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The Innovator's DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  1,110 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Are you the next Steve Jobs?
You could be as innovative and impactful--if you can change your behaviors to improve your creative impact.
In The Innovator's DNA, authors Jeffrey Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and bestselling author Clayton Christensen (The Innovator's Dilemma, The Innovator's Solution) build on what we know about disruptive innovation to show how individuals can deve
ebook, 272 pages
Published July 12th 2011 by Harvard Business School Press
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Aaron Maurer
Here is another book review with perspective with how the content can be applied to education. This is how I always read my materials.

On with the review.

Book website:

This book was another fascinating read. I have been blessed to have read many great books in a row. This one is another one that all people should read.

The authors conducted an eight year study that established 5 Skills that all innovators possess.

1. Association
2. Question
3. Observe
4. Network
5. Experiment

When I
Joshua Guest
It took a sheer force of will to finish this because a friend of mine wanted to borrow it. At the conclusion of my first reading, I felt like I had heard the same quotes and same ideas over and over so many times that I marveled how Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen could write the same chapter 10 times and get Clayton Christensen to let them put his name on it (I say that because I don't ever sense Clay's voice throughout the mini-tome). The book is so repetitive, I had to wonder if they had put on an e ...more
The concepts are great and definitely worth incorporating into your daily life, but all of the important information can be found in the HBR article they wrote - the book just adds anecdotal stories from the lives of successful innovators. Some of the cases were so tied to business that I found them contradictory when trying to apply them to the citizen or government sectors. There are 4 skills to practice, which culminate in the skill of association, or connecting various fields and ideas. That ...more
I found the way the authors approached the topic of innovation to be at odds with the overall structure of the book. This dichotomy was distracting. While the book is about innovative entrepreneurs, thinking outside the box, and what it takes to master those skills, the authors presented the information in an extremely structured, traditional, and data heavy format. It seemed strange to be posturing that one could up their innovation quotient through a structured set of contrived behaviors. The ...more
I love every book I've ever read written by Clayton Christensen. This book describes five characteristics that all innovators share in common: Associating, Questioning, Observing, Networking, and Experimenting. I would like to develop these skills to help me in my career. After the first section of individual skills developed by innovators, he lists out companies that share this same DNA structure and are able to innovate in the marketplace. I found this book, like all the other Christensen book ...more
Didn't really like it. Too much Steve Jobs boosterism, and I don't agree with the basic premise that if we all get to be better innovators, we can be like Steve Jobs too. That's not really a goal I aspire to, frankly, nor do I think it's possible.
However, there is some helpful language here that will help those in the delivery chain think more creatively about discovering areas for improvement.
Catherine Read
The book was really good and I loved the concepts and the examples they used. I felt it was longer than it needed to be. The basic concept of "the innovator's DNA" is that people engage in certain types of specific behaviors that impact how well they are able to innovate. Those behaviors are Associating, Questioning, Observing, Networking and Experimenting. In using Associational Thinking (Associating), the authors posit that innovation breakthroughs happen at the intersection of diverse discipl ...more
Good, but nothing earth-shattering here.
Stephen Collins
The research piece behind this book might be the next thing I read, as I'm intrigued by the academic rigor applied.

The reveal and living examples of the five skills - questioning, networking, experimenting, observing and associating - are tangible and approachable given their articulation through well-known and highly visible entrepreneurs running innovative companies. There's much to be gleaned by looking at the way these people behave and, even through simple emulation, enhancing one's own ski
Horacio Hoyos
With exemplar innovators and successful innovating companies examples this books dwells on the whys and hows of their essence as innovation agents in under to help the reader understand what needs to be done to be an effective innovator. The book is divided into two chapters, one for individuals and one for companies. The regular reader may find the insights useful and might want to incorporate a couple of suggestions into their life. However, as most management books, the ideas and suggestions ...more
Jeffrey Williams
If you ever want to know why some of the biggest companies - Dell, Amazon, Apple, are so big and constantly refining what they do, this book provides the answers. Dyer et. al., really did their homework into understanding the thought process and personality profiles of some of the top-notch "Disruptive Innovators" in business today and give you ways of improving your own Innovative skills. Highly recommend this book for those who want to succeed in your chosen vocation.
Interesting read, inspired by the great books of Clayton M. Christensen. In the appendix they suggest a more appropriate title for the book: "The 5 disciplines of highly successful innovators": associating, questioning, observing, networking and experimenting. It contains a lot of clear examples of both innovative people and organizations. Very well recommended (after you've read the Innovator's Dillema and Innovators Solution).
This is my go-to gift for young friends, nephews, nieces who are entering college. I think it is a good reminder to use the college years to ask questions, to push discovery and experimentation, and to find fellow travelers on a lifelong journey of learning.
This was an exciting book for me. If you want to learn how to create a workplace built around the core value of innovation, I suggest studying this book. For a business/highbrow subject, INNOVATOR's DNA is highly readable.
Mary Louise
This book is excellent. If the CEO of a certain company is a creative innovator at heart or better yet a "disruptive" innovator, he will lead a group of other innovators. If not....simply more of the same, deliverers. Super compelling reason why we need to think seriously about why we need many more creative people instead of adding more technology in our industries and the world, for that matter. We have way too much technology, now we need to find a way to counter it with many, many more creat ...more
Nic Brisbourne
Great book this – nearly five stars

