Leading the Way in Innovation

If necessity is the mother of invention, then innovation is its nurturing father. The word innovate comes from the Latin to “make new”. It has never been more pressing — in society as well as in organizations. Which thinkers have contributed the most to our understanding of innovation over the last two years? Thinkers50 has selected eight to innovate with:

1. Scott Anthony

Managing partner of Innosight, the innovation and growth consulting firm, Anthony is the author and co-author of several books, including (with Clay Christensen) Seeing What’s Next (HBR, 2004) and The First Mile (HBR, 2014). His latest book, Dual Transformation: How to Reposition Today’s Business While Creating the Future, co-authored with Clark Gilbert and Mark W. Johnson, (HBR Press 2017), tackles how successful incumbent companies can counter the threat of disruption.

2. Jeff Gothelf & Josh Seiden

Lean thinking and design evangelists, founders of the global Lean UX movement, and authors of Sense & Respond: How Successful Organizations Listen to Customers and Create New Products (HBR Press, 2017). They argue that becoming a sensing organization requires shifting from managing outputs to what the authors call “outcome focused management.”

3. Jeanne Liedtka

Professor of Business Administration at the Darden School at the University of Virginia, Liedtka was formerly the chief learning officer at United Technologies Corporation. She is the co-author of Designing for Growth: A design toolkit for managers (Columbia Business Press, 2011) and Solving Problems with Design Thinking: Ten Stories of What Works (Columbia Business Press, 2011). Her forthcoming book is Designing for the Greater Good.

4. Soren Kaplan

A former Hewlett Packard executive, Kaplan is an affiliated professor at the Center for Effective Organizations at USC’s Marshall School of Business. He is the founder of the consulting firm Innovation Point, and a co-founder of iCohere, a web collaboration platform for online learning and social networking. His latest book The Invisible Advantage (Greenleaf, 2017) looks at how firms create and sustain a culture of innovation.

5. David Robertson

David Robertson is Professor of Practice at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. From 2002 through 2010, he was the LEGO Professor of Innovation and Technology Management at IMD. Robertson is the author (with Bill Breen) of Brick by Brick: How LEGO Reinvented its Innovation System and Conquered the Toy Industry, (Random House, 2013). His latest book is The Power of Little Ideas: A Low-risk, High-reward Approach to Innovation (HBR Press, 2017).

6. Christian Seelos & Johanna Mair

Johanna Mair is a professor at the Hertie School of Governance and the Distinguished Fellow at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and a senior research fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School. Christian Seelos is a visiting scholar at the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford, and the Leo Tindemans Chair of Business Model Innovation at KU Leuven. Seelos and Mair are the authors of Innovation and Scaling for Impact: How Effective Social Enterprises Do It (Stanford Business Books, 2017).

7. Tendayi Viki

The founder and principal consultant at Benneli Jacobs, a strategy and innovation consultancy firm that helps companies develop their internal ecosystems to innovate like startups, Viki co-designed and helped implement Pearson’s Product Lifecycle, an innovation framework that won Best Innovation Program 2015 at the Corporate Entrepreneur Awards. He is the co-author, with Dan Toma and Esther Gons, of The Corporate Startup: How Established Companies Can Develop Successful Innovation Ecosystems (Vakmedianet, 2017).

8. Howard Yu

Professor of Strategic Management and Innovation at IMD in Switzerland, Yu specializes in technological innovation, with a focus on why and how some firms can sustain new growth while others cannot. His award-winning paper, “Leopards sometimes change their spots: How established firms can transform themselves,” argues that as well as being vulnerable to disruption from new start-ups, incumbent companies can also leverage their advantages.

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