Getting Smart About Innovation – Readings, Videos, Websites

Innovation Related Readings


The Innovator’s Solution by Clayton Christensen and Michael Raynor, This book comes as a follow-up to Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma. This business best seller is deserving of its accolades, as it provides a comprehensive, well written, and well researched examination of how organizations can break away from the success that they’ve had in the past that is ultimately holding them back from taking achieving that next step change in growth.

Driving Growth Through Innovation by Robert B. Tucker, I do not know why this book does not get more recognition. Tucker does an outstanding job of breaking down what is necessary for an entity to commit to, if it really wishes to become an Innovative organization. The writing and examples used are clear and easy to understand, making this one of the books on Innovation I find myself recommending more than most.

The Art of Innovation by Tom Kelley, Kelley the CEO of IDEO the design consultancy takes the reader down an enjoyable path of thinking creatively, getting groups/teams to think creatively, and then embedding the culture of creative thinking into an organization. Of course, all of this is from a product design perspective. The stories are a little self-serving, but quite enjoyable and got me to say, “That’s so cool.” a couple of times.

Open Innovation by Henry Chesbrough, The seminal book on Open Innovation. It does a good job of describing what Open Innovation is, the benefits of pursuing an Open Innovation strategy, and providing examples of instances where it has been used successfully. It is written in a business style for business people, but don’t hold that against it. If you are interested in Open Innovation, this is the book for you.

Cracking Creativity by Michael Michalko, While written more for the practitioner, this book provides a nice overview of how to see what others can not and how to think what others are not thinking. Extremely similar to his other book from a content standpoint, the writing and examples are better in Cracking Creativity. The techniques, exercises, and group work presented here are excellent to skim through when looking for ideas to help run a workshop. Michalko has also put out Thinkpak, a deck of cards to help with all phases of brainstorming.

A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech, I love this book! It is not your basic business text. Written much more for the practitioner, Whack, provides numerous exercises and ideas for how to unleash your own and others’ creativity. The final chapter speaks to the need to not only come up with great ideas, but also to take action and bring ideas to market. Von Oech has put out 2 decks of cards, Creative Whack Pack and Innovative Whack Pack to provoke and inspire creative thinking.

Made to Stick by Chip Heath & Dan Heath, Written by two brothers this book is not really focused on Innovation, but some of the concepts explored in this book on how to make ideas sticky are directly applicable to the development or rather refinement of Innovative products and services. It is one of those books that makes you think about how you communicate and present yourself. An excellent read.

How Breakthroughs Happen by Andrew Hargadon, The title of the book is pretty self-explanatory. And while the material in it is good, it seems doomed to suffer the same fate as many business books – being skimmed.

Fast Second by Markides and Geroski, The premise of the book is that it is not the inventors that get famous (and rich) but rather the innovators, the folks who are able to take the invented technology and get it to market in a way that consumers find valuable. The book uses examples as a way of proving its point and illuminating the keys for being the ‘fast second’ company and capturing the value.


A.G. Lafley discusses Innovation at P&G. This 15 minute video clip is a good overview of how they view Innovation at P&G and where they are on their journey.


As their web-site says, more lets you discover innovative products and technologies from all possible domains. It is easy to blow 30 minutes just surfing around looking at all of the really cool products from around the world. provides commentary on all things Innovative with a clear lean towards creative types. It has excellent links to articles across the web. This is definitely a place to go for a couple of very insightful short reads every week or so. was the first and the leader in open innovation across the Internet. They post challenges from corporations with rewards for the best answers. Respondents from around the world work these mainly research but also development problems in hopes of solving them and getting paid for it.


There are so many articles relating to Innovation that instead of trying to pick out 1 or 2 of special note, I would just suggest looking in Harvard Business Review and The McKinsey Quarterly for their 3 to 5 most recent articles on the subject.

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Source by Keith Morton

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