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41. Winning through Innovation: A
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42. Harvard Business Review on Leadership
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43. Got Game: How the Gamer Generation
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44. Open Innovation: The New Imperative
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45. John P. Kotter on What Leaders
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46. Defining Moments: When Managers
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47. Harvard Business Review on Knowledge
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48. The Loyalty Effect: The Hidden
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41. Winning through Innovation: A Practical Guide to Leading Organizational Change and Renewal
by Charles A. O'Reilly III, Michael L. Tushman
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.15
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Asin: 1578518210
Catlog: Book (2002-06)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 29968
Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Winning through Innovation is a complete manager's tool kit for organizational change.With lessons from their research and consulting practice as well as from dozens of companies, the authors explain why industry leaders so often lose their innovative edge-and how to keep it.The Management of Innovation and Change Series. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

2-0 out of 5 stars The message is reasonable but overhyped.
This book exemplifies the business of the Harvard Business School. It draws snippets from many case studies (available for purchase separately), it ties into seminars and tailored sessions sold at fancy prices to industry, and it presents one of several competing but overlapping theories of what divides successful and unsuccessful companies. It is often compared with Clayton Christensen's book "The Innovator's Dilemma" (obliquely referenced in the preface, but not appearing in the index or bibliography), and indeed both deal with the question of how established companies deal with technologies (in the loosest sense) that change markets. Of the two, I vastly prefer Christensen's book because he tells coherent stories that reach conclusions. This book introduces situations without enough detail to get a true feel for what is going on. In one extreme case ("... John Torrance at Medtek ...", p. 61), a reference is introduced that has no antecedent. The authors of books in this genre like to name drop to show you how broad and deep is their knowledge; therefore you should regard their version of gospel as more credible than their rivals. (How about a case sometime on business school professors?) There are "figures" and "tables" which I suspect are PowerPoint pastes from their lectures. Some of them are referenced (weakly) in the text -- most of them have no direct connection to the exposition. In short, the book gives the impression of being slapped together in haste. For the most part, it is well edited -- a few punctuation lapses notwithstanding. But it needed more editing for content. The table on page 13 says that the "Winchester" company fell victim to its success in disk drives, but the term "Winchester disk" refers not to a company but the code name of a very succesful product prior to its announcement. (Cf. http://www.....htm among other similar web references.) On page 163 they say that IBM lost key control to Intel and Microsoft by betting on the wrong PC design. The conclusion is true, but has nothing whatever to do with the false premise. Now these are all throwaway lines in the book, but they undermine the credibility of the main argument. As an earlier reviewer here put it, the book is about five chapters too long, again, I suspect, because it was produced in haste in order to sell to HBS program participants and in order to get on to the next piece of work. For those who haven't been exposed to the basic ideas (e.g., culture matters), it may well be invaluable, but it ain't the one, true gospel.

2-0 out of 5 stars 5 Chapters Too Many
Captivating stories. Could have reduced the length of the book by 5 or so chapters to avoid repeating the same concepts.

5-0 out of 5 stars The greatest business book I have ever read
I read many business books - from Drucker to Peters, etc., but this one is very insightful, practical, and easy to follow! One day I will own my own business and this book will be by my side!

4-0 out of 5 stars Discontinuinity To Remain Competitive
Many successful companies continue to live onto their past success stories and forget the drastic changes taking place in the market. This symptom ultimately makes their successes short-lived and their market positioning easily challenged,and overtaken, by other not-so-famous competitors. To evade such perils, this book explains lucidly the idea of discontinuous innovations through which "culture of innovation" can be obtained and finally reach to an ambidextrous organization. Without innovation no organization can ever think of surviving in this cut-throat competitive market. The concepts in the books are easy to understand via appropriate examples and related explanation.

5-0 out of 5 stars provocative, insightful, and essential reading
I hardly ever read business books, but this held my interest to the end. I now have a very successful business, and I largely credit the ideas in this book for helping me get through some hard challenges ... Read more


42. Harvard Business Review on Leadership (Harvard Business Review Series)
by Henry Mintzberg, John Kotter, Abraham Zaleznik, Joseph Badaracco, Charles Farkas, Ronald Heifetz, Donald Laurie
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
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Asin: 0875848834
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 18928
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Harvard Business Review paperback series is designed to bring today's managers and professionals the fundamental information they need to stay competitive in a fast-moving world. Here are the landmark ideas that have established the Harvard Business Review as required reading for ambitious businesspeople in organizations around the globe. Harvard Business Review on Leadership gathers together eight of the Harvard Business Review's most influential articles on leadership, challenging many long-held assumptions about the true sources of power and authority. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Very insightful.
Gives an insightful view of a manager's job. It enunciates traits and behaviors of leaders and managers very well, and explains how it is important for a manager to have both traits. The material triggers a manager to look within to understand one's leadership and managerial styles. If one wishes to change or develop leadership and managerial skills this material is a great beginning.
It also points out that organizations and academic institutions are good at developing organizational specialists but not at training managers. The author thinks that these institutions should provide management programs that also focus on developing leadership and managerial skills. But to do that it's important to understand what managers and leaders really do.
Overall a very good read for a traditional manager to be introspective and effective.

3-0 out of 5 stars We need now true leadership
I felt that the first three writers were the strongest. Mintzberg promotes an idea that leader is just a role in his advocated all mighty manager. Zaleznik brings this down with his idea that managers and leaders are different kind of people and talk about managerial mystique. But maybe best advice how to solve present leadership dilemma comes from Kotter, who says that companies should pick up talented individuals and then put them to grow into leaders through tough challenges.

5-0 out of 5 stars Harvard Business Review on Leadership
Excellent book with eight fantastically different views on Leadership. Describes fundamental differences between leadership and Management and brings forth thought process which can help professionals in all fields. Contents are 1) The managers Job (folclore and fact), 2) What leaders really do, 3)managers and leaders (are they different), 4) The discipline of building Character, 5) the ways CEO's lead (5 different ways gathered from study of 160 CEO's),6)The human side of management, 7) the work of leadership, 8) whatever happened to the take-charge manager, also contains brief background about the contributors. Each chapter is from a different contributor

5-0 out of 5 stars EIGHT ORIGINAL, SIGHTFUL PERSPECTIVES ON LEADERSHIP
Looking for some informative, original and clear thinking about leadership? This book is a great choice! The eight articles in this work cover: the role of leadership, differences between managing and leading, and ways chief executives lead. Each article begins with an executive summary which, for the fast-forward crowd, is a big plus.

So many books are merely ONE GOOD ARTICLE embedded in a thicket of verbiage. Chopping away through such a jungle of verbosity for the gist-of-it-all often proves tedious and disappointing. (Blessed are the laconic!) This book, on the other hand, just serves up a bunch of 'gists' -the pure meat and potatoes of ideas. Happily, the HBSP has published several other collections of this sort on such topics as knowledge management, change, and strategies for growth. Each of these is collection of first-rate 'gists'. Reviewed by Gerry Stern, founder, Stern & Associates, author of Stern's Sourcefinder The Master Directory to HR and Business Management Information & Resources, Stern's CyberSpace SourceFinder, and the Compensation and Benefits SourceFinder. ... Read more


43. Got Game: How the Gamer Generation Is Reshaping Business Forever
by John C. Beck, Mitchell Wade
list price: $27.50
our price: $18.15
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Asin: 1578519497
Catlog: Book (2004-10-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 4019
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Book Description

Managers Must "Get" Gamers…or Lose

Think video games are kids' stuff? Think again. Provocative new data shows that video games have created a new generation of employees and executives-bigger than the baby boom-that will dramatically transform the workplace. And according to strategists John C. Beck and Mitchell Wade, managers who understand and harness this generation's distinct attributes can leap far ahead of their competition.

Got Game shows how growing up immersed in video games has profoundly shaped the attitudes and abilities of this new generation. Though little-noticed, these ninety million rising professionals, through sheer numbers, will inevitably dominate business-and are already changing the rules.

While many of these changes are positive-such as more open communication and creative problem-solving-they have caused a generation gap that frustrates gamers and the boomers who manage them. Got Game identifies the distinct values and traits that define the gamer generation-from an increased appetite for risk to unexpected leadership skills-and reveals management techniques today's leaders can use to bridge the generation gap and unleash gamers' hidden potential.

... Read more


44. Open Innovation: The New Imperative for Creating and Profiting from Technology
by Henry William Chesbrough
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
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Asin: 1578518377
Catlog: Book (2003-03-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 21033
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In today's information-rich environment, companies can no longer afford to rely entirely on their own ideas to advance their business, nor can they restrict their innovations to a single path to market. As a result, says Harvard Business School professor Henry W. Chesbrough, the traditional model for innovation--which has been largely internally focused, closed off from outside ideas and technologies--is becoming obsolete. Emerging in its place is a new paradigm, "open innovation," which strategically leverages internal and external sources of ideas and takes them to market through multiple paths.

This path-breaking analysis is based on extensive field research, academic study, and the author's own longtime experience working in Silicon Valley. Through rich descriptions of the innovation processes of Xerox, IBM, Lucent, Intel, Merck, and Millennium, and the many spin-offs that have emerged from these firms, Open Innovation shows how companies can use their business model to identify a more enlightened role for R&D in a world of abundant information, better manage and access intellectual property, advance their current business, and grow their future business.

Arguing that companies in all industries must transform the way they commercialize knowledge, Chesbrough convincingly shows how open innovation can unlock the latent economic value in a company's ideas and technologies. ... Read more

Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and well documented
Chesbrough's premise is that innovation is a technology company's wealth. That hasn't changed. What has changed since the 70s is how that wealth is use. Back then it was hoarded, now it is bought, sold, leased, borrowed, traded, and invested.

This book covers a wide range of business models, both good and bad, with case studies for each. Most samples are mentioned only briefly, like RCA's response to the transistor. (They invested more in vacuum tubes!) Three major case studies show three major strategies for the trade in ideas: Xerox, Intel, and IBM. The Xerox model never successfully opened itself to the marketplace of ideas, and Xerox suffered for it. Intel, by contrast, went for years with no formal R&D group of its own. accepting and improving others' technology. IBM showed how a company could transform itself from an innovation hermit to a gregarious buyer and seller of technology.

The book is very readable. It gives enough information to make each point clear, in terms of real companies in the recent past. The author avoids both MBA jargoneering and academic dryness, making this very accessible to any interested reader.

This is a quick and rewarding read. It lacks academic rigor, but it's at a good level for anyone wanting a practical perspective on innovation strategies, yesterday, today, and in the transition between.

2-0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but incomplete and idealistic
There's a wonderful introduction to a variety of research and development styles, along with analyses of how they affect the company and its place in the industry. It also has a great discussion of why publicly traded companies that have made certain innovation-style choices are compelled to act they way they do, simply in order to maintain shareholder value.

Unfortunately, the suggestions are marginalized by what seems to be a complete omittance of today's patent laws and their effects on workers (i.e. most legal departments do NOT allow their technology workers to search or look at patents). There's also a whole proposal around rewarding for finding patents and finder's fees that just seems a bit preposterous, at least in the software field. I've never heard of a software patent that detailed something that was non-obvious; merely of ones that patented things that hadn't yet been patented. In any case, I'm no expert in that area, but without an analysis of IP laws and the usefulness of the licensing of patents, I'm hard-pressed to call this anything but a sort of reality-disconnected idealism.

3-0 out of 5 stars Not a great book
Its not a very great book, apart from a few case studies there is no concrete model around which the book has been written such as Michael Cusumano's Platform leadership( a somewhat related are)

5-0 out of 5 stars Open Innovation
Simply very good book exploring the new paradigm in the changing technological world.

5-0 out of 5 stars The importance of embracing open business relationships
In the field of technology change appears to occur at an ever increasing rate. Through innovation in research and development new breakthroughs occur, new products are brought to market, sales brings in money to fund research and the cycle goes on and on. At least this is the way that it is generally thought to occur. In reality hostile takeovers, IPO bids and the like keep interrupting the cycle. Companies refuse to look outside of themselves for innovative ideas or the application of their technology to new ventures. So the system is actually a closed cycle within the company instead of an open one the embraces the value of processes, people, and others outside of the company.

Business innovations create potential but do not have value in and of themselves. It is the business model that turns innovation into profits. We have all seen inferior products bypass superior ones because of a better business model. Unfortunately for the consumer, it is not at all uncommon.

So, the business model itself defines the profit received from an innovation. Why? Because the business model is the single most important factor in determining a suitable market for the innovation, costs, profit margins, and competitive position. The business model determines whether the company will take advantage of all opportunities including those outside itself or just utilize those opportunities that they can produce internally. The authors detail several case studies that point out the difference between closed and open innovation and the results of each very clearly.

The finishing touch to the book is that it clearly details the path to open innovation and how to move a company from a closed mindset to an open one. This is a highly recommended read for anyone wanting to take advantage of technology to increase their profits. ... Read more


45. John P. Kotter on What Leaders Really Do (Harvard Business Review Book)
by John P. Kotter
list price: $22.95
our price: $15.61
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Asin: 0875848974
Catlog: Book (1999-04-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 41201
Average Customer Review: 3.67 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

"After conducting fourteen formal studies and more than a thousand interviews, directly observing dozens of executives in action, and compiling innumerable surveys, I am completely convinced that most organizations today lack the leadership they need," contends John P. Kotter, the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership at Harvard Business School. "And the shortfall is often large. I'm not talking about a deficit of 10%, but of 200%, 400%, or more in positions up and down the hierarchy," he writes in the opening essay to John P. Kotter on What Leaders Really Do, a collection of his most notable articles on the topic for the Harvard Business Review. Kotter isn't known to pull punches, and these pieces--falling into two categories, those concerned with "Leadership and Change" and those focusing on "Dependency and Networks"--are no exception. The articles in the book sensibly point out the difference between management and leadership; they advocate setting a direction rather than planning and budgeting, and motivating people rather than controlling them. They are tied together effectively by the aforementioned new essay, in which Kotter presents his "Ten Observations About Management Behavior" to summarize the concepts he has developed over a 30-year career. --Howard Rothman ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Kotter Knows
John knows his stuff. I've worked for P&G, M&M/Mars and The NutraSweet Company and I know the halls, people and thinking Kotter discusses. He is spot on in his examination of what good leaders really do, something that can often seem like a mystery. I found it interesting that people were evenly split on this book between raves and pans. So much of what you get out of a book like this is related to personal experience. I don't know if I changed my paradigm after reading What Leaders Really Do, but I increased my empathy and understanding. Always a good thing, no?

