The Power of Little Ideas: A Low-Risk, High-Reward Approach to Innovation

The Power of Little Ideas: A Low-Risk, High-Reward Approach to Innovation

by David Robertson, Kent Lineback

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Conventional wisdom today says that to survive, companies must move beyond incremental, sustaining innovation and invest in some form of radical innovation. "Disrupt yourself or be disrupted!" is the relentless message company leaders hear. The Power of Little Ideas argues there's a "third way" that is neither sustaining nor disruptive. This low-risk, high-reward strategy is an approach to innovation that all company leaders should understand so that they recognize it when their competitors practice it, and apply it when it will give them a competitive advantage.

This distinctive approach has three key elements:

  • It consists of creating a family of complementary innovations around a product or service, all of which work together to make that product more appealing and competitive.
  • The complementary innovations work together as a system to carry out a single strategy or purpose.
  • Crucially, unlike disruptive or radical innovation, innovating around a key product does not change the central product in any fundamental way.

In this powerful, practical book, Wharton professor David Robertson illustrates how many well-known companies, including CarMax, GoPro, LEGO, Gatorade, Disney, USAA, Novo Nordisk, and many others, used this approach to stave off competitive threats and achieve great success. He outlines the organizational practices that unintentionally torpedo this approach to innovation in many companies and shows how organizations can overcome those challenges.

Aimed at leaders seeking strategies for sustained innovation, and at the quickly growing numbers of managers involved with creating new products, The Power of Little Ideas provides a logical, organic, and enduring third way to innovate.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633691698
Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press
Publication date: 04/11/2017
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 917,476
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

David Robertson is a Professor of Practice at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. From 2002 through 2010, he was the LEGO Professor of Innovation and Technology Management at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland. Robertson is the host of Innovation Navigation, a weekly radio show and podcast that focuses on the management of innovation. Robertson is the author of Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry and coauthor of Enterprise Architecture as Strategy.

Kent Lineback has spent more than twenty-five years as a manager and executive and, before that, several years as a consultant and a creator of management development programs. He has collaborated on several books, including Being the Boss.

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Table of Contents

Preface: Seeing Innovation Differently ix

1 How Little Innovations Produce Big Results 1

2 LEGO and Apple Computer: Masters of the Third Way 35

3 The Four Decisions and Why They're Difficult 61

4 Decision 1: What Is Your Key Product? 87

5 Decision 2: What Is Your Business Promise? 101

6 Decision 3: How Will You Innovate? 131

7 Decision 4: How Will You Deliver Your Innovations? 159

8 Lessons from an American Icon 187

Epilogue 209

Notes 211

Index 223

Acknowledgments 233

About the Authors 235

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The Power of Little Ideas: A Low-Risk, High-Reward Approach to Innovation 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Reancont More than 1 year ago
Excellent book addressed to product manager or similar. Innovation is fundamental for the permanence of brands, but also has its edges and risks. The author explains that a revolutionary, radical or disruptive innovation is more likely to fail, or in other words a success low rate. The book provides an approach to innovation with the objective of maintaining a competitive product in the market that remains relevant, fresh and attractive to the consumer. But also this strategy can be applied to develop new successful products, or introduce existing products into new markets. This type of innovation is called the Third Way, first it seeks to innovate around the core product to complement it and not to change it substantially, second it focuses on making it attractive for a segment of key customers, and third it poses little strategic risk, therefore little investment and also if it fails does not seriously affect. In some cases the authors also mention the decrease in advertising on television, a percentage towards online to social media. The strategy is clearly explained, with detailed examples of very successful real cases. The third way is the way to keep the promise to customers of continuing to obtain value from the company's products, or rather the key product and continue to depend on and rely on it. In addition, the authors have created an attractive website with resources to expand the understanding and application of this strategy. My gratitude to the Publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to review the book