Skip to content

The Top 5 Books on Innovation (And How To Be More Collaborative)

1.  Good To Great  :  Why Some Companies Make The Leap … And Others Don’t 
– By Jim Collins

In “Good to Great,” Collins draws from a wide research pool of managers to see what common threads are held between those who thrived. While Collins’ work may be over 20 years old, the principles that defined how some companies made “the leap” while others failed to do so remain just as true in today’s business environment. Using easily identifiable standards and comparisons, the findings are sure to challenge your notions about how best to incorporate technology into your business plan.  One of the most startling revelations from this book is how sometimes the difference between “good” and “great” for a business does not hinge on their own internal competence, but on how they relate and communicate with stakeholders having overlapping purpose , passion and being good at collaboration.

2.  Going On Offense : A Leader’s Playbook For Perpetual Innovation
– By Behnam Tabrizi

Even a huge victory today doesn’t guarantee success tomorrow for businesses, and leaders can’t afford to rest after experiencing success. This book highlights how leaders can best set the stage for recurring innovation – from top to bottom throughout their teams. By not fearing new technology like AI but learning to effectively integrate it for better performance, Tabrizi prepares his readers for the realities of the future workplace in a practical manner.  Whether you are looking to extend your network or simply wish to fine-tune your company culture so it’s more conducive to innovation, Tabrizi provides a clear playbook that readers can implement within their own business with speed and ease.  This kind of thoughtful but aggressive mindset doesn’t just allow a business to innovate better and faster but makes future collaboration with other forward-thinking partners more likely to occur. Chapter nine, titled Radical Collaboration, is full of practical advice on how to create a culture of collaboration.

3.  Originals : How Non-Conformists Move The World 
– By Adam Grant

Going against the grain requires bravery. While those who stick to well-tread paths will enjoy security and success to some degree, to make a splash, you have to take risks that often fly in the face of conventional logic. This book dives into how businesses that welcome new and often conflicting ideas to be shared at the top level are far more likely to innovate and make an impact upon the world. Conflict far too often holds a negative association, but in business learning to effectively move past the fear of rejection and challenge is essential to building something that stands apart from your peers. These lessons aren’t limited to internal growth either but are easily transferable to collaborating with partners who hold strong opinions. Learning how to have these difficult conversations in the open allows ideas to flow more freely — and the chance of stumbling upon a game-changing innovative idea increases.

4.  The Innovator’s Dilemma : The Revolutionary Book That Will Change The Way You Do Business 
– By Clayton M. Christensen

Developing and incorporating new ideas into a business is essential to avoiding stagnation, but leaders often fear upsetting the status quo that led to their initial success. This conflict serves as the centerpiece of  “ The Innovator’s Dilemma.” The book highlights common factors at play so readers can better understand and build a balance between maintaining success while searching for the next major breakthrough. Even as technology changes, the principles are timeless. Importantly, incrementally incorporating new technologies, ideas, and even partnerships enables a leader to hold onto what works while exploring new concepts, opportunities, etc. While not all of them will materialize, but by allowing the space for experimentation without completely overhauling your business strategy, you create a more flexible, open company culture.

5.  The Creativity Leap : Unleash Curiosity, Improvisation And Intuition at Work 
– By Natalie Nixon

Creativity is often associated with the arts, despite the fact that creativity is an intrinsic part of business and other fields. As Nixon argues, humans are hardwired for creativity, making this a competency that can be developed by anyone in any organization to develop breakthrough products and services. This book features interviews with 56 individuals from widely varying backgrounds including – medicine, technology, farming, and plumbing to illustrate the ways that creativity can come into play through the titled attributes of curiosity, improvisation and intuition.  As well a variety of tools and techniques are provided to encourage creativity in any workplace and valuable food for thought that leaders can use to enhance their own innovative thinking and drive stronger business outcomes. 

Innovation is a journey (not a milestone or a guarded process) that is the result of a vision, exploration, curiosity, etc. – with extensive collaboration and learnings involving stakeholders, technologies, ideas, etc.  And recognize there are many ways to create the forum or set the stage for innovation to happen and learning from others to meaningfully improve outcomes and prudently manage the risks associated with innovation.

With these books helpful in developing the mindset to “ Innovate for Impact “ – this will enable you to be good at identifying areas of opportunity, be more opportunistic, become more digitally savvy, make it easier to effect change, be great at collaboration, etc. This is important to have a more resilient and agile organization that is accomplished at creating important new capabilities and products that generate significant new value – for Customers and Stakeholders.

Nov 2, 2023 By  Kate Vitasek / CAIL Innovation commentary            905-940-9000