1-0 out of 5 stars The Same Old Stuff!
Please retire, or get some new ideas!

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST Read for Anyone in Management
I bought this book on second thought because I was also buying "Leading Change" by Kotter. However, I picked up this book and could not put it down. As a long-time leader, this book validates much of what I already know and do. However, it also brings a lot of insight into the differences between leadership and management. The author really analyzes the complexity and interdependency and interrelationships that are faced by, and must be overcome or managed by leaders and managers. I liked what and how Kotter says it in this book that I bought one for each of my managers (I'm a CEO). I am hoping that this easy-to-read, and understandable book brings a lot of insight to them. I highly recommend this book to all current leaders and managers, and anyone hoping to go into leadership or management or both.

5-0 out of 5 stars Insightful and Relevant
This is a well-researched and cutting-edge book that shows what leaders are made of, what habits they have in common, and from where they come. Mr. Kotter blends well the facts we need to know with human-interest stories of several successful managers. Great book.

Also recommeded: The Leader's Guide: 15 Essential Skills

2-0 out of 5 stars Almost completely non-informative
This book contains John Kotter's usual dose of platitudes and blindingly obvious insights. Anyone that gets anything useful out of this book is far too dumb to lead anything at all, except perhaps a hollow and meaningless life.

How he has gotten the world to swallow this nonsense book after book, each one a rehash of his previous mishmash of meaningless business speak ("energizing your employees") and vague, unfollowable axioms about, for example, "having vision," is beyond me. But perhaps I just haven't achieved my full alignment potential. ... Read more


46. Defining Moments: When Managers Must Choose Between Right and Right
by Joseph L., Jr Badaracco
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0875848036
Catlog: Book (1997-09-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 69567
Average Customer Review: 4.89 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

How should you respond if you are offered an opportunity at worksolely because of your race or gender?

What should you do if asingle parent on your staff is falling behind in his or herwork?

How do you lead the launch of a product you know will beextremely controversial?

This is a book about work choices and lifechoices, and the critical points--or defining moments--at which the twobecome one. It examines the right-versus-right conflicts that everybusiness manager faces and presents an unorthodox yet practical way formanagers to think about and resolve them.

When making hardprofessional decisions, managers often use personal values as atouchstone.According to Badaracco, however, resolving such dilemmasis not as simple as the inspirational do the right thing school ofethics would have you believe. Defining Moments reveals an alternativeapproach that helps managers tackle the more complex and troublingquestion of what to do when doing the right thing requires doingsomething else wrong, or leaving another right thingundone.

Drawing on philosophy, literature, and three stories thatreveal the increasing complexity today's managers face as their careersadvance, Defining Moments provides tangible examples, actionable steps,and a flexible framework that managers at all levels can use to makethe choices that will shape not only their careers, but theircharacters.

Compelling, readable, and absent of ethical jargon,Defining Moments gets to the core of what makes being a manager sodifficult, as it explores what it means--and whether it's evenpossible--to be a successful manager and a thoughtful, responsiblehuman being. ... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Required Reading
Great choice for any manager or business administration student.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tackling the Dilemmas of Ethical Choices
A few weeks ago a customer of mine asked my assistance to help his organisation to write an ethical code. I knew he had been "working" on this topic for the last 2 years and that he had been applying some of the principles I teach in my emotional intelligence classes. Apparently, this hadn't been enough to solve his problem, but it was enough to come back to me to seek my advice. This was one of the books I bought to document myself on the issue.

This book was a good resource by providing me different points of views concerning the question, and by pointing out that it's not a simple matter of making a choice (for instance, one lead by intuition and emotions, as is recommended sometimes). The cases presented point to several kinds of dilemmas: the personal ones (choosing between what's right for you and for the organisation), the managerial ones (choosing between the organisation and the people that ore working for it) and the social ones (choosing between the organisation and the larger social system it's a part of). The book also points out different sources we have for basing our decisions on.

The problem remains that values and principles often point into different directions. Ethical choice techniques such as the "sleep-test", the "golden rule" and other sources of inspiration do not solve this.

Learning from that, it becomes clear why one should not expect to find the answers to your ethical problems in this book. Finding "the" answer is "impossible". In a "defining moment", you will have to examine which values you are committed to, these values will be put to test (will you go for their implications) and they will shape your future. I believe (with the author) that there are no easy answers to the *real* issues we are faced with. That's why this book shows in what way you have to search for your answer. Reading this book will at least allow you to ask the right questions and to look at various aspects in order to make a personal choice.

If I would have read this book earlier, my own book would certainly have included a reference to it.

What will I tell my customer? Well, writing the "code" won't be enough, in stead we should focus on teaching people how to make an ethical choice.

Patrick E.C. Merlevede, M.Sc is the main author of "7 Steps to Emotional Intelligence"

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book on Ethics (for everyone)
While this book may seem catered towards business management issues (and the examples given in the text are), the ideas, values and approaches presented within the text are universal. I, myself, am not a "business person" or "manager" and found this book extremely enlightening and helpful, and can apply the values and examples to my own life and work.

The basic premise of the book revolves around (what Badaracco calls) the "defining moments" of an individual's life; these are instances in which a person is faced with a decision that has no clear "right vs. wrong" answer (which he calls a "right vs. right" question), yet the decision the individual makes will define who the person is in times that follow. He uses three different examples of real-life quandaries that managers have faced in the past (as well as their conclusions). Badaracco does not tell his audience how they should act in a given situation, but instead, gives the audience the introspective tools needed to make better decisions that support who they are as an individual.

Again, terrific book and well worth anyone's time who is interested in the ethical decision making process.

5-0 out of 5 stars 10 STARS IF I COULD!
I don't know how this book reach to my hands...thank God. Defining moments is one of the most inspiring and intelligent books I have ever read (...read it and you will see). Badaracco presents a very pragmatic and eclectical easy-to-do framework to decide between several choises that sometimes present to be strong dilemas. Badaracco advises us to learn who we are and who we want to become...he smartly affirms that what we decide in this moments will define our values and ourselves (that is why he call them "Defining Moments"). No more we will have to stay awake at night trying to solve these dilemmas and feel insecure about our decisions. You will also learn a great deal about extreme approaches to decision making....from the moralism of Aristoteles to pragmatism of Maquiavelo and Nietzsche in an easy reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book on the subject.
As an attorney who teaches business ethics inside corporations, I've read many books on this subject. This is the best. It focuses on the way real world ethical dilemmas arise -- not in decisions between right and wrong, but between two options, both of which are "right." This is a short, practical, readable book that really makes you think. ... Read more


47. Harvard Business Review on Knowledge Management (Harvard Business Review Series)
by Peter F. Drucker, David Garvin, Leonard Dorothy, Straus Susan, John Seely Brown
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0875848818
Catlog: Book (1998-09-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 37955
Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Harvard Business Review paperback series is designed to bring today's managers and professionals the fundamental information they need to stay competitive in a fast-moving world. Here are the landmark ideas that have established the Harvard Business Review as required reading for ambitious businesspeople in organizations around the globe. The eight articles in Harvard Business Review on Knowledge Management highlight the leading-edge thinking and practical applications that are defining the field of knowledge management. Includes Peter Drucker's prophetic "The Coming of the New Organization" and Ikujiro Nonaka's "Knowledge-Creating Company." ... Read more

Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars Knowledge Management, a layperson's perspective
Knowledge Management, published by Harvard Business School Press, is a compilation of articles excerpted from the Harvard Business Review covering a period from 1988-1997. The articles in general focus on the way organizations can acquire, use, and maintain knowledge in order to remain on the cutting edge of their fields. The underlying message of this book, expressed by Peter F. Drucker in "The Coming of the New Organization (page 1)," is that future organizations must take advantage of technology to collect and track data so that data can be translated into useful information.

The manner in which companies acquire knowledge from data can vary. Ikujiro Nonaka in his article "The Knowledge Creating Company (page 21)" provides a general approach. Nonaka suggests that creating new knowledge requires, in addition to the processing of objective information, tapping into the intuitions insights and hunches of individual employees and then making it available for use in the whole organization. Within this framework is an understanding of two types of knowledge: tacit and explicit. Both of these have to exist in an organization and exchange between and within each type is needed for creation of new knowledge. Another point in Nonaka's article is that the creation of new knowledge is not limited to one department or group but can occur at any level. It requires a system that encourages frequent dialogue and communication. Similar but more defined ideas are presented in David Garvin's "Building a Learning Organization (page 47)."

Garvin's approach focuses on the importance of having an organization that learns. Garvin defines a learning organization as one that is "skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights (page 51)." He describes five activities/skills that are the foundation for learning organizations. These are systematic problem solving, experimentation, and review of past experiences, learning from others, and transferring knowledge.

"Teaching Smart People How to Learn (page 81)" by Chris Argyris, deals with the way individuals within an organization can block the acquisition of new knowledge because of the way they reason about their behavior. In order to foster learning behavior in all employees, an organization must encourage productive reasoning. One caution is that use of productive reasoning can be threatening and actually hampers the process of learning if not implemented throughout the whole organization.

Leonard and Straus in "Putting Your Company's Whole Brain to Work (page 109)," address another way in which knowledge can be acquired. They identify two broad categories: left brained and right brained individuals, with different approaches to the same concept based on cognitive differences. Within these categories, there is great potential for conflict, which can stifle the creative process. However these different perspectives are important for full development of a new concept. Innovative companies should keep a balance of these different personality types to avoid stagnation and to encourage development of new ideas. The management of the cognitive types in a way that is productive for the company occurs through the process of creative abrasion.

One can surmise from the articles in general that data and information are valuable if they can be used to maintain the knowledge base or provide the basis for acquiring new knowledge. The organization that creates new knowledge encourages the following in its employees: creativity, a commitment to the goals of the organization, self-discipline, self-motivation, and individual exploration and identification of behaviors that may be barriers to learning. Cognitive preferences should be recognized and used to the companies' advantage. Finally, companies can learn from the best practices of others and from their customers. After knowledge is acquired, it can be disseminated for use throughout the organization and maintained in different ways.

One key method to maintain knowledge repeated in several articles is the importance of an environment that fosters innovation. Quinn et al, in "Managing Professional Intellect: Making the Most of the Best (page 181)," describe this as creating a culture of self-motivated creativity within an organization. There are several ways to do this: recruitment of the best for that field, forcing intensive early development (exposing new employees early to complex problems they have to solve), increasing professional challenges and rigorous evaluations.

Another way to maintain and use knowledge is through pioneering research, described by Brown in "Research that reinvents the Corporation (page 153)." In this process companies can combine basic research practices, with its new and fresh solutions, and applied research to the company's most pressing problems. Dissemination of new knowledge can occur by letting the employees experience the new innovation and so own it. As mentioned in the article by Nonaka, creation of a model that represents the new information is a way for transfer to the rest of the organization. Also the knowledge from the professional intellect within an organization can be transferred into the organization's systems, databases and operating technologies and so made available to others within the organization. An example of this is Merryl Lynch, which uses a database of regularly updated information to link its 18,000 agents.

Yet another tool for disseminating information within an organization is the learning history, described by Kleiner and Roth in "How to Make Experience Your Company's Best Teacher (page 137)." This makes use of the ages old community practice of storytelling to pass on lessons and traditions. The learning history collects data from a previous experience with insight from different levels of employees involved and puts it together in the form of a story that can be used in discussion groups within the organization. In companies where this has been used, it builds trust, provides an opportunity for collective reflection, and can be an effective way to transfer knowledge from one part of the company to another. In addition, incentives in the form of a report in response to the new innovation and achievement awards encourages employees to learn and helps with the dissemination of information.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ideal Intro To A Very Intangible Topic
While other facets of managment consulting will ultimately yield to lower-cost technology tools, or consultants, KM shall reign as the ultimate value-added analysis. That was my hypothesis before buying this book, and it has only been proven true. The essays in the book range from esoteric to the executable, and include valuable case studies to punctuate the themes. Knowledge Management means so many things, that it can come to mean nothing. This book does an excellent job of providing some metes and bounds to the topic and to stimulate thinking around important organizational and operational issues.But don't get it and expect to be an "instant expert." This is an overview, albeit an excellent one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Knowledge Management with practical applications
Excelente libro que proporciona las bases suficientes sobre la administración del conocimiento, además de tener como respaldo el prestigio de una casa de estudios como es la Universidad de Harvard.

Lo recomiendo ampliamente.

3-0 out of 5 stars Need to know vs, Nice to know
Having recently moved into the KM area I thought this book would be a 'must read'....but as anither reviewer pointed out if you have been keeping in touch with KM from the beginning (or whatever , from '96) would not find anything earth-shattering (that's the tacit selling job of the HBR logo, right?) in the compilation.

We all have heard about Drucker's "knowledge workers" and Nonaka's "Creation of Knowledge" and Argyris and his "teaching smart people" and Dorothy Leonard's "whole organisation brain" theory ad nauseum ad infinitum!

Guess HBR should have added more value (or retros or something ) instead of just taking photcopies of their old articles and printing them together!

5-0 out of 5 stars A good introduction
The Harvard Business Review Series is a collection of reprints of some classic articles from the journal. There are some classic, thought provoking pieces in this book.

