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

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  2,058 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
A new classic, cited by leaders and media around the globe as a highly recommended read for anyone interested in innovation.

In The Innovator’s DNA, authors Jeffrey Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and bestselling author Clayton Christensen (The Innovator’s Dilemma, The Innovator’s Solution, How Will You Measure Your Life?) build on what we know about disruptive innovation to show how
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published July 19th 2011 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published July 12th 2011)
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Aaron Maurer
Dec 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
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
Apr 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
May 03, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
Good, but nothing earth-shattering here.
Horacio Hoyos
May 09, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Kent Winward
May 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was wavering between two and three stars. Here is the thing -- if you are going to write about innovation, why do you do it like everyone else? More cult of Jobs/Bezos/Page sycophancy. The book could have used a little innovation to differentiate it from EVERYTHING else on the market that is exactly the same.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it did not like it
Insight comes from exposure to different ideas, experimenting and reflecting. This is no big news, I don't see what all the hype is about. But I suppose that if you find this book useful, then maybe you indeed needed it in the first place.
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic Read

Although this book was necessary for my course I will use this information forever. Must read for all leaders. Thanks!!!
John Monteiro
Jun 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Summarizes the 5 essential skills or "DNA" of innovators - associating, questioning, observing, networking & experimenting. Infused with examples of inventors and innovators.
Denise Easter
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Excellent book for leadership today - describes how to imagine and invite improvement, not be afraid of change, and even seek out new (innovative) ideas.
Catherine Read
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
A great book that tells you what sets apart companies or people who "talks" about innovation but produced minimal results and those who have "walked the talk" and created disruptive changes. It isn't about what framework or methodology you adopted but what culture and behaviors you adopted in your organization.

Through extensive research and interviews, the book suggests that there are 5 core skills to be innovative - the skills to associate, to question, to observe, to experiment and to network
NJ Wong
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Innovator's DNA is similar to The Innovator's Solution, but I prefer the earlier Solution book. In DNA, the authors identify the habits and practices of people whom they identify as successful disruptive innovators, and suggest that readers can follow this same practises to be come successful innovators.

Part of the book is written like a workbook (you score yourself on a list of questions, and then check your score to identify the DNA trait that you supposedly possess). I am not really fond
Khalid Sulami
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
I like this book! and here're some take-aways:
People can improve their innovation techniques, though creativity comes more easily to some than to others.
Successful innovators use the five “discovery skills that compose the innovator’s DNA.”
First, practice “associative thinking” by making connections among various ideas from disparate areas.
Second, “ask questions”; be willing to look foolish.
Third, “observe” what people do, how they do it and why.
Fourth, “network” with people from a range of bac
Gumble's Yard
Jan 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
The book's main premise is that most senior manager and organisers are better at delivery than innovation. The first book in very standard business book style outlines the 5 traits of an innovators "DNA" and those with a high Discovery Quotient (DQ): Association (between ideas, concepts, products, industries), Questioning, Observing (including customers, competitors), Networking (with as wide a range of people as possible), Experimenting. The second part of the book identifies the 3 key Ps by wh ...more
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
Jan 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Filled with practical exercises for building innovation capacity. The biggest takeaway? Companies most consistent performance for innovation had innovative leaders at the top through all product cycles. Nods are also given to the critical importance of execution skills but the author shows clear distinction in the two skill sets supported by the research he conducted.

C suite leaders who model innovative behaviors that emerged from the research, lead organizations that consistently deliver inno
Brad Henderson
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've read 5 or 6 books recently on creativity and this book gives an excellent framework/summary of a lot of the research I've read. Because I had read a number of other books on the topic, nothing was completely novel, but the way the book organized much of that research was extremely well done and reinforced the other readings I had done.

Some company examples are slightly anecdotal but much if the book is backed by years of research.

Overall I loved the book. It's the book I'd recommend to anyo
Jun 13, 2012 rated it really liked it

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
Jan 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: biz-lit
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
Sam Motes
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Disruptive innovation is driven by companies with a creative mentality rather then just an execution mentality. The insights in this book about gaining a wide exposure across industries and cultures to look for links that are not that obvious is intriguing. The idea of a vu ja de event where you truly see and grasp new insight in something you have been looking at for years due to knew perspectives is a very powerful idea.
Scott Lupo
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Great book for those looking to find that spark for innovation. Lots of tips and exercises to get you started in thinking in different ways. My only critique is that I've read quite a few books about culture, innovation, creativity and the such and every book uses the same examples for companies. Surely there is more than a handful of companies out there that are doing amazing things. Sure they may not be Fortune 500 companies but I would like to see some other examples.
Dec 09, 2015 rated it liked it
interesting book that highlight subjects as innovative companies and individuals, the book divided into two sections, the first one highlights the five discovery skills (association, questioning, observation, networking, experimenting) that are associated with innovative companies and products. The second one is putting innovation into practice through people, process and philosophy. The book gives good real examples knowing that it is a result of eight years study.
Jeffrey Williams
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
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Innovative thinking is really Learnt!! 2 7 Feb 25, 2014 03:10AM  
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  • Weird Ideas That Work: How to Build a Creative Company
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