The First Mile: A Launch Manual for Getting Great Ideas into the Market

Overview


You have a great idea, now what?

That first mile—where an innovation moves from an idea on paper to the market—is often plagued by failure. In fact, less than one percent of ideas launched by big companies end up having real impact. The ideas aren’t the problem. It’s the process.

The First Mile focuses on the critical moment when an innovator moves from planning to reality. It is a perilous place where hidden...

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The First Mile: A Launch Manual for Getting Great Ideas into the Market

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Overview


You have a great idea, now what?

That first mile—where an innovation moves from an idea on paper to the market—is often plagued by failure. In fact, less than one percent of ideas launched by big companies end up having real impact. The ideas aren’t the problem. It’s the process.

The First Mile focuses on the critical moment when an innovator moves from planning to reality. It is a perilous place where hidden traps snare entrepreneurs and roadblocks slow innovators inside large companies.

In this practical and enlightening manual, strategic adviser Scott Anthony equips innovators with new tools, questions, and examples to speed through this crucial early stage of innovation. You’ll learn:

• How to evaluate your idea’s strengths and weaknesses using the “DEFT” process—Document, Evaluate, Focus, and Test
• Fourteen recipes from an “experiment cookbook” to gain confidence in your idea or business
• Why “spinouts,” “wrong turns,” and other challenges commonly trip up innovation—and the practical strategies you can use to avoid them
• Why innovators need to seek chaos in an age of constant change—and other essential leadership skills

Drawing on his decade of experience as an innovation adviser and investor, Anthony describes hard-won lessons from disruptive start-ups and global giants alike. The First Mile will give you the knowledge and confidence to travel this perilous—but ultimately promising—terrain.

The first mile can be a scary place, but you don’t have to traverse it alone. This book can help.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/31/2014
Anthony (The Innovator's Guide to Growth) examines entrepreneurs' strategies for launching innovations and offers a step-by-step plan to overcome common challenges. Proposing to apply the scientific method to the management of strategic uncertainty, Anthony cites examples from the food and sports worlds where such an approach has been successful. He introduces the "First Mile Toolkit," which offers a four-part process called "DEFT": document your idea, evaluate it, focus on critical uncertainties, and test. DEFT is designed to help identify weak points, differentiate between fact and assumption, and determine effective experimentation. The second half of the book analyzes the four most common obstacles, experimentation systems, and leadership skills for capably navigating uncertainty. Fresh examples including companies such as AsiaCom and DiGiorno help balance out Anthony's steady plugs for Innosight, the consulting firm where he is managing partner. Anthony skillfully leads readers through his process, though the book makes for challenging reading. However, the author ends each chapter with a distillation of key messages and provides a First Mile Readiness Checklist that readers will value. (May)
From the Publisher

Named one of “9 Big Idea Business Books You Need to Read Now” — Inc. magazine

“Anthony skillfully leads readers through his process…” “the author ends each chapter with a distillation of key messages and provides a First Mile Readiness Checklist that readers will value.” — Publishers Weekly

ADVANCE PRAISE for The First Mile:

Clayton M. Christensen, Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School; author, The Innovator’s Dilemma
“I like this book a lot. Scott shows that while the probability of any specific business idea being successful is quite small, there is a set of principles and processes that are very reliable in building new businesses. They guide you away from strategies that won’t work, toward those that will.”

Aaron Levie, cofounder and CEO, Box; Inc. magazine’s 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year—
The First Mile is a deeply pragmatic and insightful playbook that every aspiring entrepreneur should read. I wish I had this book when I started building my company eight years ago.”

Peter Sims, author, Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries—
The First Mile is a remarkable gift for anyone who wants to turn small bets into big wins. Scott Anthony shares what he does better than anyone else—combines the best innovation research, consulting experiences, tools, and inspiration into one book.”

Bruce Brown, retired Chief Technology Officer, Procter & Gamble—
“Scott Anthony has done it again. Reflecting his unique experience as a consultant, a student, and a practitioner of innovation, The First Mile is a valuable and practical guidebook that will help you significantly improve your innovation output.”

Rita Gunther McGrath, Associate Professor, Columbia Business School; author, The End of Competitive Advantage
“If you’ve ever left a brainstorming meeting frustrated by a lack of follow-through ever wondered why it seems so hard to implement good new ideas, or ever seen promising projects wither away, buy this book. It will transform the way you approach innovation and dramatically enhance your innovation effectiveness.”

Hal Gregersen, Professor of Innovation and Leadership at INSEAD—
“Anthony absolutely hits his full innovation stride in The First Mile! He asks all the right questions to help any leader take bold—but wise—first moves when transforming risky new ideas into concrete, competitive realities. Anthony’s insights, based on a lifetime of global innovation experience, can help anyone battle test their best ideas by rapidly putting them into practice."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781422171769
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Publication date: 5/6/2014
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 169,207
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Scott D. Anthony is the managing partner of Innosight, a global strategic innovation consulting and investment firm. Based in the firm’s Singapore offices since 2010, he has led Innosight’s expansion into the Asia-Pacific region as well as its venture capital activities. He is a sought-after strategic adviser and the author or coauthor, most recently, of The Little Black Book of Innovation and Building a Growth Factory.
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