Summary of The Innovator’s Hypothesis

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  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Author and MIT research fellow Michael Schrage discusses innovative action and empirical results. He explicitly and persuasively campaigns against rhetoric and the tyranny of ideas. His core points reflect his battle against entrenched mind-sets and in favor of the 5x5 quick, cheap method of running business innovation experiments. Though his prose is elegant and clear, Schrage states his concepts about cheap, fast experimentation so often that you might be tempted to flip ahead. Instead, stay with him for his valuable core lessons and for writing so engaging that his concepts seem as if they might triumph on rhetoric alone. getAbstract recommends his work to everyone interested in innovation, design, corporate culture and clear thinking.

About the Author

A research fellow at MIT’s Center for Digital Business, Michael Schrage is the author of Serious Play and Who Do You Want Your Customers To Become?



Ideas Versus Reality

Common wisdom holds that innovation requires ideas and that you need good ideas to compete in business. The reality is that “good ideas are typically bad investments.” Innovation is crucial, but just seeking new ideas is not the best way to innovate. Insisting on mustering good ideas wastes time and money. Instead of brainstorming new ideas, focus on developing one or more “business hypotheses” and testing them through “business experiments.”

A business hypothesis is a belief about how to create value – a belief that you can test. Business experiments don’t determine truth or falsity. They don’t claim something is universally true for business. The team generating the hypothesis believes that a particular action or ability will lead to specific, desired and “measurable outcomes.” You and your team should agree on “an explicit and understood measure” to use to evaluate the experiment’s results, such as an observable change in performance. Your experiments should be “easily replicable”; that is, other people should be able to repeat the experiment to verify your results.

The “5x5 Approach”

The 5x5 tactic is a “rapid innovation ...

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    V. D. 3 years ago
    Very informative. It deserves a read or two.. Maybe you should keep this book close to your desk.
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    C. B. 5 years ago
    Read, shared with Vincent & O Peeters