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The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  477 ratings  ·  36 reviews

Companies can’t survive without innovating. But most put far more emphasis on generating Big Ideas than on executing them—turning ideas into actual breakthrough products, services, and process improvements.

That’s because “ideating” is energizing and glamorous. By contrast, execution seems like humdrum, behind-the-scenes dirty work. But without execution, Big Ideas go nowhe
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published September 2nd 2010 by Harvard Business Review Press (first published July 13th 2010)
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Peter Auwera
Aug 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic must read for anybody doing innovation within a big established company
Richard Parent
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Govidarajan and Trimble set forth step-by-step guides for managing innovation. As they acknowledge, their advice is easy to understand but hard to implement. Nonetheless, it's brilliant stuff.

I came to Govidarajan and Trimble's work through their most recent book, "The 3-Box Solution," which I thought was spot-on and invaluable for understanding why innovation is hard, what it needs to succeed, and why your organization isn't doing it. Yet. "The Other Side of Innovation" is their most detailed
Jun 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: enriching
Convinced me that execution is at least as important as the idea and that it's extremely difficult to innovate in an established company. Deliberate org and process changes are needed to enable innovation and it is best done separate from the "performance" org i.e. the part of the company that delivers the quarterly numbers. ...more
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Many of us have equated innovation to all about ideas and heroics of an individual(s) within an organization. We have many different theories of how to make innovation happen. The Other side of Innovation by Govindarajan and Chris Trimble busts many myths of innovation and proves that the limits to innovation in organizations have everything to do with management capability. The authors bat for keeping the Innovation team distinct from the existing business which they refer to as the performance ...more
Em Flynn
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I liked this book, and its real-world examples. It was helpful to see how corporations have approached innovation and created new teams/systems/ways of thinking that is very applicable and translatable for my work. However, this book was exhaustingly redundant, and was written clearly for the too-busy CEO in the way it drove its points home 10x over to make sure we got the point. I would have loved this book had it been 50 pages, instead of 180. But still glad I read it.
Bob Gao
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
it looks like this book is exactly talking the "new technologies" team recently setup in our company.

the great point of this book - it is not another book of stage gate process, it talks about setting up a team and how should we run this team

ideas are only beginnings
conflict between innovation and ongoing operation is inevitable

innovation requires a special team and a special plan
run a disciplined experiment
May 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-of-2019, agile
Really insightful and practical look at solving the challenges large organizations face when trying to innovate. A little bit repetitive, but I had quite a few a-ha moments about innovation team structure and evaluation.
Thomas Brooks
Nov 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Good Read. Great case studies for consultants.
Christophe Meyer
Painless, insightful reading
Explains how successful companies (many examples) manage:
Innovation Dedicated Team: recruiting, organization, evaluation, learning from prediction errors
Ongoing Performance Engine: sharing resources, without damaging it
Advocates for the creation of a Dedicated Team for each innovation initiative
Jun 07, 2014 rated it really liked it

Much of the focus over the last decade or so has focused on the supply-side of innovation. How do you come up with innovative ideas and concepts that you can take to the market. In this excellent book the authors focus instead on the problem of executing innovation. Something of which much less has been written about but which is vitally important for achieving successful innovation.


The authors co-authored an article in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) on frugal
Book Calendar
Jan 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jay Brand
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Excellent insights & suggestions about how to spark innovation within any organization. I'm not certain that the entire prescription outlined in the book would be mandatory given the case studies reviewed, and I'm a fan of "skunk works" and "think tanks"--although intentional links to the rest of the organization are important (e.g., remember Xerox-PARC and MIT Media Lab). Nonetheless, a very important book examining the inherent conflicts between business-as-usual, ongoing operations (the "perf ...more
Ko Matsuo
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good book to help move from having an idea to making an idea happen. Helpful discussion about optimizing the roles of the existing Performance Engine of a company and the new Dedicated Team. Pushes for a planning process that includes learning so as to create accountability for non-routine tasks and uncertain outcomes.

An inspiration to enable invention for the future and not just survival for today.
Jan 04, 2011 rated it liked it
I read this one for work. It was helpful and relevant to anyone tasked with innovation, with practical advice and pitfalls to avoid. I think the book would benefit from using some of the language that books like The Innovator's Dilemma introduced, to help tie this books concepts to prevalent, related concepts. ...more
Paul Boger
Nothing groundbreaking here, but offers a solid methodology for deciding when when, how, and under what structure to develop new business models and products. They've added some helpful vocabulary to the discussion of corporate innovation, but too many of the examples come from the same 2-3 case studies. ...more
Sven Meys
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: management
It's probably a pretty good guide on innovation for someone who is about to launch such a project.
It is an interesting subject, just not that interesting for me today. But I will keep this book on hand for when the time comes.

So for now I rate this below average, because I could not stay focused while reading it, while there are other books which suck you right in, like blue ocean strategy.
Jun 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: management
A practical guide for innovators within large companies... had less to do with innovation in smaller firms, which is why I picked it up in the first place, but still a very helpful read for future potential managers
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Intelligent and thought-provoking - and concrete enough to be useful. The rare management book I might actually buy to keep for future reference. I know some "leaders" who should have maybe read this first. ...more
Elizabeth Langston
Jul 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
We are using most of this book as a template for innovation at my company. While I don't agree with everything proposed by the authors, I think the importance of managing the relationship between the Dedicated Team and the Performance Engine cannot be overstated. ...more
Thomas Burky
Sep 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Pretty basic info on the operational processes for conducting innovative development inside an existing company. This is a good companion to the more economic model focused "The Innovator's Solution" I just read. ...more
Holly Kisly
Sep 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: leadership
Practical guide full of great examples. The content will work well for medium to larger firms. I agree with the other reviewer's point that implementation will likely be difficult for small companies. ...more
Mar 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An excellent, research-based view of innovation within established companies, written in a straightforward manner. Many business books waste your time with lengthy chapters on simple ideas, simply saying the same things over and over again. This book isn't one of them. I highly recommend it. ...more
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Everyone working on projects/project management should have this in their shelves. It's main point is that innovation ideas are only beginnings and that the real challenge lies in execution: the dirty work, making innovation happen. ...more
David Dalka
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Stuart Berman
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business, innovation
The seminal work in how to structure your large organization for handling innovation. It stresses the formal methods available to measure and map innovation work.
Bibhu Ashish
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
simple and very practical. The new equation of innovation and the model of executing an innovative idea is very handy for anyone struggling with the question of execution of an innovative idea
May 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Hard to reduce "how to innovate" to writing but this is the best I've read on how to do so in a corporate setting. ...more
Dec 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Good tips and tricks on how to manage innovation execution especially on how to separate innovation teams from the main business teams (called it performance team).
a little bit of reputation
Walter A
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Walter by: Ethan Bachrach
Great book for anyone undertaking initiatives that are not routine.
Jul 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Not really my style, but it's a good book if you're interested in creating and leading innovation initiatives within a large organization. ...more
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Vijay Govinadrajan is the Earl C. Daum 1924 Professor of International Business at the Tuck School at Dartmouth's Center for Global Leadership. ...more

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