Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators: From Idea to Execution. Vijay Govindarajan, Chris Trimble. Harvard Business Review Press.

Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators: From Idea to Execution Book Cover Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators: From Idea to Execution
Vijay Govindarajan, Chris Trimble
Harvard Business Review Press
December 1, 2005

Even world-class companies with successful business models eventually hit the ceiling on growth. That’s what makes emerging industries so attractive. These markets represent huge opportunities for capturing long-term growth and competitive advantage. But because they lack the proven formula for making a profit, they are risky and expensive – with dire consequences for failure.

Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble argue that every organization’s survival depends on strategic experiments that target such untested markets, but few firms understand how to implement them successfully. Too many managers think that a great idea is enough to get them from business plan to profitability, but somewhere in the middle of the innovation process, most organizations stumble. In Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators, Govindrajan and Trimble reveal where firms go wrong on their journey from idea to execution – and outline exactly what it takes to build a breakthrough business while sustaining excellence in an existing one.

Based on an in-depth, multiyear research study of innovative initiatives at ten large corporations, the authors identify three central prerequisites to strategic innovation:

  • Forgetting some key assumptions that made the current business successful
  • Borrowing assets from the established organization to fuel the new one
  • Learning how to succeed in an emerging an uncertain market

The authors illustrate ten rules to help organizations meet these challenges, and show how firms must rewire their “organizational DNA” across four main areas – staffing, structure, systems, and culture – in order for a promising new venture to succeed. They also spell at the critical role senior executives must play in managing the inevitable tensions that arise between today’s business and tomorrow’s.

Breakthrough growth opportunities can make or break companies and careers. Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators is every leader’s guide to execution in unexplored territory.

Vijay Govindarajan is the Earl C. Daum 1924 Professor of International Business at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. Chris Trimble is an adjunct associate professor at Tuck and a senior fellow at Katatzenbach Partners, LLC. The authors direct the William F. Achtmeyer Center for Global Leadership.