Five books every Innovation Manager should read

Five books every Innovation Manager should read

In order to survive 21st century’s rate of unprecedented technological change and disruption, business managers need understand the mindset, principles and practices from Lean Startup and apply them successfully in stablished businesses.

Eventually all business models are going to be disrupted and pace increases every year with digitalization and technology. So, organizations need the ability to experiment rapidly with new products and new business models, the ability to empower their most creative people, and the ability to engage in a continuous innovation process to unlock new sources of growth and productivity.

In this post we bring the five key books every Innovation Manager, Head of Innovation, Chief Innovation Officer and CEO should have on their desk.

The Four Steps to the Epiphany


While the term “Lean Startup” was originally coined by Eric Ries, we wanted to pay homage to the book that marked a milestone in product development and innovation, and that was the forerunner of the movement.

By the time it was published, in 2005, it offered a radical reexamination of the entire product introduction process. It made clear that companies needed a process to product development that would bring customers and their needs head first into the new product introduction process – before the product is ever launched or shipped.

The lesson was clear: by listening to potential future customers’, by going out into the field and investigating potential customers needs and markets before being inexorably committed to a specific path and precise product specs – the difference between the winners and losers – and that’s the Customer Development Process described in this book.

This book was where the famous sentence “get outside the building” was first coined.

Business Model Generation

business-model-generationThe key to innovation in 21st century is in business models, not in products or new shiny technologies. If you cannot develop a sustainable business model out of a new technology or product, that is not innovation, it is just hype.

The scale and speed at which innovative business models are transforming industry landscapes today is unprecedented. Now is the time to understand and to address the challenge of business model innovation. And, this practical guide will teach you how to design or reinvent business models.

This book will give you deep insight into the nature of business models. It describes several models and their dynamics, innovation techniques, how to position your model, and how to lead the redesign of your own organization’s business model.

Running Lean

Running LeanAny Innovation Team or a Startup founder should know how to quickly iterate from an early-stage idea into a plan that works.

The true product of a successful entrepreneur is not just a great solution or an innovative piece of technology, but a repeatable process that connects your solution with paying customers — in other words, finding a working business model.

This is a fundamental book if you want to learn how to bring an idea to Product-Market Fit. This book teaches youhow to develop or kill new ideas based on market acceptance.

Lean Analytics

Lean AnalyticsOne key reason why innovation fails in large companies is because they use the same processes and metrics they used to manage its core products to manage its innovation projects. 

In this book you will find everything you need to properly apply Innovation Accounting to your innovation projects. A mandatory companion to Business Model Generation and Running Lean.

Without discussion, this is the reference book for Digital Product Management and Innovation Accounting. A must for Innovation Managers, Product Managers, Product Owners or Startup founders.

The core concept in this book is the One Metric That Matters (OMTM). That metric you should care above all else at any point in time depending on the business you are in and the stage of your product.

The Corporate Startup

TCSUThis book provides an answer to the challenge that has always worried established companies; how to keep exploiting current business models to ensure sustainability, while devoting enough energy and resources to exploring future growth.

It is key to understanding how to create an innovation ecosystem in your organization. If you don’t want to be the next Kodak, Nokia or Blockbuster you need to develop the organizational structures and processes to manage innovation and don’t leave it to chance, luck or funny innovation theaters.

You must create an environment where any idea, from anywhere at any time can quickly be tested and become a successful business model that drives future growth of your organization.

Other great innovation references

  • The Lean Startup – Eric Ries
  • Blue Ocean Strategy – W. Chan Kim & Renée Mauborgne
  • Value Proposition Design – Alex Osterwalder et al.
  • Lean Enterprise – Jez Humble et al.
  • Scaling Lean – Ash Maurya
  • The Startup Way – Eric Ries
  • The Startup J-Curve – Howard Love & Chris Abell
  • Lean UX – Jeff Gothelf & Josh Seiden

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