In light of the current Japanese recession, it is interesting to reread Nonaka's review of Japanese group methods for promoting creativity in the corporation. He argues that it is a western idea that knowledge is 'hard', or can be digested into records in a computer. He describes cycles of tacit to explicit knowledge that a learning group experiences. I enjoyed his characterization of the senior manager as a romantic pursuing ideals. In the next wave of eBusiness will the companies that thrive be able to leverage the tacit knowledge in the current operational model of the internet?

This is a good starting reference on this topic. ... Read more


48. The Loyalty Effect: The Hidden Force Behind Growth, Profits, and Lasting Value
by Frederick F. Reichheld, Thomas Teal
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578516870
Catlog: Book (2001-09-15)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 51813
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The business world seems to have given up on loyalty: many major corporations now lose-and have to replace-half their customers in five years, half their employees in four, and half their investors in less than one. Fred Reichheld's national bestseller The Loyalty Effect shows why companies that ignore these skyrocketing defections face a dismal future of low growth, weak profits, and shortened life expectancy. Reichheld demonstrates the power of loyalty-based management as a highly profitable alternative to the economics of perpetual churn. He makes a powerful economic case for loyalty-and takes you through the numbers to prove it. His startling conclusion: Even a small improvement in customer retention can double profits in your company. The Loyalty Effect will change the way you think about loyalty, profits, and the nature of business. ... Read more

Reviews (20)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great, non-preachy business book
While many authors of business books seem to be really just selling their consulting services, Mr. Reicheld paints a picture of what businesses need to do to retain customers while adding VALUE to those customer relationships. Reicheld talks about his experience as a consultant, but I never felt he was trying to sell me on his services. The Loyalty Effect is a must read for anyone who is mystified at why their profits aren't as high as their competitors while everyone seems to have about equal margin.

5-0 out of 5 stars The most valuable business book I've ever read
Reichheld lays out both why loyalty matters, and why difficulty in measuring the impact of loyalty has made managers undervalue it in the past. He shows how loyal relationships with employees, suppliers, customers and investors all contribute to a company's long term success.

His insights are profound for anyone building a company. We have used his insights to build our business, and have benefited enormously from the viewpoints expressed in this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb
Simply the best business book I've read in years. An invaluable framework for long-term success.

5-0 out of 5 stars Substantiating soft efforts for loyalty with hard figures
“Loyalty is dead” begins this classic about loyalty. But after you’ve read this book, you'll know that pursuing loyalty pays off. The authors show you many ways to measure the profit of loyalty. Not only is employee loyalty important but also the loyalty of customers and investors. The first step is to build up a set of values for your company. This core task can't be delegated; it must be done by CEOs themselves. Loyalty can't be managed; it must be earned. The book contains many examples of how large companies have done this. What I like most about this book are the hints for substantiating “soft” efforts for loyalty with “hard” figures. Most of the time the authors argue for a focus on the long term. Loyalty-based management is hard work. This is the right book to get you started.

Peter Pick
(...)

5-0 out of 5 stars How to Achieve and Then Sustain Loyalty
I read this book when it was first published and recently re-read it. Those who have checked out my reviews of other books which address many of the same issues already know that I have a bias with regard to "customer satisfaction" and "customer loyalty", agreeing with Jeffrey Gitomer and others that the former is wholly dependent on each transaction and the latter can end (sometimes permanently) because of a single unsatisfactory transaction. The objective for those who have customers (be they internal or external) is to achieve and then sustain their passion about doing business with you. You want them to become evangelists.

Of course, Reichheld fully understands all this. In a brilliant essay which recently appeared in the Harvard Business Review, he shares new research which (again) shows that companies with faithful employees, customers, and investors (i.e. capital sources which include banks) share one key attribute: leaders who stick with six "bedrock principles": preach what you practice (David Maister has much of value to say about this in his most recently published book, Practice What You Preach), play to win-win, be picky, keep it simple, reward the right results, and finally, listen hard...talk straight. In this book, Reichheld organizes his material within 11 chapters which range from "Loyalty and Value" to "Getting Started: The Path Toward Zero Defections." With meticulous care, he explains how to devise and them implement programs which will help any organization to earn the loyalty of everyone involved in the enterprise. He draws upon a wealth of real-world experience which he and his associates in Bain & Company, a worldwide strategy consulting firm. Reichheld heads up its Loyalty Practice. In his most recently published book, Practice What You Preach, David Maister explains why there must be no discrepancy whatsoever between the "talk" we talk and the "walk" we walk. Reichheld agrees, noting that the "key" to the success of his own organization "has been its loyalty to two principles: first, that our primary mission is to create value for our clients, and second, that our most precious asset is the employees dedicated to making productive contributions to client value creation. Whenever we've been perfectly centered on these two principles, our business has prospered." It is no coincidence that the world's most highly admired companies are also the most profitable within their respective industries. I wholly agree with Reichheld that loyalty is critically important as a measure of value creation and as a source of profit but that it is by no means "a cure-all or a magic bullet." Loyalty is based on trust and respect. It must be earned, usually over an extended period of time and yet can be lost or compromised at any time with a single betrayal.

Here are three brief excerpts:

"One common barrier to better loyalty and higher productivity is the fact that a lot of business executives, and virtually all accounting departments, treat income and outlays as if they occurred in separate worlds. The truth is, revenues and costs are inextricably linked, and decisions that focus on one or the other -- as opposed to both -- often misfire."

"Companies cannot succeed or grow unless they can serve their customers with a better value proposition that the competition. Measuring customer and employee loyalty can accurately gauge the weaknesses in a company's value proposition and help to prescribe a cure."

"While every loyalty leader's strategy is unique, all of them build on the following eight elements: Building a superior customer value proposition, finding the right customers, earning customer loyalty, finding the right employees, earning employee loyalty, gaining cost advantage through superior productivity, finding the right [capital sources], and earning [their] loyalty."

Who will derive the greatest value from this book? Decision-makers in any organization (regardless of size or nature) which has been weakened by defections among customers and/or employees. If the primary objectives are value creation and partnership, decision-makers in these organizations must never betray or neglect any of the fundamentals of loyalty-based management: "partnership builds incentive; incentive builds value; value builds loyalty; loyalty builds even greater value." It's as simple and (yes) as difficult as that. ... Read more


49. Competing for the Future
by Gary Hamel, C.K. Prahalad
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0875847161
Catlog: Book (1996-04-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 51899
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Download Description

This is an enhanced edition of HBR article 94403, originally published in July 1994. HBR OnPoint articles include the full-text HBR article plus a summary of key ideas and company examples to help you quickly absorb and apply the concepts. Is your company a rule maker or a rule follower? Does your company focus on catching up or on getting out in front? Do you spend the bulk of your time as a maintenance engineer preserving the status quo or as an architect designing the future? Difficult questions like these go unanswered not because senior managers are lazy--most are working harder than ever--but because they won't admit that they are less than fully in control of their companies' future. In this adaptation from their upcoming book, Hamel and Prahalad urge senior managers to look toward the future and ponder their ability to shape their companies in the years and decades to come. Creating the future, as Electronic Data Systems has done, for example, requires industry foresight. Since change is inevitable, managers must decide whether it will happen in a crisis atmosphere or in a calm and considered manner. Too often, profound thinking about the future occurs only when present success has been eroded. ... Read more

Reviews (27)

2-0 out of 5 stars Largely an academic waste of time
If your really want to understand how to compete for the future, read Crossing the Chasm, following by Inside the Tornado (Geoffrey Moore). Competing for the Future will largely waste your time. It is a 100 page book crammed into 300+ pages. The authors spend lots of time repeating fuzzy feel good ideas, and criticizing current managers, but say little that would actually help you compete for the future. They continually cite Apple as the poster child for Competing for the Future (ignoring the fact that the Mac was created in a skunkworks -- a concept they poo-poo.) Yet you can see from Apple's plight today that Hamel and Prahalad have certainly not found the most important thing for long term success. Companies that spend too much time looking 20 years out will never see it, as Apple will not. The truth is that top management can certainly ask themselves "What will competition mean in 20 years?", but they will most certainly be wrong. We live in chaotic times, and the best companies know how to turn on a dime and exploit current emerging markets (Microsoft is great at this). Hamel and Prahalad's books is destined to sit on many shelves, looking very impressive but doing nothing for its readers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Competing for the Future
The Business Strategy text written by Hamel and Prahalad delivers mind opening advice and insight that I consider to be helpful for all managers and professionals services consultants.

The text describes and recommends a shift in business strategy. More importantly, the negative impact of not shifting is illustrated by an abundant sample of real life situations (i.e. Xerox, General Motors).

In the past, and even still to this very day, senior managers in the U.S. are betting the ranch on reengineering and restructuring efforts as a means of staying competitive in the future.

Hamel and Prahald disagree with the continued touting of such efforts. While not completely against reengineering efforts, the duo write a convicing argument detailing that managers must shift from the old tools and invest more time and resources into innovation. The value of a company will not reside in how lean and efficient the operations are, it will reside in the company's capability and resources to create new businesses and get to the future first.

Resouces, capabilities, and processes under the new paradigm must and will operate in a state of constant change. Grasping on to the old business model will represent the company's death blow.

Companies under the new paradigm must develop an open environment by which the company can easily exploit new busineses quickly; hence, taking full advantage of the benefits of being first to market (dictating the market in contrast to following the market represents substantial profits).

Ronnie O'Dell

Division Marketing Executive Canon Astro Business Services, CANON USA Calabasas, CA

5-0 out of 5 stars An important book to read
Few companies that began the 1980s as industry leaders ended the decade with their leadership in tact and undiminished. Many household name companies saw their success eroded or destroyed by tides of technological, demographic and regulatory change and order-of-magnitude productivity gains made by nontraditional competitors. "Do you really have a global strategy", the first HBR article by Hamel and Prahalad, developed the theme that small companies could prevail against larger, richer companies by inventing new ways of doing more with less. Differences in resource effectiveness could not be explained by efficiency, labor or capital, but by amazingly ambitious goals that stretched beyond typical strategic plans, raising the question how such incredible goals could get past the credibility test and be made tangible and real to employees? Frequently the small challengers rewrote the rules of engagement; flexibility and speed were built atop supplier-management advantage, built atop quality advantages. Companies made commitments to particular skill areas a decade in advance of specific end-product markets. How did executives select which capabilities to build for the future? Some managers were foresightful, others imagined and gave birth to entirely new products and services. These managers created new competitive space while laggard companies protected the past rather than creating the future. Existing theory throws little light on what it takes to fundamentally reshape an industry and the gap provoked this book in which the goal is to enlarge the concept of the industry and not just the organization. Being incrementally better is not enough because a company that cannot imagine the future won't be around to enjoy it. This book is about strategy and how to think by drawing on the experience of companies that have overcome resource disadvantages to build positions of global leadership. It is about companies that escaped the curse of success to rebuild industry leadership a second or third time. It has been written for companies that believe that the best way to win is to rewrite the rules; it is for those who are not afraid to challenge orthodoxy, for those who prefer to build rather than cut, for those committed to making a difference and staking out the future first.

We need to ask ourselves eight questions:
- does senior management have a clear and broadly shared understanding of how the industry may be different in ten years time? Is management's view of the future clearly reflected in short-term priorities?
- How influential is my company in setting the new rules of competition within the industry? Is it regularly defining new ways of doing business and setting new standards of customer satisfaction?
- Is senior management fully alert to the dangers posed by new, unconventional rivals? Are potential threats to the current business model widely understood? Do senior executives possess a keen sense of urgency about the need to reinvent the current business model?
- Is my company pursuing growth and new business development with as much passion as it is pursuing operational efficiency and downsizing? Do we have a clear view of where the next revenue growth will come from?
- What percentage of our improvement efforts focuses on creating advantages new to the industry, and what percentage focuses on merely catching up to our competitors? Are competitors as eager to benchmark us, as we are to benchmark them?
- What is driving our improvement and transformation agenda - our own view of future opportunities or the actions of our competitors? Is our transformation agenda mostly offensive or defensive?
- Am I more of a maintenance engineer keeping today's business humming along or an architect imagining tomorrow's businesses? Do I devote more energy to prolonging the past than I do to creating the future?
- What is the balance between hope and anxiety in my company; between confidence in our ability to find and exploit opportunities for growth and new business development and concern about our ability to maintain competitiveness in our traditional businesses; between a sense of opportunity and a sense of vulnerability, both corporate and personal?

These are not rhetorical questions. We are told to get a pencil and rate our company because these questions go unanswered in many cases. Such questions challenge the assumption that top management is in control or even that their knowledge and experience may be irrelevant or wrong-headed for the future. The urgent drives out the important and the future goes largely unexplored; the capacity to act is considered to be more important than the capacity to imagine. A capacity to invent new industries and to reinvent old ones is a prerequisite for getting to the future first and a precondition for staying out in front. Gaining an understanding of how to accomplish this most difficult task is the central mission of this book.

What must we do to ensure that the industry evolves in a way that is maximally advantageous for us? What skills and capabilities must we begin building now if we are to occupy the industry high ground in the future? How should we organize for opportunities that may not fit neatly within the boundaries of current business units and divisions? The answers are to be found in this book. Armed with this information, a company can create a pro-active agenda for organizational transformation and can control its own destiny by controlling the destiny of its own industry. No company can escape the need to reskill its people, reshape its product portfolio, redesign its processes, and redirect its resources. There is not one future but hundreds; there can be as many prizes as runners; imagination is the only limiting factor. In no way does the success of one preordain the failure of another. What distinguishes leaders from laggards, and greatness form mediocrity is the ability to imagine what could be. If your senior management did not do well on the eight questions, then your company may not be around a decade from now. There are few who would not profit from reading this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars 1990s thought leadership
Hamel and Prahalad brought two ideas to the forefront of management in the 1990s: Creating a strategic intent that dominates corporate thinking, and then understanding the core competencies that the organization requires to get there. Rather than create numerous 5 year plans, communicate the direction and insure you have the skills to get there.

