Nothing brings me joy like a new book. And, what better than a few books on innovation, ingenuity, and the resilience of people to creatively solve problems. It’s in our blood to constantly evolve, survive, and design a better way forward, and during the past few weeks, refocusing my mind on this truth has been a life saver.
I immersed myself in the study of innovation, and I wanted to share the gems I discovered along the way. Please leave a comment with your favorites too!
And, don’t hesitate to check out some great examples of innovations in healthcare including augmented reality and wearables.
Without further ado, here are my must-read innovation books!
Innovation Books Quick List:
- Ten Types of Innovation: The Discipline of Building Breakthroughs
- Evolve or Die: Lessons for World-Class Innovation & Creativity
- Lean Enterprise: How High Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale
- Zone to Win: Organizing to Compete in an Age of Disruption
- Out of Nothing
- Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers
- Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas that Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries
I’m always asked this… Which are the best three? Go with Ten Types of Innovation, Out of Nothing, and Lean Enterprise. They’re a perfect trio of educational, inspirational, and fun. So go ahead, treat yourself!
Innovation Book #1: Ten Types of Innovation
I devoured Ten Types of Innovation. It’s lucid and fierce. Easy to consume, with gorgeously designed graphics illustrating the various patterns of innovation seen across industries. It’s packed with captivating case studies, and it hammers home a key point: product (offering) innovation is not the only type of innovation. I highly recommend this book!
Innovation Book #2: Evolve or Die
Evolve or Die is just plain fun. It’s unabashed and inspirational. The author reminds us of Thoreau saying, you’re not meant to settle for a life of quiet desperation, so get out there, innovate, and create something that will matter. This book feels like a big kick in the butt!
Innovation Book #3: Lean Enterprise
Lean Enterprise is easily my personal favorite in the Lean book series, and it’s not because it’s the purple one. It touches on organizational behavior, culture change, and how to apply design thinking, business innovation, and agile principles at scale. Each chapter is packed with incredibly useful information. My favorite? Chapter 5 on “innovation accounting,” which describes how to effectively measure and monitor innovation within a large organization.
Innovation Book #4: Zone to Win
Zone to Win was actually my first stop along this innovation reading extravaganza. This is a #classic when it comes to thinking about disruption innovation. You’ll probably remember the author, Geoffrey Moore from his other famous books Crossing the Chasm and Escape Velocity, but I recommend starting with this very short, practical manual that describes the challenges large enterprises face when they seek to add a new line of business to their established portfolio.
Innovation Book #5: Out of Nothing
If you only buy one book on this list, get Out of Nothing. This is a beautiful graphic novel that begins with the big bang and ends with the singularity. It explores humanities inherent dreaming mind and its impact on the world. Surreal sequences illustrate our basic instinct to observe, record, and connect, which has formed the basis for all human invention and progress.
Innovation Book #6: Business Model Generation
Business Model Generation is part of the series published by the innovation firm Strategyzer. It’s stuffed with useful tips and frameworks, and I’m particularly fond of the colorful graphics that capture key business concepts, making them simple to understand and easy to remember. I actually consumed all the Strategyzer books, and even pre-ordered The Invincible Company, to be released in two weeks!
This book is especially good for those who are well-versed in Design Thinking, but want to brush up on the fundamentals of business design.
Innovation Book #7: Loonshots
A seemingly viral book, Loonshots has been described as “if the Da Vinci Code and Freakanomics had child.” I enjoyed this book’s telling of the history of innovation, and the common tools and techniques used through time. His description of how to nurture radical breakthroughs by making small shifts in structure rather than focusing entirely on organizational structure.
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