From periodic innovation to relentless innovation

How can your company become a relentless innovator? How do you sustain innovation over long periods of time like Apple, 3M and Google?

Jeffrey Phillips of Innovation Consultancy OVO, persuasively writes that the way to create a sustainable innovation capability in large organizations is by turning what keeps your wheels running, middle management, into innovation Champions.

Not easy. But that’s the main premise of the book. And it is this reason alone why I think this is a must read book. While there are other authors who have touched on the topic of management as an inhibitor to innovation, Jeffrey really goes a lot deeper.

Other books on innovation either deal with the pretty part of ideation or they’re all over the place. Relentless Innovation is easy to read with many interesting case studies and practical advice. This is a very focused book and addresses the ‘how’ to create culture of innovation within a large and complex organization.

From Project to Capability

There are a handful of reasons why middle management becomes and impediment for innovation and Jeffrey shines light on them. But it all starts with the fact that middle managers have a sizable investment in following business-as-usual. They are the gatekeepers for the current business model, and are being rewarded for keeping it that way. But to innovate means creating a new business model. And this doesn’t sit well with current management.

Ultimately, consistent innovation success is about a shift from efficiency as business-as-usual to innovation as business-as-usual. Innovation success relies on making innovation something that people expect and anticipate, rather than an occasional, unusual exercise in reinvention.

Therefore the main challenge for any large organization, and any small business for that matter, is understanding that there needs to be a balance between being efficiency at executing the current business model but also have the capability to innovate.

I’m sure some companies understand this but don’t know how to exactly do it. Jeffrey Phillips points the path forward. And when competition is moving a breakneck speeds and nimble competitors emerge from different directions, large organizations are finding it more difficult to compete because they can’t move beyond their current business model.

The Holy Grail in the Innovation Consulting space is how to turn innovation into a business function as opposed to just treating it as a one time only activity. Jeffrey Phillips hits a Home Run. I took a lot of notes and a lot of knowledge from reading this book and while it mainly deals with large corporations; Executives, Entrepreneurs and Managers of fast growing companies should read this book.

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