Synopses & Reviews
If you don't look beyond your innovation, you're setting yourself up to fail.
Innovation is today's business mantra. But the sad reality is that, all too often, good people work hard on projects that can't succeed. Why? It's rarely a lack of customer insight or bad execution. According to Ron Adner, too many projects fail because managers don't understand how their success depends on other actors in their "innovation ecosystem."
These external stakeholders are easy to overlook, but are the critical difference between success and failure. For example, although Nokia was first to market with a revolutionary 3G wireless phone, it failed to take off because co-innovators responsible for crucial technologies-like network infrastructure and mobile service-were years late to market. Likewise, Hollywood struggled for a decade to make the switch to digital film, all because the studios neglected a critical partner-the theater operators-who were reluctant to pay for the costly transition that would benefit studios but not themselves.
Drawing on a decade of research and field testing, Adner untangles the often baffling mysteries of why great products fail. He reveals the hidden logic of innovation ecosystems and offers clear steps that firms can take to drastically increase their odds of success.
"Innovation, from conception to product to consumer acceptance, is key for business success, but many great ideas have failed to have their anticipated impact on the consumer and the bottom line. Starting with an analysis of some great failures, Adner, a strategy professor at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business, finds that the weakness was neither innovative nor corporate; rather, it was in the ecosystem. Knowledge of the ecosystem interrelationships between the parts of the chain from innovation to consumer is often overlooked. Adner shows how to map out the terrain of this ecosystem before suggesting practical steps that can be implemented to resolve problems and create a functional, proper ecosystem. A plethora of case studies allows for a clear analysis of numerous scenarios, both failures and success, with a depth rarely found in pragmatically-tinged books. Adner's evaluation of the early-mover advantage as compared to the ecosystem, and his discussion of Adoption Chains (highlighting the fact that the onus is usually not on the positives, but rather on reducing the negatives) are but two of the book's many gems. Anyone involved in moving a product from conception to adoption will not want to let this book pass them by. Agent: Edmond Harmsworth, Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
How can great companies do everything right—identify real customer needs, deliver excellent innovations, beat their competitors to market—and still fail?
The truth is that many companies fail because they focus too intensely on their own innovations, while neglecting the ecosystems on which their success depends. In our increasingly interdependent world, winning requires more than just delivering on your own promises. It means ensuring that a host of partners—some visible, some hidden—deliver on their promises, too. Ron Adner draws on over a decade of research and field testing to reveal the hidden structure of success, from Michelin’s failed run-flat tires to Apple’s path to market dominance. The Wide Lens offers a powerful new set of frameworks and tools that will multiply your odds of innovation success.
About the Author
has spent the past decade studying the root causes of innovation success and failure. He is an award-winning professor of strategy at Dartmouth College, whose writings have appeared in the Wall Street Journal
, the Financial Times, Forbes,
and the Harvard Business Review.