The impact of this was felt across corporate Americas. As companies struggled in reacting to changing times, they would talk more of core competencies instead of certainy of the future. Well run companies could also articulate their vision and what they're good at. (Example GE: "We are #1 or #2 in every business we run. We get there by rigorous management and continuous improvement.") These ideas are here to stay.

Is it all so simple? In Consulting Demons, Lewis Pinault takes issue with Prahalad and his consulting practice at Gemini. He asserts that the ideas can be misapplied to fuel a consulting boom, and that Prahalad's missionary zeal was better for generating consulting fees than for corporate bottom lines.

Bottom line - the book is a good introduction to some important strategic concepts. Although it is no longer required reading at top consulting firms, it is still relevant and important. Just take the ideas (like all pop management ideas) with a grain of salt.

4-0 out of 5 stars A retrospective on a 1994 breakthrough management guide
Corporate strategy texts are notorious for their short shelf lives, but it is instructive to revisit them during business downturns and understand what they contributed and also where they fell short.

Now that the future has happened - nine years after this book was published - what would the authors say about the dot.com bust and the collapse of erstswhile visionary corporate giants such as Enron and Global Crossing?

In 1994, the authors wrote that the goal of competition QUOTE is not to simply benchmark a competitor's products and processes and imitate its methods, but to develop an independent point of view about tommorow's opportunities and how to exploit them. UNQUOTE By this criterion, how exactly did the dot.com dwarfs or giants of the late 1990s, many of which were hailed as exactly the kind of visionary enterprises the authors encourage, fail to leave a lasting legacy?

Certainly, other breakthrough management guides have not been exempt from the harsh judgment which the benefit of hindsight might impose only a few years after these books come out. Such a fate befell one of the renowned predecessors to this book, In Search of Excellence, half of whose most admired corporations ran into serious difficulties within a few years of publicaiton of the book.

None of this undercuts some important contributions this book does continue to make about how organizations should anticipate, manage and thrive amidst rapid change. The single most important idea in this book is that of leveraging core competencies, so that a business continually focuses on what it can do best and most profitably, rather than on what it is currently doing. If nothing else, the authors have left a legacy of language which remains helpful as a common currency among business leaders who need to understand the importance of industry foresight and to shed obsolete competencies.

And the authors did rightly suggest that appropriate public policies are also needed, althought this prophetic message was unfortunately given only a fleeting mention prior to the dot.com bust QUOTE We are not arguing for a set of policy measures that in any way discriminates in favor of large companies. The goal is not to keep dinosaurs alive at any costs. However, society pays a heavy price when, through , managerial malfeasance,a company richly endowed with resources and talent self-destructs. The goal is not to embalm dinosaurs throguh subsidies, protectionism and preferential procurement policies - as European governments have too often done - but to ensure that large companies don't become dinosaurs in the first place UNQOUTE ... Read more


50. Working Knowledge
by Thomas H. Davenport, Laurence Prusak
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.57
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578513014
Catlog: Book (2000-05)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 41114
Average Customer Review: 4.78 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The definitive overview of knowledge management, now available in paperback

This influential book establishes the enduring vocabulary and concepts in the burgeoning field of knowledge management.It serves as the hands-on resource of choice for companies that recognize knowledge as the only sustainable source of competitive advantage going forward.

Drawing from their work with more than 30 knowledge-rich firms, Davenport and Prusak—experienced consultants with a track record of success—examine how all types of companies can effectively understand, analyze, measure, and manage their intellectual assets, turning corporate wisdom into market value.They categorize knowledge work into four sequential activities—accessing, generating, embedding, and transferring—and look at the key skills, techniques, and processes of each.While they present a practical approach to cataloging and storing knowledge so that employees can easily leverage it throughout the firm, the authors caution readers on the limits of communications and information technology in managing intellectual capital. ... Read more

Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars KEY LESSONS OF MAKING KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT WORK
If you are like most people, you are a victim of "stalled" thinking about how to make knowledge transfer work better in your organization. As the authors point out, many people believe things that will not work in practice, such as "build it and they will come" from a technology resource sharing perspective that all one needs to do is have the resource available. Unlike the theory about knowledge management, Davenport and Prusak have investigated many organizations to learn what does and does not work. Unlike some books that are no more than a few case histories strung together, the authors concisely use examples to examplify the key points of what they have learned. In their parlance, this book is full of "knowledge" rather than just "information" or "data." They are also astute observers, and notice things that many might miss. A key example of their astuteness is the observation that those who are expected to share must be given some meaningful incentive to do so. In these days of downsizing, rightsizing, etc., those with knowledge often see that knowledge as a security blanket for an economic livelihood. You have to provide some incentive to share that matches or exceeds the incentive to hoard knowledge. You need to read and understand the lessons of this book if you want to get further along in using the knowledge that is available (both in and outside of your company) to achieve greater results. A terrific book on the related subject of how to create new knowledge and use that knowledge to then create much greater results is "The 2,000 Percent Solution."

4-0 out of 5 stars A solid overview
While this book summarized the concept of working knowledge with thoughtfulness and communicated these concepts clearly, it is not a comprehensive step-by-step instruction guide for knowledge management. Also, the book examples from organizations seemed more like a portfolio of successes or resume of experiences by the authors rather than serving as a means to more clearly covey working knowledge in action. While the examples did allow the reader to delve into more areas of working knowledge and better understand it in action, the parallel of how one would implement such strategy in one's own workplace was not nearly explored. All that being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and feels it serves a good, basic introduction into working knowledge. It covers what knowledge is, who has it, who uses and needs it, what skills are necessary to form and manage it, cultural and other issues related to knowledge management, ways to incorporate it (with or without technology) into the workplace, and what measurements can be used. The measurements area was a little weak. But, again, the absence of true measurement analysis and instruction remind the reader that this is a book intended for a solid look and understanding of knowledge management--not a comprehensive guide for implements and assessing it within an organization. This book provides the information that might persuade someone to value and seek knowledge management. Additional reads and study would be required in order to master it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great KM Systems Template
The authors wrote this book 178 page book in 2000--it is still very relevant in 2004. Not only is this book clearly written providing a wealth of content on KM systems, it is also provides a very practical and realistic template for initiating a KM system.

The final chapter was a wonderful summary of the practicals to implementation:
-start small
-business problems relates to knowledge (loss of customers and key personnel, low win rates on service engagements, poorly designed products, etc.).
-a knowledge system is more than technology. You may start with an intranet and Lotus notes. More than a third in $, time and effort on the tech part, you're neglecting the other key factors.
-Getting content will take a while. It's easy enough to put the technology in place but getting the organization contribute and use content is a behavioral challenge. So, assess the culture of your organization before launching a knowledge initiative.

"What makes knowledge valuable to organizations is ultimately the ability to make better the decisions and actions on the basis of the knowledge".

Thanks Tom and Laurence for a great book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Learn From the Experts!
Great for any reader interested in KM.

5-0 out of 5 stars A KM classic!
This classic is an excellent blueprint of knowledge management (KM) in action, and is a must read for KM professionals, CIOs, and CEOs. One of the unique aspects of the book is its treatment of knowledge roles, skills and personnel (such as CKOs), in addition to detailed analysis of knowledge generation, codification, transfer and technologies. The material is divided into 9 chapters, and draws on case studies of KM in action in about 40 organisations.

Today, the 'knowledge movement' is picking up as more and more companies have instituted knowledge repositories, supporting such diverse types of knowledge as best practices, lessons learned, product development knowledge, customer knowledge, human resource management knowledge, and methods-based knowledge.

'The only sustainable advantage a firm has comes from what it collectively knows, how efficiently it uses what it knows, and how readily it acquires and uses new knowledge,' the authors begin.

First, companies must understand the difference between data, information and knowledge. Generally speaking, data is transformed into information after it has been 'contextualised, categorised, calculated, corrected and condensed.' This becomes knowledge after a process involving 'comparison, consequences, connections and conversation.'

'Knowledge is a fluid mix of framed experience, values, contextual information, and expert insight that provides a framework for evaluating and incorporating new experiences and information,' the authors state. Knowledge is fluid as well as structured, and involves experience, truth, judgement and rules of thumb.

'Knowledge is aware of what it doesn't know. Many wise men and women have pointed out that the more knowledgeable one becomes, the more humble one feels about what one knows,' the authors explain.

In contrast to individual knowledge, organisational knowledge is a more complex and murky dynamic, involving socio-political factors of knowledge buying, selling, brokering, pricing, reciprocity, altruism, reputation and trust.

The chapter on knowledge generation focuses on conscious and intentional techniques like acquisition (eg. of Lotus by IBM, NCR by AT&T), rental (sponsorship of research in academic institutes, hiring a consultant), dedicated resources (research centres and universities like Xerox PARC, McDonald's universities), fusion (via brainstorming and retreats), adaptation (eg. via learning sabbaticals), and knowledge networking.

Successful codification is implemented via a knowledge taxonomy suited for different knowledge types and attributes and which is aligned with business goals, as well as narratives and rhetorical devices for communicating knowledge behaviours. This can include external knowledge (eg. competitive intelligence), structured internal knowledge (eg. research reports), and informal internal knowledge (eg. know-how databases).

Instead of 'Stop talking and get to work,' Alan Webber recommends a better attitude: 'Start talking and get to work.'

Other approaches, depending on organisational and national cultures, include corporate universities, KM workshops, group dinners, and even group drinking sessions in nightclubs as in Japan (where inebriation can sometimes be used as an excuse for voicing criticism!).

Key roles here include knowledge project managers, coaches, trainers, councillors, counsellors, officers, integrators, administrators, engineers, librarians, synthesisers, reporters, and editors -- capped by learning officers, CKOs, directors of intellectual assets, or CIOs. Consulting firms have hundreds of KM jobs; Buckman Labs even has a role for 'anecdote management' to develop stories about successful KM in practice.

Good knowledge workers need to have a combination of 'hard' skills (structured knowledge, technical abilities, professional experience) and 'soft' skills (cultural, political and personal aspects of knowledge), the authors advise.

Three key CKO responsibilities include building a knowledge culture, creating a KM infrastructure, and making it all pay of economically, the authors recommend.

'The recent dramatic rise in Internet and Intranet use is one manifestation of the expanding role of electronic technology in communication and knowledge-seeking. Firms are becoming aware both of the potential of this technology to enhance knowledge work and of the fact that the potential can be realised only if they understand more about how knowledge is actually developed and shared,' the authors explain.

The authors caution against a technology-centred KM approach, but argue that a technology ingredient is a necessary ingredient for successful KM projects.

'Peter Senge, the influential author of The Fifth Discipline, has argued recently that organisations seeking to manage knowledge have placed too much emphasis on information technology and information management. We agree. However, the world of organisational learning places too little emphasis on structured knowledge and the use of technology to capture and leverage it,' the authors forcefully argue. In fact, the word 'knowledge' is not in the index of Senge's book!

Hoffman-LaRoche used KM to efficiently manage the drug application process, cutting it down by several months at a savings of $1 million a day. New England heart surgeons have jointly collaborated to cut down mortality rate for coronary bypass surgery. HP's case-based reasoning KM tool for customer support helped reduce call times by two-thirds and cost per call by 50 per cent.

Other benefit calculations include better management of patents (eg. Dow Chemicals), improved cycle time, better customer satisfaction, and even phone calls avoided (HP).
Intangible but also important outcomes include higher workforce morale, greater corporate coherence, richer knowledge stock, more knowledge usage, and stronger meritocracy of ideas.

In terms of pragmatic steps, the authors have lots of recommendations. Start with a focused pilot project. Work along multiple fronts at once: technology, organisation, culture. Begin with existing information resources. Focus on weak areas. Lead with technology and organisational learning.

The book is also peppered with useful quotes about knowledge, and it would be appropriate to end this review with some of them:

'In the end, the location of the new economy is not in the technology. It is in the human mind' (Alan Webber);

'The real danger is not that computers will begin to think like men, but that men will begin to think like computers' (Sydney Harris);

'The great end of knowledge is not knowledge but action' (Thomas Huxley).

Knowledge is the only unlimited resource, the one asset that grows with use, according to Stanford economist Paul Romer.

>>>>>>>>>

... ... Read more


51. Mastering the Dynamics of Innovation
by James M. Utterback
list price: $16.95
our price: $11.53
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0875847404
Catlog: Book (1996-09-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 32671
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Scholarly analysis in an eminently readable enjoyable book
James Utterback has achieved the difficult goal of taking careful scholarship, drawing useful conclusions and presenting the whole package in a highly enjoyable book. He makes a major contribution by distinguishing between product innovation and process innovation and shows how and why the former is likely to come from outside the established industry players, while the latter is more likely to come from inside.

In the process he reaches back into history and covers industries ranging from pond ice to memory chips. Combining his explanation with concepts with Geoffrey Moore's "Crossing the Chasm" provides a powerful means of understanding where innovation comes from and what the barriers are to its success. Utterback's book goes beyond that. It also calls into serious question the idea (posited by Moore and others) that today's "high tech" cycle of innovation is fundamentally different from earlier innovative cycles in other industries. All in all, Utterback uses industrial history in a low-key, fact-based book that shines a clear, bright light on what drove yesterday's technology developments -- and today's.

5-0 out of 5 stars an understanding of innovation
This book is written in a concise manner that is straightforward and easy to understand. Utterback explains how innovation has evolved over the years, using great examples from a variety of assembled and non-assembled industries. One side note, I found that this book was worth the cover price for the history of industries he mentions alone. Some of the products and industries mentioned in this book include: Incandescent light bulbs, Typewriters, Glass, photography, and Ice. This book is loaded with invaluable nuggets of insight, it is impossible to due it justice in a book review. I highly recommend reading it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great stories and data on innovation
Prof. Utterback spent over twenty years studying 20+ industries as they experienced dramatical technological change, trying to understand who were the market leaders before the change, who were the market leaders afterwards, and why?

