Innovation. It’s a term we hear nearly every day, yet it still feels intangible, inaccessible and, at times, downright impossible. “Many managers have a hard time applying [innovative thinking and tools] in the corporate environment because they run counter to traditional managerial thinking and practice,” say Jeff Dyer and Nathan Furr. The innovation and leadership gurus believe today’s uncertain world, riddled with excess information, invention and fickle customer demands, requires a whole new set of organizational principles.
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that a second industrial revolution has occurred, a revolution fueled by new technologies and customers and accompanied by radical uncertainty,” explain Dyer and Furr, professors at Brigham Young University. “Companies don’t hold on to customers as long as they used to, and new technologies and competitors are emerging faster than ever before.”
Dyer and Furr’s just-published book, “The Innovator’s Method: Bringing the Lean Startup into Your Organization” (Harvard Business Review Press, Sept. 2014) responds to 21st century uncertainty. A follow-up to “The Innovator’s DNA” (co-authored by Dyer, Harvard Business School’s Clayton Christensen and MIT’s Hal Gregersen) and drawing from proprietary research based on the authors’ annual Forbes Most Innovative Companies List, this how-to guide reveals a process to test and validate new ideas before scarce resources are wasted building products or services customers don’t really want or need. As a result, business leaders are able to create as much certainty as possible in the midst of a volatile business environment.
Stemming from firsthand conversations with global innovators, including Intuit’s Scott Cook and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, the experts also address how leaders must evolve in this new age of uncertainty. “The innovator’s method enables you to make effective decisions about the future – but you must first define a new role for yourself,” say Dyer and Furr. “You must learn a new way to be right.”