What's the Big Idea?: Creating and Capitalizing on the Best Management Thinking

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The secrets of successful idea practitioners change management. Reengineering. Knowledge management. Major new management ideas are thrown at today's companies with increasing frequency - and each comes with evangelizing gurus and eager-to-assist implementation consultants. Only a handful of these ideas will be a good fit for your organization. Choose the right idea at the right time and your company can become more efficient, more effective, and more innovative. Choose the wrong one - or jump on the right ...
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Overview


The secrets of successful idea practitioners change management. Reengineering. Knowledge management. Major new management ideas are thrown at today's companies with increasing frequency - and each comes with evangelizing gurus and eager-to-assist implementation consultants. Only a handful of these ideas will be a good fit for your organization. Choose the right idea at the right time and your company can become more efficient, more effective, and more innovative. Choose the wrong one - or jump on the right bandwagon too late - and your company could fall hopelessly behind. Thomas H. Davenport and Laurence Prusak say that some managers have found ways to improve their odds of success in the risky but essential game of idea management. In "What's the Big Idea?, they introduce a largely unsung class of managers they call - idea practitioners - individuals who do the real work of importing and implementing new ideas into businesses.While gurus reap most of the credit when big ideas take flight, Davenport and Prusak's research reveals that idea practitioners actually play the most important role: they turn the right ideas into action. Drawing from decades of consulting, academic, and business experience and from their novel study of more than 100 of these critical change leaders, "What's the Big Idea?" offers tools and frameworks for: assessing the merits of the top business gurus; scanning and tracking emerging ideas in the marketplace; distinguishing promising ideas from rhetoric; refining ideas to suit your organization's particular needs; packaging and selling the idea internally; and ensuring successful implementation.Davenport and Prusak prove that there are no faddish management ideas - only faddish ways of adopting them. Encouraging managers to embrace the power of ideas while avoiding the hype that often accompanies them, this pragmatic guide shows how passion and reason combine to build innovative companies.
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Editorial Reviews

Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Linking Business Ideas To Business Success
New ideas about management come and go. To choose the right one for an organization, managers must wade through the hype and fads to pinpoint the idea that meets their needs. Thomas Davenport and Laurence Prusak performed a study of dozens of "idea practitioners" - those who champion new ideas within their organizations - and have combined the results with their extensive consulting, academic and business experiences to determine where the best new ideas can be found and how they can be developed.

The new ideas in What's the Big Idea? are the different approaches to improving business performance and management advanced over the years - from total quality management, worker empowerment and reengineering to knowledge management, activity-based costing, balanced scorecards, and so forth. The authors point out that the companies that sell idea-oriented products and services should be especially focused on idea practitioners, because they are their primary customers and influencers for other buyers.

Avoiding Fads, Improving Initiatives
What's the Big Idea? also provides a set of tools and frameworks to help idea practitioners decide which ideas are the right ones to pursue, how fads can be avoided, how others can be brought in to improve initiatives, and how true change can be implemented.

New ideas, when they are well executed, can inspire and bring new energy to employees, increase organizational vitality and renewal, and motivate organizational change that can help an organization adapt to its environment. The authors write that business ideas:

  1. Improve, or try to improve organizational performance. Although this might not always work, improving cost, cycle time, financial performance, market share, etc. are what new business ideas can deliver.
  2. Provide legitimacy. When a business tries to implement new business ideas, this indicates that an organization and the individuals within it are attempting to improve their business, even if they are unsuccessful.


A Growing Trend
The time is right to focus on idea management because companies in sophisticated economies must be able to offer "solutions," rather than only products, write the authors. These solutions tend to be bundles of products, services and ideas that together can solve business problems. Since ideas are often used to differentiate services in general, idea practitioners are more important now than ever to help organizations capitalize on this growing trend.

For example, when copiers and other office equipment began to become commoditized, idea practitioner Dan Holtshouse helped Xerox remake itself into "The Document Company." One implication of the document-company idea was that the company began to offer document processing services to corporate clients. This service, which embraces the concept of uncovering strategic ideas, is one of Xerox's most successful businesses.

The authors also point out the problems that can arise when ideas go wrong or become faddish. In addition, the authors offer practical approaches and detailed case studies to help managers sell ideas into their own firms.

Why Soundview Likes This Book
The numerous case studies included in What's the Big Idea? make it a fascinating and informative book about knowledge management and the importance of new ideas in the current business environment. Along with a careful examination of the ideas and idea practitioners that have changed the focus of numerous companies and improved their businesses, a detailed interview with celebrated idea guru Steve Kerr provides inspiration for future idea leaders and practitioners. Copyright © 2003 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578519316
  • Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
  • Publication date: 4/17/2003
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author


Thomas H. Davenport is the President’s Distinguished Chair at Babson College and a research fellow at the MIT Center for Digital Business. Laurence Prusak is the Director of IBM's Institute for Knowledge Management. Jim Wilson is an associate of the Institute for Strategic Change.
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Table of Contents

Preface
Ch. 1 Winning with Ideas: How Business Ideas Are Linked to Business Success 1
Ch. 2 The Idea Practitioners: Who Introduces Ideas to Organizations? 21
Ch. 3 Ideas at Work: It's the Content That Counts 49
Ch. 4 The Guide to Gurus: Where Good Management Ideas Come From 69
Ch. 5 Market Savvy: How Ideas Interact with Markets 97
Ch. 6 Will It Fit?: Find Ideas That Fit Your Organization...Then Sell Them 123
Ch. 7 The Reengineering Tsunami: A Case Story of an Idea That Became a Tidal Wave 155
Ch. 8 Knowledge Management: A Case Story of a "P Cycle" Movement 179
Ch. 9 Idea-Based Leadership: How Can Your Organizaation Lead with Ideas? 195
App. A A Select Survey of Business and Management Ideas 215
App. B The Idea Practitioners 217
App. C The Top Two Hundred Business Gurus 219
Notes 223
Index 231
About the Authors 241
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