He studies markets as varied as cooling (the harvested ice industry in the late 1800s), lighting (gas lighting giving way to incandescent lighting giving way to flourescent lighting), typewriters (manual typewrites giving way to electrics giving way to dedicated word processors giving way to PCs), and plate glass.

He observes that the market leaders prior to a technology change rarely are market leaders after the change, primarily because the entrepenuers and innovators are squeezed out of older companies by "incrementalists". This gave me a lot of encouragement and insight into pushing hard on Internet Explorer back in 1994..1996 at Microsoft, and also I think explains why Microsoft is struggling now.

5-0 out of 5 stars Refreshing and Innovative Perspectives
Utterback explains "how companies can seize opportunities in the face of technological change." There are dozens (hundreds?) of other books on the same subject, notably those written by Geoffrey A. Moore. I rate this book so highly because it is exceptionally well-organized and well-written, because it examines several offbeat subjects (eg the development of the typewriter and the evolution of the typewriter industry, the development of the incandescent electric light), and because Utterback focuses so intensely -- and so effectively -- on real-world situations in which the "dynamics of innovation" are manifest. This book is very informative but also great fun to read. (Those who enjoy it as much as I did are urged to read both The History of Invention and The Lever of Riches.) Chapter 4 revisits the the dynamics of the innovation model (Figure 1-1) and then in Chapter 5, Utterback shifts his attention to developments within the plate glass manufacturing industry. In Chapter 6, he examines the innovation differences between assembled and nonassembled products. Subsequent chapters sustain the discussion of "the power of innovation in the creation of an industry" and then, in Chapter 9, Utterback "draws together some of the lessons of earlier chapters and academic research to consider the relationship between the behaviors and strategies of firms with respect to technological innovation and long-term survival." He concludes his book (in Chapter 10) by addressing "the perennial management issue of how corporations can renew their technology, products, and processes as a basis for continued competitive vitality." It is obvious to all of us that even the strongest product and business strategy will eventually be overturned by technological change. Ours is an age in which change is the only constant. Therefore, as Utterbach explains so carefully and so eloquently, the challenge is to accept the inevitability of change which results from technological innovation ("discontinuities") and to sustain a commitment to cope effectively with such change. Only such a commitment "will win the day."

5-0 out of 5 stars 'Dynamics of Innovation' continues to
The existing reviews really get to the heart of the matter. I can only add that this book continues to provide a powerful framework for analyzing technical innovation - the process and maturation of that innovation within a market. As I survey the rapid growth of trading hubs/net market makers in the industrial procurement space, I am struck by the similarity to the examples in the book. The hyper growth in this space sets the stage for the inevitable shakeout and establishment of the dominant model - yet to be determined. It is exciting to watch the market mature, with the knowledge that the changes are part of a cycle which can be comprehended and has repeated itself in multiple industries. Utterback provides a powerful framework with which technological innovation can be understood. Thank you. ... Read more


52. The Future of Work: How the New Order of Business Will Shape Your Organization, Your Management Style and Your Life
by Thomas W. Malone
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
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Asin: 1591391253
Catlog: Book (2004-04-02)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 6754
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A Pathbreaking Model for Building a New-and Far Better-World of Work

For more than a decade, business thinkers have theorized about how technology will change the shape of organizations. In this landmark book, renowned organizational theorist Thomas Malone, codirector of MIT's "Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century" initiative, provides the first credible model for actually designing the company of the future.

Based on twenty years of groundbreaking research, The Future of Work foresees a workplace revolution that will dramatically change organizational structures and the roles employees play in them. Malone argues that current notions about decentralization merely scratch the surface of what will be possible as technological and economic forces make "command and control" management increasingly less useful.

In its place will be a more flexible "coordinate and cultivate" approach that will spawn new types of decentralized organizations-from internal markets to democracies to loose hierarchies. These future structures will reap the scale and knowledge efficiencies of large organizations while enabling the freedom, flexibility, and human values that drive smaller firms.

Exploring the skills managers will need in a workplace in which the power to decide belongs to everyone, this optimistic book shows how we can help create a world that is not just richer, but better. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Future of Work, by Thomas W. Malone
"The Future of Work" began changing my thinking and attitudes about work from its very first pages. It clarified and extended my understanding of myself as a worker, as well as of friends and colleagues, many of whom are either, like me, self-employed, or have entrepreneurial-type positions within organizations. I've already begun using Malone's ideas in consulting with individual clients and organizations, and found them relevant, productive and fun.

Malone's central tenet is that the nature of organizations has been substantially influenced throughout history by the cost of communication. Thus, face-to-face communication characterized hunting and gathering bands, but the advent of writing--with its reduced cost of communication compared to face-to-face talking-- made larger, more powerful and more centralized societies possible. Kingdoms and empires were richer and more powerful than hunting and gathering bands, but at the cost of some of the freedom of most of their members. The advent of the printing press, by further reducing the costs of communication, made possible the reversal of the ancient trend toward greater centralization, facilitating the democratic revolution.

Business organizations show a similar developmental path. Up until the 1800s, most businesses were small and local. By the 1900s, the telephone, telegraph, typewriter, and carbon paper allowed centralization on a large scale, and business "kingdoms" emerged. Today, e-mail, instant messaging, and the internet make it economically feasible for huge numbers of workers to access the information they need to make, for themselves, more of the choices that matter to them.

This change, Malone asserts, is driving a revolution in our attitudes about organizational leadership. "We need to shift our thinking from command-and-control to coordinate-and- cultivate...Good cultivation involves finding the right balance between centralized and decentralized management, between controlling and letting go...Coordinating and cultivating... include the whole range of possibillities for management...To be an effective manager in the world we're entering, you can't be stuck in a centralized mind-set."

Reading "The Future of Work" made me think about the political implications of Malone's vision of the future. Malone grew up on a farm, and his vision of self-employed, or loosely employed, freelancers (or "e-lancers") evokes the same values of independence, and a combination of self-sufficiency and interdependence when necessary, that characterize people who live by working the land. Thomas Jefferson saw the educated independent farmer as the backbone of the American experiment in democracy. But the Jeffersonian polity has been fundamentally altered by the evolution of large, hierarchically organized, centrally managed organizations, in which only those at or near the top have the same sense of personal stake in their work that characterizes the independent farmer. This has contributed to the development of an electorate which sems to me to be largely apathetic or dependent. Malone's vision of a nation of independent or semi-autonomous freelancers might presage a return to Jefferson's vision and values among a substantially larger proportion of the electorate than currently.

Another direction of thinking provoked by "The Future of Work" is to wonder how many people are really capable of the measure of independence which Malone envisions. As a well-established leading international management thinker, and professor at MIT, Malone has been rubbing shoulders with people at the top of the planetary organizational learning curve. His stories about how they've grown their companies, both in the U.S.A. and internationally, delight and inspire throughout this book. But as somone who's been closer to the bottom of things, I see a lot of stupidity, as well as success, when people actually get more control over their work-lives. I discussed this with a client who is the CEO of his own successful company, and who sits on the boards of several others. He agreed that Malone's vision was optimal and appealing, but felt that only about 1/4 of the people he knew could actually thrive with that level of independence. Most people, he felt, needed to have their hands held and be told more or less what to do.

In any case, Malone's is a refreshing, insightful and inspiring vision of humanity's nature, history, and future, and of the power of organizations and markets to maximize human efficiency and ingenuity, for whatever proportion of humanity who are, or may become, ready, willing and able to take their economic fates into their own hands and make their future work.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Communications Cost/Benefit Analysis of Organizations
The title of this book is misleading. A more apt title would have been: The Future of Organizational Structure. If you really want to read about the future of work, I suggest you look for a different book.

As an expert on communications costs and benefits, Professor Malone explores how the pros and cons of centralized hierarchies, loose hierarchies, democracies and free markets compare in producing better organizational results. The book abounds with examples, most of which were not new to me.

The book's overall theme is that with the costs of communications plummeting and the value of the information communication increasing it is inevitable that organizations will decentralize more than ever . . . by employing hybrid forms of loose hierarchies, democracies and free markets for the same organization.

The book ends up with a call to live your dreams that draws on decidedly nonmanagement sources of inspiration. The key idea is that organizations can live values that uplift everyone in them.

If you would like a solid introduction into the forces that are influencing shifts towards decentralization, The Future of Work is a good theoretical overview. Professor Malone also points you to online resources for finding out about best practices in some of these areas.

As a book for a practitioner, The Future of Work leaves a lot to be desired. Most will find it too abstract and theoretical to help them decide what changes to make in an organization. The book would have been vastly more valuable if it had focused on a few key areas of management performance (such as developing new business models, creating breakthrough new products, or bypassing competitor's established cost advantages) and described how best to apply the concepts in those contexts. I hope that Professor Malone will choose to do this in future books and articles.

The writing leaves something to be desired. Although the book is brief, it has a startling number of repetitions of examples and references. I sometimes felt like I was being talked down to (as though I could not make the links for myself or remember the example that had been mentioned two chapters before).

Much of the book also suffers from an over focus on the "economic human" rather than the "total human." For instance, there is little reference to psychology until quite late in the book. Any success with organizational structure has to take into account both the rational and emotional sides of those involved in the organization.

But I am unaware of any better book on the theory behind this subject, so for the time being we should view this book as the gold standard . . . and thus worthy of five stars.

I suspect that many people will find that rereading books about chaos theory as applied to organizations will have new meaning when viewed through Professor Malone's perspective. I encourage you to do some of that rereading after you tackle this book.

3-0 out of 5 stars Typical Academic Vapor
Interesting theoretical stab, but lacking in substantiation. Will be of interest to governance theorists, as a thought-provoker or dialog-starter.

We heard similar things twenty years ago. This lacks a true big-picture perspective and is too rooted in organizational design and leadership thinking to be of true utility in terms of enterprise-level or industry-level business architecture. While it presents some intersting concepts, few of these are new ideas The author either does not grasp, or assumes the reader cannot grasp, the true complexity of the situation in large, complex organizations -- issues of centralization and decentralization must be examined across a number of interrelated parameters (strategy, business/performance model, policy, information frameworks for interoperability, business process framework ownership/standardization, actual business processes and busieness rules, organizational model, actual organizational structure, information technology governance, corporate infrastructure -- and, of course, time. This is highly dynamic n-dimensional network of interacting forces, flush with uncertainties.

Academia routinely spouts prophesy based on a sophomoric grasp of business reality. This is interesting and worth reading, but of limited practical value.

5-0 out of 5 stars A timely, provocative essay on the changing workforce
The Future of Work provides a lucid, common sense analysis of the changing nature of work. This book will benefit not only MBA types but any senior level manager looking at how decentralization, smart client technology and global connectivity are shaping our present and future of work.

5-0 out of 5 stars A book for its time
Given all the controversy regarding outsourcing, offshoring and its impact on the economy and the upcoming presidential election, this book couldn't be more timely. Malone says we're in the early stages of another revolution -- a revolution in business that may ultimately be as profound as the democratic revolution in government. Given his years heading up the Center for Coordination Science at MIT, it's no wonder that he concludes that new information technologies make this revolution possible. No doubt. One need look no further than the impact Napster and Kazaa have had on the recording industry, or the potential for Skype to disrupt the telecommunications sector. Malone suggests that as businesses and technologies decentralize, we will have to manage in new ways. He summarizes this perspective by saying that managers must begin shifting their thinking from command and control to coordinate and cultivate. Given the very changing nature of work itself, this is sound advice, and Malone offers guidance, if not a prescription, for how to navigate the shifting currents of management and work. This book provides important insights for managers and non-managers alike. It's also refreshing to read a business book that doesn't offer a lame 10-step guide to survival. The presidential candidates and their staffs would be well advised to read this book. Maybe then, we'll get past the superficial bromides that permeate the current debate about offshoring, and begin to substantively address the very changing nature of work itself. ... Read more


53. Cultivating Communities of Practice
by Etienne Wenger, Richard McDermott, William M. Snyder
list price: $29.95
our price: $18.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578513308
Catlog: Book (2002-03-15)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 17089
Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

From the time our ancestors lived in caves to that day in the late '80s when Chrysler sanctioned unofficial "tech clubs" to promote the flow of information between teams working on different vehicle platforms, bands of like-minded individuals had been gathering in a wide variety of settings to recount their experiences and share their expertise. Few paid much attention until a number of possible benefits to business were identified, but many are watching more closely now that definitive links have been established. In Cultivating Communities of Practice, consultants Etienne C. Wenger, Richard McDermott, and William Snyder take the concept to another level by describing how these groups might be purposely developed as a key driver of organizational performance in the knowledge age. Building on a 1998 book by Wenger that framed the theory for an academic audience, Cultivating Communities of Practice targets practitioners with pragmatic advice based on the accumulating track records of firms such as the World Bank, Shell Oil, and McKinsey & Company. Starting with a detailed explanation of what these groups really are and why they can prove so useful in managing knowledge within an organization, the authors discuss development from initial design through subsequent evolution. They also address the potential "dark side"--arrogance, cliquishness, rigidity, and fragmentation among participants, for example--as well as measurement issues and the challenges inherent in initiating these groups company-wide. --Howard Rothman ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars A community of practice == a virtual community ?
Wenger, McDermott and Snyder draw on the past to describe the usefulness of a community of practice. In the Stone Age knowledge was passed on to others while people gathered around a fire and discussed hunting strategies. A community of practice is a group of people who may be trying to solve a problem and who interact about a topic in order to deepen their knowledge. The aim is shared insight and information. The authors write that in the time of ancient Rome corporations of metalworkers, potters, masons and craftsmen formed communities with a combined business and social function. Moreover, in the Middle Ages artisans formed guilds as a way to share knowledge and experiences. Therefore, the authors argue that community as a basis for knowledge creation and management has a long historical tradition.

