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The Business of Innovation

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The Business of Innovation

Managing the Corporate Imagination for Maximum Results


15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

Innovation might be a spontaneous spark of brilliance — or it just might be something you can manage, nurture and guide.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


Roger Bean and Russell Radford examine the history of innovation for ways that your organization can innovate continually. They ask why companies successfully innovate for a while and then lose steam. Their answer is a new organization-wide system that prioritizes innovation, management and strategy. This fairly academic structure - more like a proposal than a working process - encourages building systemic promotion of continual innovation by creating an environment that values, nurtures and encourages it, cascading from the executive to the managerial to the operational team level. However, toward the end of the book, the authors refer to using a Balanced Scorecard for assessing performance from a total quality perspective. That approach bypasses the inspirational, charismatic form of innovation and cuts right to the process, like an accountant or an engineer’s model of innovation. Thus, if you are process-savvy but hesitant about new ideas, suggests that this might just be the innovation book for you: lots of system, not much flash.


The Need to Innovate

Companies must innovate to create the customer value necessary for surviving and thriving. Like any evolving organism, companies must change and adapt to shifting times. To sustain innovation, your organization must manage the creative innovation process. Otherwise, your company may have a period of innovation, like many others that undergo a period of innovative leadership. But most of those innovators lose that spark. Xerox, once a leader in innovation at its Palo Alto research center, lost out when Apple and others took its ideas and succeeded, and then lost their leadership slots to Microsoft.

Manage this innovation process using a model based on three central beliefs: 1) "Innovation matters; 2) Management matters; and 3) Strategy is the key enabler." Such innovation can include "research" or R&D. No matter what the source, manage any research or innovation in the service of your corporate strategy. To generate a specific result in the marketplace, innovation must be propelled by your corporate intent. Although an innovation can include a variety of changes - in products, promotion, pricing, sales, distribution, support or service - it ...

About the Authors

Roger Bean and Russell Radford, Ph.D., are principals in the consulting firm Bean, Radford & Associates and co-authors of Powerful Products. Radford teaches at Cardean University and both live in Michigan.

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