Book Review: Innovation and Entrepreneurship - Kick-Start Innovation In Your Company
Book Title and Edition: Innovation and Entrepreneurship. First Edition.
Author: Dr. Peter F. Drucker (PhD in International Law, Frankfurt University)
Condensed Review/Thesis: Rather than mysterious flashes of genius, innovation and entrepreneurship are a "practice and a discipline" - meaning you can develop your skills with concentrated effort (and this book!).
Author's Background: Professor, management consultant, bestselling author of 39 books, and the "Father of Management Theory," Peter F. Drucker's impact on the field of leadership cannot be overstated.
Intended Audience: Business leaders and owners.
Larry's Two Cents: Innovation is hard! As leaders, we can leave it to chance - or we can make it a priority. And, according to Drucker, it may not be as difficult as we make it out to be (though still, it's no walk in the park!). He lays out four internal sources of innovation (the unexpected, the incongruities, innovation based on process need, and changes in industry or market structure) and three external sources (demographics, changes in perception, mood, or meaning, and new knowledge).
Each of these areas is knowable; we can gather and analyze data. We can do research. And with this insight, we can innovate. In his typical straightforward style, Drucker explains each source of innovation, uses real-life examples, and poses questions to help us implement the lessons in our own companies. In keeping with his argument that innovation is a discipline, he provides 7 principles: Do's and Don'ts to which leaders should adhere. It's a useful guide to implementing a culture of continual innovation within our organizations.
I frequently ask my Vistage members, "If your life is like this a year from now, is that good news?" The parallel for our businesses is, "If your company is doing the same thing, the same way, three to five years from now, is that a good thing?" The answer should be "no." Without innovation, your company - and you - will be left behind. And left behind = less competitive = lost business = less profit. Drucker provides ideas for kick-starting innovation; if you want to keep up, and get ahead, you'd do well to read the book - and act on his principles.
When To Read This Book: If you are stuck with the same products or services, delivering them in the same way, to the same customers, i.e. nothing is new and your competitors are beginning to make inroads into your business... or you fear they will.