Wenger, McDermott and Snyder believe that knowledge management needs to become more systematic and deliberate. The authors believe in the collective nature of knowledge, which involves every person contributing their perspective of a problem. A Community of Practice (CoP) allows for the connection of isolated pockets of expertise across an organization. The CoP consists of a domain of knowledge, a community of people and the shared practice they are developing. The community environment allows for interactions, relationships, sharing of ideas and the opportunity to ask difficult questions. The purpose of the CoP is to create, expand and exchange knowledge. The authors believe that a large number of CoP members rarely participate. Instead they watch the interaction and learn from the discussions that occur, learning from them. The authors believe that the most valuable activities consist of informal discussions that occur between members to solve a particular problem. A case study given is that of Shell, which has created CoP's around particular technical topics.

Wenger, McDermott and Snyder go into detail over how a CoP functions. At the beginning it is important to find common ground between all the members of the community. Members need to find out if they share similar problems and passions with one another. The authors believe a variety of communities exist: help communities, best practice, innovation and knowledge stewarding communities. Usually a community coordinator is needed who identifies important issues and plans events. The author's method for assessing the performance of a community consists of asking the questions: What did the community do? What knowledge did they produce? And how were those applied to get results?

All the characteristics mentioned, although are only intended by the authors to represent a CoP, share similarities with a virtual community. In fact the authors believe that Internet technology such as asynchronous threaded discussions can be used for distributed communities of practice. In fact some CoP's have websites where members have their pictures and biographical information on the site. However, Wenger, McDermott and Snyder make no connection between a community of practice and a virtual community. In fact they don't mention the two being related in any way at all, despite the dynamics appearing to be very similar. At the end of the book this omission seems very obvious given the incredible growth of virtual community at eBay and Amazon.

5-0 out of 5 stars Communities within large organizations
This is a very useful detailed assessment of the role of communities of practice as developers and stewards of knowledge and their interaction with the application of knowledge inside commercial organizations. (The book is written around business organizations, but its content applies very well to public sector organizations as well and will be useful to public sector knowledge managers.)

The authors' focus of attention is - explicitly - on communities within (almost by definition quite large) organizations, and how they can be cultivated as a key element in the organization's success. Although the authors acknowledge that communities of practice can and do cross organizational boundaries, their attention to this aspect is cursory. As a result a number of very important issues (for example the degree of openness permitted/encouraged where communities cross organizational boundaries, the challenge to professional loyalties, access by specialists who are isolates within their own organization to communities of practice across the nation or the world, the management of communities of practice across strategic alliances) do not get attention.

That is about my only criticism and is almost more in the nature of a plea for someone to provide equivalent coverage of that critically important and growing field of interest.

The book defines communities of practice (COP) in relation to other groupings (for example it makes a useful distinction from communities of interest, while acknowledging that the distinctions are 'fuzzy' - see the useful table on P. 42). It also identifies the key roles, key elements and principles affecting the successful operation of COPs and factors requiring attention over their life cycle. The authors also identify diseases of COPs and their causes, address the difficult issue of measuring and managing value creation through them and provides guidance on the role of the management structure of an organization in fostering and supporting COPs within it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Practical Guide for Organizational Leaders
The metaphor in this book's title says it all. Wenger, McDermott, and Snyder have written a practical guide aimed at helping you grow and develop semi-informal communities capable of having a life of their own. The model they put forward is fairly simple and easy to understand.

Communities of practice, according to the authors, have three essential focal points. The first is the "domain" which is essentially the topic area or subject that people gather around to discuss, learn, and improve. Next is the "community" which includes the people who want to learn, share, and engage one another. In the words of the authors, these communicating people are the "social fabric of learning." Finally you have the "practice" which is a specific set of frameworks, tools, information, language, stories and documents that the community shares and produces with one another. All communities of practice must address the domain, community, and practices if they are going to be successful and meaningful.

With this framework in mind, the authors go on to discuss how communities of practices move through five idfferent stages--from potenital to transformation--as they mature. The majority of the book discusses the opportunities and obstacles that we face when working with a community of practice throughout the five stages. Many key ideas emerge in these chapters. Stewrdship seems to be more important than management. We cannot expect communities of practice to only solve the problems we face (which they can), but we must also expect them to create problems of their own. Building connections and aiming to add value to each community member should be an early priority. These statements are just a small sample of the ideas discussed.

Finally, the book ends by discussing how you might measure the value added and how community-based knowledge initiatives can help an organization improve its overall learning and performance.

No doubt the addresses a "soft" topic. My reaction is that effectively stewarding a community of practice requires a fairly unique person who is able to work for the good of the group and has particularly strong networking and opportunity identification skills. That said, the authors do a superb job of helping us see exactly what skills are needed for growing our own community.

This is a highly practical and easy to read book. I read this cover-to-cover in a single day. The theory of communities of practice is largely limited to only essentials and most of the time is spent helping the reader see how communities operate. If you are looking for advice about how to form a learning or discourse community around a particular issue or topic at work, or if you are interested in forming a collegial group that shares and learns about a topic, then this book is for you. This book is very much about life long learning in a professional context. It presents the community of practice as a nice alternative to the formal team or ad hoc committee. In short, this is a users' guide for meaningful and productive knowledge management groups and learning communities.

5-0 out of 5 stars An essential reading for the knowlege economy
This book, just published by "the three musketeers of Communities of Practice", is a practical guide to managing knowledge. What makes this book special is that it goes far beyond the simple explanation and advocacy for communities of practice, which we have all been reading about for the last five years. Through in-depth cases from firms such as DaimlerChrysler, McKinsey & Company, Shell, and the World Bank, the authors expand on many practical aspects one should have in mind when engaging in a community development: The "seven principles", the "five development steps" are presented in practical terms and with great details so that they can be used as a framework for all practitioners.

The approach to "cultivating" and nurturing communities, as opposed to "managing" them, is also explained so that managers will hopefully resist the urge to try and control them using mechanistic mental models. At last, the question of measuring value creation for organizations is addressed in convincing and, again, practical ways.

There is also some wisdom in this book. The "dark side" of communities of practice is also addressed. If unproperly managed, communities of practice can indeed create isolation, collusion, or tensions, which can be quite destructive for community members and sponsoring organizations.

This book is an essential reading for any leader in today's knowledge economy. It will undoubtedly remain as a reference for all of us practitioners who want to develop communities of practice for the benefit and long-term success of organizations and their employees.

4-0 out of 5 stars Relevant, Insightful and Practical
This is a very interesting book in explaining how to initiate communities of practice, their lifecycle and their role in the sharing and development of knowledge. Over the last ten or twenty years there has been much written about new organizational structures and the emerging importance of developing and retaining knowledge within corporations. Wenger, McDermott and Snyder approach this topic from a social perspective and apply some standard community building concepts to "communities of practice". This contrasts much of the popular thinking on these topics that tend to overemphasize the role of technology in helping to build communities or address knowledge management issues.

Cultivating Communities of Practice is and excellent handbook for anyone involved in the setup, participation or stewardship of "communities of practice" within a corporation. I would though suggest that the emphasis is on "corporation", which in some cases implies individuals having some predetermined alignment (presumably with the interests of the corporation). There is some very good discussion at the end of the book covering communities of practice outside of the corporation with and some review of supply chains and 3rd sector examples, although very limited coverage. It was noted that the focus has been on corporations as this is where there are solid examples of these practices. Hopefully a future book will address this area in more depth.

This book is identified as "A Guide to Managing Knowledge", and it does fit this description well. If you still believe that technology can be the primary component of a knowledge management strategy, then you need this book to better understand the nature of knowledge management in terms of communities of practice. ... Read more


54. How Breakthroughs Happen: The Surprising Truth About How Companies Innovate
by Andrew Hargadon
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
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Asin: 1578519047
Catlog: Book (2003-06-05)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 20567
Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Lessons from Famous "Invention Factories" Past and Present

Did you know that the incandescent lightbulb first emerged some thirty years before Thomas Edison famously "turned night into day"? Or that Henry Ford's revolutionary assembly line came from an unlikely blend of observations from Singer sewing machines, meatpacking, and Campbell's Soup?

In this fascinating study of innovation, engineer and social scientist Andrew Hargadon argues that our romantic notions about innovation as invention are actually undermining our ability to pursue breakthrough innovations.

Based on ten years of study into the origins of historic inventions and modern innovations from the lightbulb to the transistor to the Reebok Pump athletic shoe, How Breakthroughs Happen takes us beyond the simple recognition that revolutionary innovations do not result from flashes of brilliance by lone inventors or organizations. In fact, innovation is really about creatively recombining ideas, people, and objects from past technologies in ways that spark new technological revolutions.

This process of "technology brokering" is so powerful, explains Hargadon, because it exploits the networked nature-the social side-of the innovation process. Moving between historical accounts of labs and factory floors where past technological revolutions originated and field studies of similar processes in today's organizations, Hargadon shows how technology brokers create an enduring capacity for breakthrough innovations.

Technology brokers simultaneously bridge the gaps in existing networks that separate distant industries, firms, and divisions to see how established ideas can be applied in new ways and places, and build new networks to guide these creative recombinations to mass acceptance. How Breakthroughs Happen identifies three distinct strategies for technology brokering that managers can implement in their organizations.

Hargadon suggests that Edison and his counterparts were no smarter than the rest of us-they were simply better at moving through the networked world of their time. Intriguing, practical, and counterintuitive, How Breakthroughs Happen can help managers transform their own firms into modern-day invention factories.

... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Paradox of Innovation
For many who read this book, it may well be a "surprising truth" that innovation succeeds "not by breaking free from constraints of the past but instead by harnessing the past in powerful new ways." I am among those who agree with the prophet Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun; also with the Greek philosopher Heraclitus who asserted that everything changes...but nothing changes. I also agree with Hargadon's emphasis on the importance of an innovation strategy which seeks to take full advantage of what can be learned from the past inorder to create the future. His core concept is "technology brokering" which he introduces and then rigorously examines in Part I; next, in Part II, he describes the "networked perspective" of innovation, explaining how this strategy influences the innovative process within organizations, regardless of their size and nature; finally, in Part III, Hargadon provides specific and practical examples of how various organizations have designed and then implemented technology brokering strategies. Throughout the narrative, Hargadon explores in depth with rigor and eloquence his core premise: "that breakthrough innovation comes by recombining the people, ideas, and objects of past technologies."

In this context, I am reminded of what Carla O'Dell asserts in If We Only Knew What We Know when discussing what she calls "beds of knowledge" which are "hidden resources of intelligence that exist in almost every organization, relatively untapped and unmined." She suggests all manner of effective strategies to "tap into "this hidden asset, capturing it, organizing it, transferring it, and using it to create customer value, operational excellence, and product innovation -- all the while increasing profits and effectiveness." Almost all organizations claim that their "most valuable assets walk out the door at the end of each business day." That is correct. Almost all intellectual "capital" is stored between two ears and much (too much) of it is, for whatever reasons, inaccessible to others except in "small change....there is no conclusion to managing knowledge and transferring best practices. It is a race without a finishing line."

I think this is precisely what Hargadon has in mind when insisting that the future is already here, that the "raw materials for the next breakthrough technology may [also] be already here [but probably] without assembly instructions," that decision-makers must find their "discomfort zones" rather than remain hostage to what Jim O'Toole calls "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom," and that they should build a "bridge" to their own strengths but also to their weaknesses because, as they perform, so will their organization. I agree with Hargadon that innovation must unfold at the ground level, "in the minds and hearts of the engineers and entrepreneurs who are doing the work." Also, that -- meanwhile -- they and their associates must be guided and informed, not only by their own organization's "beds of knowledge" but also by external sources of information concerning prior successes and failures of the innovation process elsewhere. In the final analysis, there is good news and bad news. First the bad news: "New ideas are built from the pieces of old ones, and nobody works alone." Now the good news: "New ideas are built from the pieces of old ones, and nobody works alone."

5-0 out of 5 stars The Paradox of Innovation
For many who read this book, it may well be a "surprising truth" that innovation succeeds "not by breaking free from constraints of the past but instead by harnessing the past in powerful new ways." I am among those who agree with the prophet Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun; also with the Greek philosopher Heraclitus who asserted that everything changes...but nothing changes. I also agree with Hargadon's emphasis on the importance of an innovation strategy which seeks to take full advantage of what can be learned from the past inorder to create the future. His core concept is "technology brokering" which he introduces and then rigorously examines in Part I; next, in Part II, he describes the "networked perspective" of innovation, explaining how this strategy influences the innovative process within organizations, regardless of their size and nature; finally, in Part III, Hargadon provides specific and practical examples of how various organizations have designed and then implemented technology brokering strategies. Throughout the narrative, Hargadon explores in depth with rigor and eloquence his core premise: "that breakthrough innovation comes by recombining the people, ideas, and objects of past technologies."

In this context, I am reminded of what Carla O'Dell asserts in If We Only Knew What We Know when discussing what she calls "beds of knowledge" which are "hidden resources of intelligence that exist in almost every organization, relatively untapped and unmined." She suggests all manner of effective strategies to "tap into "this hidden asset, capturing it, organizing it, transferring it, and using it to create customer value, operational excellence, and product innovation -- all the while increasing profits and effectiveness." Almost all organizations claim that their "most valuable assets walk out the door at the end of each business day." That is correct. Almost all intellectual "capital" is stored between two ears and much (too much) of it is, for whatever reasons, inaccessible to others except in "small change....there is no conclusion to managing knowledge and transferring best practices. It is a race without a finishing line."

