very company wants to grow, and the most proven way to do so is through innovation.
The conventional wisdom is that only disruptive, nimble startups can innovate; once a business gets bigger and more complex, corporate arteriosclerosis sets in. Over the last three decades, I’ve researched innovation and have had extraordinary on-the-ground experience with big companies and fast-growing ones that have moved beyond the startup stage. The culmination of that work is “Creative Construction,” which yields a new perspective about how bigger companies can leverage scale for competitive advantage in innovation.
The book begins with the simple reality that bigger companies are, well, different. Demanding that they “be like Uber” is no more realistic than commanding your dog to speak French. Bigger companies are complex. They need to sustain revenue streams from existing businesses, and deal with Wall Street’s demands. These organizations require a different set of management practices and approaches: a discipline focused on the strategies, systems and culture for taking their companies to the next level. Big can be beautiful, but it requires creative construction by leaders to avoid the creative destruction that is all too often the fate of many corporate titans.
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We tend to think about innovation strictly in terms of new technologies, but in reality, innovative business models have long been the key driver of both economic growth and competitive outcomes. Here’s an example…
Ed Catmull, President of Pixar, Author of “Creativity, Inc."
I really loved this book. Larger companies have so many opportunities to innovate, both in technology and business models. The problem isn’t scale, but with management practice and mindset; how do we think about, manage, or be smart about it? While it is hard to strike the balance between short-term needs and committing resources to bigger, but unknown changes, it is critical.
Noubar Afeyan, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, Flagship Pioneering
Highly engaging. …Gary Pisano is compelling and clear in explaining how companies can evolve their understanding of and approach to innovation, and come to see it not as something ethereal, random, or near-magical, but as the natural outcome of a set of efforts focused on culture, organization, and the bringing together of mindsets and ideas in creative ways.
Michimasa Fujino, Founding President and CEO of the Honda Aircraft Company
Pisano systematically approaches the fundamental concept of business innovation in the real world.
Vicki Sato, Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School
Refreshingly practical in its emphasis on the very difficult ‘how-to’ of creating value through innovation, while staying grounded in the larger theoretical considerations of strategy, organization and leadership.
Conor Kehoe, Senior Partner Emeritus of McKinsey & Company
Innovation is the heart of economic progress. "Creative Construction" provides the intellectual framework to understand it, and describes the leadership, strategy, culture and skills for it to occur in well-resourced large organisations. Along the way, these ideas are beautifully brought to life by examples from the earliest days of the Industrial Revolution to the current era of the FAANGS.
Joseph Hinrichs, President, Global Operations, Ford Motor Company
Finally, a book that speaks to me and, actually, any leader in a business that has been around for more than a few years, on how we can creatively use our scale for innovation. The next time you hear people opining that innovation is the province of the nimble startup have them sit down and start reading "Creative Construction."