Innovation is the ruling buzzword in business today. Technology companies invest billions in developing new gadgets; business leaders see innovation as the key to a competitive edge; policymakers craft regulations to foster a climate of innovation. And yet businesses report a success rate of only four percent for innovation initiatives. Can we significantly increase our odds of succeeding at innovation? In The Innovator’s Way, innovation experts Peter Denning and Robert Dunham reply with an emphatic yes. Innovation, they write, is not simply an invention, a policy, or a process to be managed. Innovation is a personal skill that can be learned, developed through practice, and extended into organizations.
Denning and Dunham define innovation as the art of getting people to adopt change. They draw a distinction between invention and innovation: many inventions never become innovations, and many innovations do not involve an invention. They identify and describe eight personal practices that all successful innovators perform: sensing, envisioning, offering, adopting, sustaining, executing, leading, and embodying. Together, these practices can boost a fledgling innovator to success. Weakness in any of these practices, they show, blocks innovation.
Denning and Dunham describe innovation at scales ranging from the private (a family organization of chores and allowances) to the planetary (the invention and adoption of the World Wide Web). They provide a detailed account of the eight practices and how to accomplish them; and they chart the path to innovation mastery, from individual practices to teams and social networks.
About the Authors
Peter J. Denning is Distinguished Professor, Chair of the Computer Science Department, and Director of the Cebrowski Institute for Information Innovation and Superiority at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He is the author of The Invisible Future, Talking Back to the Machine, Beyond Calculation, and other books.
Robert Dunham founded the Institute for Generative Leadership and the consulting company Enterprise Performance.
Table of Contents
- The Innovator’s Way
- The Innovator’s Way
- Essential Practices for Successful Innovation
- Peter J. Denning and Robert Dunham
- The MIT Press
- Cambridge, Massachusetts
- London, England
- © 2010
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means (including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval) without permission in writing from the publisher.
- For information about special quantity discounts, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
- This book was set in Sabon by Toppan Best-set Premedia Limited. Printed and bound in the United States of America.
- Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
- Denning, Peter J., 1942–
- The innovator’s way : essential practices for successful innovation / Peter J. Denning and Robert Dunham.
- p. cm.
- Includes bibliographical references and index.
- ISBN 978-0-262-01454-0 (hardcover : alk. paper) 1. Technological innovations. I. Dunham, Robert. II. Title.
- HD45.D36 2010
- 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2
- To Dorothy
- To Josephina
- Foreword by John Seely Brown ix
- Preface xiii
- Acknowledgments xxi
- Prologue: Pasteur and the Dying Cows xxiii
- I Foundations of Innovation 1
- 1 Invention Is Not Enough 3
- 2 Generative Innovators in Action 31
- 3 Frames of Mind 49
- 4 Observing 77
- II The Eight Practices 109
- 5 Practice One:
- Sensing 111
- 6 Practice Two:
- Envisioning 141
- 7 Practice Three:
- Offering 173
- 8 Practice Four:
- Adopting 187
- 9 Practice Five:
- Sustaining 203
- 10 Practice Six:
- Executing 219
- 11 Practice Seven:
- Leading 241
- 12 Practice Eight:
- Embodying 257
- III Journey to Mastery 289
- 13 Building a Culture of Innovation 291
- 14 Mastering the Mess 313
- 15 Social Networking and Innovation 343
- 16 Dispositions of the Masters 365
- Epilogue: Stradivarius Street 379
- Appendix 1 Eight Practices Summary Chart 381
- Appendix 2 Eight Practices Assessment Tool 385
- Appendix 3 Levels of Performance at Innovation 389
- Appendix 4 Somatic Exercises 395
- About the Authors 401
- Index 403
“This book will directly appeal to all those involved with inventions, innovations, and research and development-including those in computer and information science areas, as well as business leaders responsible for organizational renewal through innovations.” , C.S. Arora, Computing Reviews
"Innovations (adopted inventions) become platforms for the next innovation. The World Wide Web could not have existed without the Internet and has itself now become the next platform for new innovations. This book amplifies the importance of adoption to turn invention into innovation."
Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist, Google
"Denning and Dunham have taken innovation out of the realm of mysterious abilities into a very concrete set of practices. The Innovator's Way is a well researched book that walks its talk."
Julio Olalla, President and Founder, The Newfield Network
"Denning and Dunham make clear something I have been muddling through for decades. I wish I long ago had their checklist of eight practices of The Innovator's Waywould have saved me a lot of wasted time."
Bob Metcalfe, Ethernet inventor, 3Com founder, National Technology and Innovation Medalist
"Truly innovative thinking about innovative thinkingbut it's the authenticity of the authors' experience that makes this book uniquely valuable and valuably unique."
Michael Schrage, Research Fellow, MIT Sloan School Center for Digital Business
"Denning and Dunham have set a new standard for the inquiry and practice of innovation. Their approach is fresh and revolutionary. Their eight practices are practical, wise, and usher in a new and much-needed perspective on the how of innovation. Standing on solid research and experience this book transcends theory and takes you to the practices that allow innovation to flower. The Innovator's Way belongs on every leader's desk."
Richard Strozzi-Heckler, author of The Leadership Dojo
CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, 2011.