I think this is precisely what Hargadon has in mind when insisting that the future is already here, that the "raw materials for the next breakthrough technology may [also] be already here [but probably] without assembly instructions," that decision-makers must find their "discomfort zones" rather than remain hostage to what Jim O'Toole calls "the ideology of comfort and the tyranny of custom," and that they should build a "bridge" to their own strengths but also to their weaknesses because, as they perform, so will their organization. I agree with Hargadon that innovation must unfold at the ground level, "in the minds and hearts of the engineers and entrepreneurs who are doing the work." Also, that -- meanwhile -- they and their associates must be guided and informed, not only by their own organization's "beds of knowledge" but also by external sources of information concerning prior successes and failures of the innovation process elsewhere. In the final analysis, there is good news and bad news. First the bad news: "New ideas are built from the pieces of old ones, and nobody works alone." Now the good news: "New ideas are built from the pieces of old ones, and nobody works alone."

3-0 out of 5 stars Concept of Innovation
I agree with other reviewers, very repetitive, especially in the beginning few chapters. Originally, I thought this book was for other researchers. But it is more for non-researchers and people who have not read much about innovation. Any researcher or anybody who has read a few books about innovation definitely knows that no new creation comes overnight, it's always a product of combining the past with the present for the future. Edison's story has always been told in the 'lone inventor' mode in elementary schools, so every person has that myth in mind. Sure this book proves otherwise. But again, others who have been involved in innovation in some form, knows that innovation is always a compounded sum. When man first used a sharp stone as a tool, it didn't happen in one second from one person, it took many minds and many hundred years. It was definitely a breakthrough back then, gazillion times bigger than the invention of computers or light bulb. [alas, no patenting or internet back then!]
I'd also argue that the same applies to death of any creation/innovation. A successful product that rules the market cannot be killed overnight. [Example: I'd argue that Dinosours did not all get wiped out in a single day due to a meteor hitting Mexico 65 millions years ago. That is the perception we get. It would have taken hundreds, if not thousands of years for that to happen, even if the trigger was the meteor crash]. This is the whole truth about creation and destruction - it is seldom an effect of just one person or one factor that happens in a stroke of luck. Well.. I purposefully made this review repetitive :-).

Don't get me wrong here...this is a decent book.

3-0 out of 5 stars useful but boring
This is a useful book, but it is quite boring. It could have been written in half the pages. I agree with an earlier reviewer that it is wordy and repetitive. You have to be patient to find a new idea buried under a pile of superfluous and redundant paragraphs. But it is insightful nonetheless. If you work in R&D, then you must read this book to see which model is suitable for innovation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fresh thoughts on innovation in a story-telling bottle
Andrew Hargadon is the intriguing intersection of a mechanical engineer, an industrial psychologist and an innovation story-teller. His book "How Breakthroughs Happen" will lead you across the junk piles of the IDEO industrial design firm -- he really worked there! -- gunnery improvements in the US Navy in the early 20th Century, and the origins of cubism. As this eclectic assorment of examples accumulates, a breath-taking theory of innovation begins to emerge, which Hargadon calls Technology Brokering. By the time you reach the more personal epilogue at the end, you realize the man is right. Innovation is an eternal recombining of what already exists. He goes on to outline an eminently practical process which eclipses traditional odes to maverick invention and other empty invitations to revolution or disruption. ... Read more


55. Becoming a Manager: How New Managers Master the Challenges of Leadership
by Linda A. Hill
list price: $19.95
our price: $13.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1591391822
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 44636
Average Customer Review: 4.56 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Second Edition, Expanded to Include Fresh Insights and Practical Tools For New and Experienced Managers

No book has captured the trials and traumas of the transition from star performer to competent manager better than Linda Hill's classic Becoming a Manager. In tracing and analyzing the experiences of nineteen new managers, Hill reveals the profound complexity and difficulty of the process of developing into a manager. In their own distinct voices, these managers describe how they reframed their understanding of their roles and responsibilities and how they coped with the stresses and emotions of the transformation-in essence, how they were able to take on new identities. Now, in a substantially expanded second edition, the author offers concrete advice on the crucial issues of dealing effectively with organizational politics and developing and leading diverse teams in times of change, as well as on how managers can prepare themselves to lead over the course of their careers. In a new epilogue, she explores what organizations can do to help managers in their journey to lead and learn.

... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars An absolute must read!
Anyone interested in management or professional development should read this book. I can't tell you how many times I wondered why steller sales people made such terrible managers. Other valuable topics such as working with your peers, managing your Manager and Leadership are also addressed.

Even if you are already a Manager, this book is definately and eye opener.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very helpful indeed!
It's simply a must read for anyone considering to pursue a career in management. Learn from others experience!

1-0 out of 5 stars Please
This book is very poorly written. The author (for some reason) writes this thing like it is some great body of work in academic thought. I found this book to be exhausting, long, repetitive and very boring.

Gaps in her research include:

- Many new managers experience many aspects of management before they are actually promoted. I am surprised that the transition is such a shock to those that participated in the research.

- Her sample is too small to be representative.

- The sample space includes only sales related people. It does not include anyone in professional services. Sales personnel tend to be motivated by quotas and commissions (me, me, me). Consultants, accountants, lawyers, doctors, operations and other managers, who tend to be thought leaders, do not share many of the concerns and experiences of the "me" mentality (well, maybe some). My point being, if you are in a field other than sales, you are wasting your time with this book.

A "Cliff Notes" would be nice. One hour reviewing the highlights of this book is all anyone needs.

5-0 out of 5 stars A necessary tool for new managers or those considering it
I highly recommend this book as one that should be kept handy for all new managers transitioning from the role of "individual producer". I also recommend it for those top performers who feel it is likely they will be "approached" about a management position and/or are wondering if management is their "cup of tea". It's also of benefit for managers OF new managers (who sometimes forget what it's like), and HR professionals responsible for designing New Manager training programs.

It's very well written, even humorous at times, and details the actual statements and insights of these new managers. What an absolutely accurate sanity check!!! These folks really let their hair down and were completely honest about their experiences.

Not only did I dog-ear and underline my book all over the place, I wouldn't hesitate to buy this book for a friend or close colleague who is considering or transitioning to management. It's like being in a roomful of other new/fairly new managers and getting honest feedback on the ups-and-downs, the highlights, and the things you would love to have known before accepting the management position!!

Linda Hill's analysis in the final chapters is the icing on the cake. Based on this study, she offers extremely valuable insights into how corporations need to support and train new managers, and suggests things that potential and new managers need to be aware of and prepare for.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book. Wonderful preparation for critical challenges.
This book discusses the experiences of managers at different points in their first year as new first-line managers. I read the book half way through my first year as a manager and wished that I had read it sooner. My experiences were very similar even though I am in a completely different field. This was even more usedul than a three day new managers' workshop that I took. ... Read more


56. The Future of Competition: Co-Creating Unique Value with Customers
by C. K. Prahalad, Venkat Ramaswamy
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578519535
Catlog: Book (2004-02-18)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 4605
Average Customer Review: 3.78 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars must read for 21st century human
Alvin Toffler has indicated customization is future trend. He is(was) right.

The future of competition shows what, why, and how ( sometimes, who) about the future of product and service. What a corporation must do in order to integrate cusomter's experience into their production process and how to organize the company in order to do it. A must read book for 21st century human, why? because any interaction is an experience and if you extend the metaphor of product, any interaction is a 'product'. If you have been of good reputation, you will 'sell' well on whaterver you say or do. Because people 'buy' it.

2-0 out of 5 stars a real disappointment
I was left with the feeling that all of this has been said before in one form or another, Where it was ' new' there are other who have already explored the space ( eg The Suport Economy by Shoshana Zuboff) There are two many big words hidding little concepts. The case studies are simplistic and look to the past rather than casting light on the future. This will be another 'fad" and like all fads find its place in the dustbins of business books

5-0 out of 5 stars A transforming and revolutionary wealth of insights
Co-written by C. K. Prahalad (Harvey C. Fruehauf Professor of Business Administration, University of Michigan Business School) and Venkat Ramaswamy (Michael R. and Mary Kay Hallman Fellow of Electronic Business and Professor of Marketing, University of Michigan Business School), The Future Of Competition: Co-Creating Unique Value With Customers offers readers a stimulating look at a fascinating shift away from the firm-centric view of value creation, toward the possibilities opened by new technologies that allow consumers themselves to interact with and directly add value to their chosen product. Drawing upon real-life examples, and focusing on the key foundations of co-creation - dialogue, access, risk assessment, and transparency, The Future Of Competition offers a transforming and revolutionary wealth of insights into commercial and marketplace trends of the present and the near future.

2-0 out of 5 stars Content good, style weak
The content of this "text" is rich with pointers for those who will format strategic decisions in the future. However, it would seem to challenge the reader to probe the true value of the writers. As the reviewer from Dallas infers, the message is there but the packaging leaves something to be desired. As a university professor who teaches strategic thinking, I see this book as one of the reasons that executives and MBA students resist reading academic pieces: the task is greater than the payoff!!

3-0 out of 5 stars New framework, new jargon, but nothing else is new
The future is here. Competition is getting tougher and customers are more difficult to please. On the other hand everything is connected, objects are embedded with sensors and software and information flows instantly to all corners of the world , thanks to the communications revolution. This book essentially looks at a networked world where customers and companies are inseparable and are constantly in interaction. In this paradigm, the framework of DART - Dialogue, Access, Risk Assessment and Transparency is introduced and the book proceeds to explain each of these in detail.

The word Co-creation will get included in your daily vocabulary sooner than you expect. Lots of diagrams and case studies are thrown into every chapter. But frankly, there is no concept that is radically different from some of the pioneering works on similar topics already published. To list a few :

-Customer.Com by Particia Seybold
-How to Grow when Markets Don't by Adrian Slywotzky
-The Innovator's solution by Clayton Christensen
-Adapt or Die : Turning your Supply Chain into an Adaptive Business Network by Bob Betts , Claus Heinrich
-Experimentation Matters: Unlocking the Potential of New Technologies for Innovation by Stephen Thomke
-Priceless: Turning Ordinary Products into Extraordinary Experiences by Diana Lasalle, Terry A. Britton
-The Agenda: What Every Business must do to Dominate the Decade by Michael Hammer

Most of the case studies in this book are repetitions from these or are similar in concepts or processes in creating value for ( or along with) the customer. The authors have duly acknowledged and referred to an elaborate list of books and articles under "Aids to Exploration". But my point is that after going through some of the key works listed above, this book fails to impress on originality.

Towards the end of the book, Knowledge Management is brought in as one of the strategic tools that can be integrated into the co-creation framework.

It is certainly interesting to go through the book though it is a combination of old ideas in a new packaging. Young MBAs will find lots of new jargon that can be put to profitable use in job interviews. ... Read more


57. Geeks and Geezers
by Warren G. Bennis, Robert J. Thomas
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578515823
Catlog: Book (2002-08-08)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 51871
Average Customer Review: 3.89 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Today's young leaders grew up in the glow of television and computers; the leaders of their grandparents' generation in the shadow of the Depression and World War II. In a groundbreaking study of these two disparate groups-affectionately labeled "geeks" and "geezers"-legendary leadership expert Warren Bennis and leadership consultant Robert Thomas set out to find out how era and values shape those who lead. What they discovered was something far more profound: the powerful process through which leaders of any era emerge.

Geeks and Geezers is a book that will forever change how we view not just leadership-but the very way we learn and ultimately live our lives. It presents for the first time a compelling new model that predicts who is likely to become-and remain-a leader, and why.

At the heart of this model are what the authors call "crucibles"-utterly transforming periods of testing from which one can emerge either hopelessly broken, or powerfully emboldened to learn and to lead. Whether losing an election or burying a child, learning from a mentor or mastering a martial art, crucibles are turning points: defining events that force us to decide who we are and what we are capable of.

Through the candid and often deeply moving crucibles of pioneering journalist Mike Wallace to new economy entrepreneur Michael Klein, from New York Stock Exchange trailblazer Muriel Siebert to environmental crusader Tara Church, Geeks and Geezers illustrates the stunning metamorphoses of true leaders. It also reveals the critical traits they share, including adaptability, vision, integrity, unquenchable optimism, and "neoteny"-a youthful curiosity and zest for knowledge.

Highlighting the forces that enable any of us to learn and lead not for a time, but for a lifetime, this book is essential reading for geeks, geezers, and everyone in between.

... Read more

Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
As a management and leadership literature junkie I always anticipate anything new from Dr Bennis. I have to say this one was disappointing. The generational perspective was novel but un-enlightening. And the basic leadership principles discussed was stuff hashed over any number of times in other texts and previous work by others including Dr Bennis. Admittedly I found myself skipping through pages because I couldn't take another lame example of how "insightful" these twenty-something dot commers were. Comparing their "crucible" of growing up with divorced parents and a TV babysitter with the previous generations' crucibles of watching their buddies shot on the battlefields of WWII or sitting in prison for sixteen years is in my opinion no comparison at all. I'm surprised Dr Bennis as a bronze star recipient himself would allow such an arbitrary parallel to be made. There is a respectful appeal for a return to national leadership and service in the last few pages of the book but this seems too little too late. I'll hold out for the next Bennis book to be a return to the quality I've seen in the past.

4-0 out of 5 stars Out of the Crucible of Life comes Leadership
Geeks & Geezers by Warren G. Bennis and Robert J. Thomas is about how Era, Values, and Defining Moments Shape Leaders. And it does an excellent job of pointing out the differences between our generations. This Harvard Business School Press publication is definitely useful in understanding the way folks in my parents' generation (the Geezers) react to those in my children's generation (Geek) . Based on their definitions for Geeks and Geezers, I am in between the two, yet most of my acquaintances put me in the Geek category due to my love of and work in the world of technology.

