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The Global Brain

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The Global Brain

Your Roadmap for Innovating Faster and Smarter in a Networked World

Wharton School Publishing,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Looking to innovate cheaper and faster? Tap into a global network.

Editorial Rating



  • Analytical
  • Innovative
  • Visionary


The idea of the “Global Brain” is not brand-new. However, as India’s and China’s economies continue to expand, and as their workforces’ technical expertise booms, this concept is becoming increasingly important in the business world. Modern companies must tap into ideas, talent and technology from around the globe to stay competitive. Satish Nambisan and Mohanbir Sawhney present a framework for thinking about and using “network-centric innovation” (NCI) in your firm. Although they intend their book to be practical, readers may find it more theoretical. The authors explain their models clearly, using helpful metaphors and anecdotes, but it will be up to you to find a way to implement them. getAbstract recommends this book to executives, research and development professionals, and managers who want to close the gap between “the desire to innovate and the ability to innovate.”


Looking Outward

Innovation is the engine of prosperity. New products and services enable companies to compete profitably in the marketplace. This is especially true today. During the past century, products’ life cycles have been shortening. Whereas products once sold for decades with few modifications, they now can become obsolete in months or even weeks.

To succeed within these condensed product cycles, you must reduce the cost of innovation. Companies no longer have the resources to build the vast in-house teams and technical infrastructure necessary for product development. Many feel the pressure of the “Red Queen effect.” This metaphor, taken from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, describes the ever-quickening race for innovation. In the topsy-turvy country of Carroll’s Red Queen, running as fast as you can merely keeps you in place. To move forward, you must run twice as fast as you are able. How can your firm achieve this seemingly impossible goal? By building innovation networks with other organizations.

Companies are now developing global resource networks that combine their various specialties. The experts, organizations and technologies...

About the Authors

Satish Nambisan is an associate professor at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lally School of Management and a widely published author. Mohanbir Sawhney is the McCormick Tribune Professor of Technology and the director of the Center for Research in Technology & Innovation at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

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