources; and (4) Companies should "let a thousand flowers bloom."

Companies must free themselves from these orthodoxies—a tricky task for large, complex and global organizations, but one that will pay off in spades.

This article contains the following exhibits:

Exhibit 1: New-product launches have proliferated in recent years but without substantial innovation.

Exhibit 2: Breakthrough innovation generates the largest returns.

Exhibit 3: In the consumer-packaged-goods industry, innovation is overwhelmingly generated outside of the top companies.


Article: Inside Innovation

Business Week, November 27, 2006

Indepth: Electrolux redesigns Itself

Infocus: Reinventing Kodak again

In Short: Tools and trends to spur creativity


Article: Open Source Spying

The New York Time Magazine, December 3, 2006

Could wikis and blogs prevent a terrorist attack? Inside the new thinking from the cyber-intelligence community. While focused on anti-terrorism, the article has an insightful perspective on the use of Internet 2.0 technology and thinking to reshape organization intelligence gathering, marketplace learning and other challenges related to business complexity and uncertainity.



Book: Alignment
by Robert Kaplan and David Norton Harvard Business School Press 2006

This is the latest in their series of books which is based on the principles and practices of the balanced scorecard and strategy maps.

“As the variety and complexity of organizations have increased over time, managers have searched continually for the optimal organizational structure. But history has shown that there is no perfect structural solution to the alignment of structure and strategy. Because of the inherent tension between the need for specialization and integration, Kaplan and Norton advocate abandoning this impossible quest and instead utilizing a systems approach to organizational alignment.”

©2006 Innovate LLC (all rights reserved)

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