Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, has written another terrific business book called “The Design of Business”. This new book is a must-read for people who want to bake into their corporate cultures ingredients such as research, design and innovation. Words: 451
In further edited excerpts from the original review* Diane Francis (www.financialpost.com) goes on to say:
Martin studies some of Canada’s greatest innovators: Research in Motion and Cirque du Soleil, among others. Both are founded by genius inventors, Mike Lazaridis and Guy Laliberte, but both have integrated their founders’ DNA into their organization. Their teams are innovative, experimental, risk-driven and reinvention-oriented which help perpetuate their success. They are necessary in order to succeed in the fast-moving sectors of entertainment and high-tech where products have the shelf life of yogurt or bestsellers published before Christmas while other companies, who rest on their laurels, are eventually sideswiped or sidelined.
Martin points out in his book that innovation is not restricted to the what-can-you-do-for-me-today business models. He examines Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest consumer packaged-goods corporation and a great multinational with a Triple-A credit rating, that has been around for 176 years.
In 2000 P&G’s stock price, and prospects, were sagging. “The company was producing fewer and fewer successful new products and brand extensions, and was taking longer and longer between introductions,” Martin writes while costs — especially in research and development — were soaring.” Management changed at the top and the new team determined that more innovative products were needed in order to attract, and keep, consumers who would be willing to pay premium price.
Design and new product development were elevated in importance and embedded in every business decision and department. “The original Pampers disposable diaper was a genuine breakthrough, a risky and imaginative solution to diaper washing. Once the innovation took hold in the market, P&G’s R&D department turned its attention to the steady improvement of the disposable diaper,” Martin explained. Instead, P&G research should have been aimed at finding the next breakthrough idea and now, as a result of changes in orientation, that is what is happening, he added.
This new book is a must-read for people who want to bake into their corporate cultures ingredients such as research, design and innovation. One of the greatest challenges in doing so, which the book deals with, is blending the two solitudes — the “innovator” culture with the “bean-counter” culture. This is never easy, Martin writes, because they talk different languages and rely on different benchmarks but winning companies have learned how to merge them, and then surgically select the best from each.
I also enjoyed Martin’s last book, The Opposable Mind, about the cognitive skills of successful people. I can’t wait for the next one.
– The above article consists of reformatted edited excerpts from the original for the sake of brevity, clarity and to ensure a fast and easy read. The author’s views and conclusions are unaltered.
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