I spotted this book a while back, ordered it and ended up having to wait a bit longer than expected as it looks like the publication date was put back. I had high expectations, but they have been surpassed and this is basically the best book on innovation in the enterprise that you will get today. Tie it in with Wikinomics, and I reckon you’d have a pretty good idea of where we’re at and where we’re going – even if we don’t know how to get there quite yet. This book doesn’t answer the questions, but it lets you know the questions you should be asking. No other book out there that I’ve seen is quite as clear and direct as this.
This is the first book I have read that makes a conscious effort to inform readers how to go about tying business processes to an IT structure that will be at the core of the business, determining how flexible the company can really be. The recommendations are not for specific products but rather what the requirements should be when putting together the IT structure (no other book so far has even mentioned this, let alone try to deal with it.) But the IT structure is just the beginning – there are social issues to deal with (how to overcome staff reticence, how to get them to see the benefits of this new approach and the new ways of working), how to balance having a system that gives the required flexibility to deal with future trends but also is efficient today (how to build innovation into the system) and how to organise people in project-specific teams to get the best results.
The authors acknowledge that no firm has yet achieved this – most haven’t started and some are not even close – giving some of the reasons as to why this would be the case. However, before you can start on the IT and other aspects, there is one essential point that must be in place. A business has to know what it wants to do in the future – if the vision isn’t clear then the IT may not deliver the benefits down the line.
The message is there is a lot to understand and do, and there will be many challenges along the way, but this is something you should start thinking about now. In five years’ time the business landscape will have changed and you don’t want to risk being left behind. You are not left with a sense that this is unachievable, but a sense of optimism and a desire to get stuck in.
Buy it now, ingest and get going.
• The New Age of Innovation blog
C K Prahalad on the ideas behind the book:
Globalization’s Effects on the Global Poor: