Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Seeing What's Next

I am back in reading mode and am many blog entries behind on my book reviews. I love reading (thanks mom) and am inspired by good business books. They help me to grow. As I face business challenges, I often find a book gives me the needed ideas to shake me lose.

I read an awesome book by one of the leading thinkers of our time - Clay Christensen called "Seeing What's Next - Using the Theories of Innovation to Predict Industry Change".

Christensen is great. He come up with the theory of disruptive innovation in his previous book - Innovators Dilemma.

From Don Mitchell's review on Amazon (note the time management technique - why re-invent the wheel):

In Seeing What's Next, the authors take on the challenge of helping executives and managers consider the likelihood of disruptive technology changes occurring and how they should evaluate their potential responses in light of current information.

The analysis looks at both the perspective of the companies that will be disrupted and displaced as well as those who are leading the disruptions. The book is a remarkable combination of theory, process suggestions and detailed case histories to explain the suggested process. As a result, this book will be the most practical guide available for technology executives until Professor Christensen brings out the next installment of his thinking in a future book.

In Part I, the authors use existing theories about disruptive innovations to suggest which signals to pay attention to as suggesting that opportunities exist, how to determine if competitors will be a factor in disruption, choosing an appropriate response and considering how government and other nonmarket influences can affect the result.

In Part II, the process of applying the Part I theories are exemplified in higher education, commercial aviation, semiconductor customer benefits, health care productivity, non-U.S.-based innovations and strategies, and the telecommunications industry.

Back to me.

I found the book to be insightful and practical. That said, there was an academic complexity to it that makes the application somewhat more difficult. I think is is partly because Christensen is such high intellect and partly because he is a university professor.

My sense, for me, is I often rely on intuition or gut feel on trends. The book might be able to help me put more substance to these. And the book is also great for causing me not to just look at what I "want" to happen but what might really happen.

Good book - read it.

And publicity on me:

I published an article on how to use turbulence to galvanize rather than paralyse at CMA Blog. The gist of the message is we choose to let circumstance drive us harder or scare us into not acting. The choice is ours.


At 11:10 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

Gotta love a practical read!

At 11:19 PM, Blogger FRANCESCA said...

First, congratulations on making the 100 Awesome Business Blogs for your Education! A very nice affirmation of all the thought and time that goes into writing a quality blog.

Ahhh yes, 'reading mode'...I love summer for the fact that it allows me more time to leisurely read books I've put off.

....and thanks to our moms for instilling the passion of the 'book'! Growing up we had a library room in the home and I always thought of it like one huge 'treasure chest'...

At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Brett Legal Advice said...

The evolution of technology is currently happening at such a rapid pace that today's hot item is tomorrow's obsolete piece that you just can not get rid of!

This book definitely is a must read, as it makes a bit of a science out of predicting trends, along with coiaching you as how to interpret signals which may be clues to imminent change.

While gut feel is great, and instinct should never be disregarded, a bit of science definitely helps with forecasting too.


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