The basic premise of this book is that all leaders must go through a "crucible" of some kind. The kind of leadership characteristics we have may be different because of our environments (Geezers defined by WWII, Parental fallibility, etc. and Geeks by abundance, opportunity, technology and globalization), but every leader is tested somehow. The different environments and experiences affects the needs, wants, character and maturation process for these people and therefore define the differences in leadership style.

After exploring historical experiences and interviewing both groups, the authors complete their leadership model with Era and Individual factors feeding into the crucible of Experiences. The crucible heats up experiences and organization of meaning that develops Leadership competencies. The crucible might be military service in the case of the Geezer of business failure in the case of the Geeks, but whatever that life changing crucible is, it is the one thing that is common to leadership. This book is worth your time and consideration if for no other reason than to understand the value of the crucible we may now be going through in our contracting economy - this so called job-loss recovery.

3-0 out of 5 stars Okay, I dont get it, isnt this stuff just common sense???
I have just finished watching Bennis talk about his book on C-Span's book reviews and have just read the individual book reviews here--and I don't get it. Isn't this stuff just common sense? Leaders have to be resilient? Leaders have to have charisma? Leaders have to be deep and have a vision that comes from introspection? Leaders have to have a moral compass? And the one I truly don't get is why the hoopla over the "crucible". My goodness, who has gone through life without a "crucible" experience? We are all men of clay--put into the kiln of life to see what comes out--if anything is patently obvious you would think that would be. What comes out of the other end of the crucible for Bennis is the myopic focus on "leaders". So what I get out of this is that Warren Bennis is a genius in finding the center of the watermellon--an easy life in southern California writing about stuff that is just plain obvious--and getting paid wildly for it. Bennis came out of the crucible not as a leader, but as crafty. How about you?

5-0 out of 5 stars Leadership Development Model - reflective & useful
.
What I find most thought provoking is the authors' notion of the crucible (difficult event/test such as failure, imprisonment, or any personal defining moment) as an important input towards shaping the competencies of the leader as he/she extracts wisdom after having endured it.

The bulk of this book explicates the Leadership Development Model and how it applies to leaders of all ages, both geeks and geezers. In this Model, individual factors (e.g. gender, IQ, race) and the era (with a given shared history/culture/arena) determine how the leader would interpret the crucible, which in turn impacts the development of four leadership competencies:
1. adaptive capacity - hardiness & learning how to learn is key
2. engaging others by creating shared meaning
3. voice (purpose indentified after periods of self-introspection; EQ)
4. strong moral compass or integrity.

I applaud the authors for the elegance of the Model, and its usefulness in serving as a framework for self-introspection - so crucial in the development of timeless leadership.

5-0 out of 5 stars Identifying Adaptive Capacity as a key leadership trait
This latest addition to the leadership category finally offers a useful, applicable model to those interested in developing their own leadership skills as well as those around them. I found the concept of "adaptive capacity" to be particularly helpful. In these times of economic uncertainty, change, and management failures, I now have a better sense of the leaders to seek out: those resilient individuals who adapt, thrive, and lead because of their ability to "confront unfamiliar situations with confidence and optimism". ... Read more


58. Marketing As Strategy: Understanding the CEO's Agenda for Driving Growth and Innovation
by Nirmalya Kumar
list price: $32.50
our price: $21.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1591392101
Catlog: Book (2004-05-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 25092
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

CEOs are more than frustrated by marketing's inability to deliver results. Has the profession lost its relevance?

Nirmalya Kumar argues that, while the function of marketing has lost ground, the importance of marketing as a mind-set-geared toward customer focus and market orientation-has gained momentum across the entire organization.

This book challenges marketers to change their role from implementers of traditional marketing functions to strategic coordinators of organization-wide initiatives aimed at profitably delivering value to customers. Kumar outlines seven cross-functional and bottom-line oriented initiatives that can put marketing back on the CEO's agenda-and elevate its role in shaping the destiny of the firm.

Nirmalya Kumar is Professor of Marketing at IMD-International Institute for Management Development, Switzerland.

... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Marketing is Strategy and Kumar explains why
Professor Nirmalya Kumar explores the world of Marketing from the CEO's perspective, making a strong case in favour of a major role for the marketing director in the developing of the company's strategy.

His message is clear: marketing and strategy are closely related, if not the very same thing, and in today's highly competitive environment no single company could afford to ignore this fact.

Perhaps two of the most important contributions of this book are the use of the "three Vs" approach (Valued customer, Value network and Value proposition) as a means to get answers to the three basic strategic questions: Who, How and What, and the section devoted to the discussion of the concept of strategic segmentation.

I had the privilege of having Professor Kumar during a term of my Sloan Fellowship Masters Programme at the London Business School, in 2003, and we used parts of his then unpublished manuscript to explore some of his revolutionary concepts. Even though nothing can replace having Nirmalya in front of you talking about his experience and incredible knowledge of the Marketing science, by reading this book you will have access to some of his most innovative ideas.

Definitively, a Marketing/Strategy reference book for the years to come

5-0 out of 5 stars Making Marketing Matter to Your CEO
With increasing pressures on CEOs to deliver profits in the short term and increasing concerns of Board members about financial reporting requirements, the corporate agenda is less and less likely to include marketing issues. Yet in every organization, it is marketing's answers to the who?, what? and how? questions that build the growth engine of the enterprise. Professor Kumar explains why leaders must have their eyes on the marketing ball.

Though Professor Kumar is a marketing academic, his book is useful not just for marketers, but also for CEO's and general managers. He convincingly argues why marketing must be elevated from the tactical responsibility to sell more of our products and services to a strategic influence in the future direction of the organization.

To do this, he suggests that marketing no longer employ the traditional four Ps model of product, promotion, price and place (distribution) but rather a more strategic approach he calls the Three Vs: valued customer (who to serve), value proposition (what to offer) and value network (how to deliver).

With practical suggestions and examples, he details a menu of seven marketing initiatives that will drive growth and innovation in all organizations. The seven transformational initiatives along with some questions from the checklists provided are:

1. From Market Segments to Strategic Segments: Who are our valued customers?; Which customers are unhappy with current offerings in the industry?; Is the target large enough to meet our sales objectives?; What is our value proposition?; Does it fit the needs of customers we are trying to serve?; What benefits are we delivering?; Can we deliver and earn a profit?

2. From Selling Products to Providing Solutions: Do we guarantee customers outcomes and benefits instead of product performance?; Have our sales people developed consulting skills and deep industry knowledge?; Have we developed effective processes to allocate resources to solution projects?

3. From Declining to Growing Distribution Channels: What service outputs will the new channel provide?; How will the relative importance and power of existing channels change?; Which competitors will enter the new channel?; What changes in channel incentives to existing members will competitors try? What new competences do we need to enter the new channel?

4. From Branded Bulldozers to Global Distribution Partners: Have we identified our most valuable clients on a worldwide basis?; Are there single points of contact for global customers?; Have we optimized our supply chain for global efficiency?; Have we harmonized pricing structures?

5. From Brand Acquisitions to Brand Rationalization: Which brands are contributing to our profits?; What needs-based segments exist in each category?; How much sales revenue would we risk by deleting non-core brands?; What is the role of the corporate brand?; How will we articulate our program to stakeholders?

6. From Market-Driven to Market-Driving: Are new ideas routinely imported from the outside?; Do we tolerate failures and have processes in place to learn from failures?; Do we mix people on teams to generate new ideas?; Do we ensure that radical ideas do not lose resources to incremental ideas?

7. From Strategic Business Unit Marketing to Corporate Marketing: How does the organization rate on customer focus in processes, including new product development, order fulfillment, customer relationship management?; Is the organization organized around customers?; Are metrics and rewards related to impact on customers?; Does the organization systematically learn about customers?

Read this important new book to learn how to live up to today's pressing challenges of identifying new markets, keeping prices up and retaining customers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Making Marketing Matter to the CEO
With increasing pressures on CEOs to deliver profits in the short term and increasing concerns of Board members about financial reporting requirements, the corporate agenda is less and less likely to include marketing issues. Yet in every organization, it is marketing's answers to the who?, what? and how? questions that build the growth engine of the enterprise. Professor Kumar explains why leaders must have their eyes on the marketing ball.

Though Professor Kumar is a marketing academic, his book is useful not just for marketers, but also for CEO's and general managers. He convincingly argues why marketing must be elevated from the tactical responsibility to sell more of our products and services to a strategic influence in the future direction of the organization.

To do this, he suggests that marketing no longer employ the traditional four Ps model of product, promotion, price and place (distribution) but rather a more strategic approach he calls the Three Vs: valued customer (who to serve), value proposition (what to offer) and value network (how to deliver).

With practical suggestions and examples, he details a menu of seven marketing initiatives that will drive growth and innovation in all organizations. The seven transformational initiatives along with some questions from the checklists provided are:

1. From Market Segments to Strategic Segments: Who are our valued customers?; Which customers are unhappy with current offerings in the industry?; Is the target large enough to meet our sales objectives?; What is our value proposition?; Does it fit the needs of customers we are trying to serve?; What benefits are we delivering?; Can we deliver and earn a profit?

2. From Selling Products to Providing Solutions: Do we guarantee customers outcomes and benefits instead of product performance?; Have our sales people developed consulting skills and deep industry knowledge?; Have we developed effective processes to allocate resources to solution projects?

3. From Declining to Growing Distribution Channels: What service outputs will the new channel provide?; How will the relative importance and power of existing channels change?; Which competitors will enter the new channel?; What changes in channel incentives to existing members will competitors try? What new competences do we need to enter the new channel?

4. From Branded Bulldozers to Global Distribution Partners: Have we identified our most valuable clients on a worldwide basis?; Are there single points of contact for global customers?; Have we optimized our supply chain for global efficiency?; Have we harmonized pricing structures?

5. From Brand Acquisitions to Brand Rationalization: Which brands are contributing to our profits?; What needs-based segments exist in each category?; How much sales revenue would we risk by deleting non-core brands?; What is the role of the corporate brand?; How will we articulate our program to stakeholders?

6. From Market-Driven to Market-Driving: Are new ideas routinely imported from the outside?; Do we tolerate failures and have processes in place to learn from failures?; Do we mix people on teams to generate new ideas?; Do we ensure that radical ideas do not lose resources to incremental ideas?

7. From Strategic Business Unit Marketing to Corporate Marketing: How does the organization rate on customer focus in processes, including new product development, order fulfillment, customer relationship management?; Is the organization organized around customers?; Are metrics and rewards related to impact on customers?; Does the organization systematically learn about customers?

Read this important new book to learn how to live up to today's pressing challenges of identifying new markets, keeping prices up and retaining customers. ... Read more


59. Juice: The Creative Fuel That Drives World-Class Inventors
by Evan I. Schwartz
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.47
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1591392888
Catlog: Book (2004-09-01)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 6795
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Book Description

"There's never been a better time to have big ideas." --from the Foreword by Nathan Myhrvold

Creating new possibilities. Finding hidden problems. Blasting through knowledge barriers. That's the job of inventors. And just as invention has fueled the progress of humankind for centuries, the same thinking patterns that produced breakthroughs from the steam engine to the gene sequencer will spawn the inventions on which we'll build our future.

But what drives invention? Where do the mental leap, the "Aha!" and the "Eureka!" come from? What makes one person, company, or country more inventive than another? What motivates someone to search for a problem, brainstorm a solution, and create that next big thing?

This groundbreaking book takes us inside the laboratories and the minds of some of today's most prolific inventors to demystify the process by which they imagine and create. Evan I. Schwartz argues that invention is less about serendipity and genius than it is about a relentless inner compulsion to question and discover. This creative energy, says Schwartz, is the fuel-the "juice"-that drives the best inventors. And this special form of creativity is latent in each of us.

Juice juxtaposes the stories of classic inventors with a new breed of innovators, such as hypersonic sound inventor Woody Norris, genomics pioneer Lee Hood, mechanical whiz Dean Kamen, business systems inventor Jay Walker, and biomimicry trailblazer James McLurkin. Schwartz reveals the brilliant strategies-such as crossing knowledge boundaries, visualizing results, applying analogies, and embracing failure-that enable inventors to transform improbable ideas into reality. We learn, for example, how a connection between slot machines and pill-bottle caps might improve the world of preventive medicine; how mud and weeds are being used to help carry a nation out of poverty; and how the development of a diagnostic nanochip could extend human lifespans.

Powerful and inspiring, Juice will convince you that anything imaginable is possible. There is so much left to be invented. Let's turn on the juice. ... Read more


60. Deep Smarts: How to Cultivate and Transfer Enduring Business Wisdom
by Dorothy Leonard, Walter C. Swap
list price: $29.95
our price: $19.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1591395283
Catlog: Book (2005-01-30)
Publisher: Harvard Business School Press
Sales Rank: 48275
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Book Description

Not All Knowledge Is Created Equal

Deep smarts are the engine of any organization-as well as the essential value that individuals build over their careers. Distinct from I.Q., this type of expertise consists of practical wisdom: accumulated knowledge, know-how, and intuition gained through extensive experience. How do such smarts develop? And what happens when people with deep smarts leave a particular job-or the organization? Can any of their smarts be transferred? Should they be?

Basing their conclusions on a multiyear research project, Dorothy Leonard and Walter Swap argue that cultivating and managing deep smarts are critical parts of any leader's job. The authors draw on examples from firms of all sizes and types to illustrate the connection between deep smarts and organizational viability and continuous innovation.

Leonard and Swap describe the origins and limits of deep smarts and outline processes for cultivating and leveraging them across the organization. Developing an experience repertoire and receiving strategic guidance from wise coaches can help individuals move up the ladder of expertise from novice to master.

Addressing a topic of increasing importance as the Boomer generation retires, Deep Smarts challenges leaders to take a hands-on approach to managing the experience-based knowledge shaping the future of their organizations.

... Read more


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