The identification of five innovation skills is powerful:
• Associative thinking
• Networking (for ideas, not resources)
• Questioning
• Observing
• Experimenting

The last four of these are skills that can be learned or improved. One of the main takeaways of the book is that innovation is a learnt skill, not a natural ability.

Also interesting to note is that these skills are very different from those of an execution oriented executive. Much of innovating is somewhat
Christian E
Excellent book! Loved it. It's not all about methodologies and processes. If you are aspiring to be an innovator, entrepreneur, creative or something similar, you should read this one.
Chase Lin
Dyer explores common traits recent eminent tech innovators share: habits, environments, practices, philosophies, and many other factors that make an innovator an innovator. The values the author shares are not just for technology entrepreneurs but for everyone.
Dec 08, 2014 ACRL added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: motw
Read by ACRL Member of the Week Peace Ossom Williamson. Learn more about Peace on the ACRL Insider blog.
Brendan Brooks
Essential book for any modern business decision maker in today's fast paced environment. If you dont innovate you will lose, and here are some essential lessons, techniques, and habits to ensure you keep ahead of your competition, or even better, find your blue ocean with a transformational innovation where you can enjoy big rewards.
Jay Pillalamarri
One of thr finest books on innovation and more importantly it breaks down the process scientifically. Highly recommended.
Favorite quotes "“I haven’t failed . . . I’ve just found 10,000 ways
that do not work.” -Thomas Edison-
Listened to the Audible edition. The narrator was too monotone for me. The information was good, though.
Alex Kiura
From the writer of The Innovator's dilemma, another classic on building a habit of innovation
Innovation gurus Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen and Clayton M. Christensen studied today’s innovators and synthesized their findings into this immediately applicable handbook. They never oversimplify or suggest that innovation always succeeds, but they do indicate that the practices they identified in their research correlate with commercial achievement. getAbstract recommends their expert compilation to those who want to become more innovative, to business leaders seeking to revitalize their firms an ...more
Ilya Mrz
Awesome book. But it's not a DNA)))
Very good and inspiring book. I would recommend it for everyone as must read.
One thing I don't like is over explanation of ideas of the book. Cut it twice and it would get 5 stars!
As a fan of Clayton Christensen, I thought this would be an interesting read. The main insight -- that questioning, observing, associating, networking, and experimenting are together the keys to innovation -- was interesting, but it probably could have been adequately explored in a long article. The book just ended up being pretty repetitive, and the explanations obvious in view of Christensen's other work. That being said, this is still a great book for anyone interested in inventing or improvi ...more
Dewayne Griffin

The past five months I have been a part of an innovation team for my company and I see this book as a must read for anyone working in my area. Reading this book has been a great reinforcement to the challenges and direction we are striving to create.

I would recommend this book to anyone who really is trying to unleash their own innovation skills on thinking differently. The principles in this book are evident in successful entrepreneurs and the companies that desire to be successful in the years
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Innovative thinking is really Learnt!! 2 7 Feb 25, 2014 03:10AM  
  • The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth
  • The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge
  • Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity
  • Design Driven Innovation: Changing the Rules of Competition by Radically Innovating What Things Mean
  • The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO's Strategies for Defeating the Devil's Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization
  • The Innovator's Method: Bringing the Lean Start-up into Your Organization
  • The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage
  • Blah Blah Blah: What To Do When Words Don't Work
  • The Entrepreneur's Guide to Customer Development: A Cheat Sheet to the Four Steps to the Epiphany
  • Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rule-breakers, and Changemakers
  • Visual Meetings: How Graphics, Sticky Notes & Idea Mapping Can Transform Group Productivity
  • Little Bets: How Breakthrough Ideas Emerge from Small Discoveries
  • Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works
  • The Startup Owner's Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company
  • 101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization
  • Seizing the White Space: Growth and Renewal Through Business Model Innovation
  • Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works
  • The Wide Lens
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“the best way to get a good idea is to get a lot of ideas.” 3 likes
“recent IBM poll of fifteen hundred CEOs identified creativity as the number-one “leadership competency” of the future.” 3 likes
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