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Time to revisit the innovator's DNA

· Organisational,Book Review

The Innovator’s DNA by Dyer, Gregersen and Christensen. I reviewed this book awhile ago (see and was drawn back to it recently in developing a workshop framework.

Fundamentally, these guys set out to determine how innovative companies create business strategies. "Our goal was to put innovative entrepreneurs under the microscope, examining when and how they came up with the ideas on which their businesses were built. We especially wanted to examine how they differ from other executives and entrepreneurs: Someone who buys a McDonald’s franchise may be an entrepreneur, but building an Amazon requires different skills altogether. We studied the habits of 25 innovative entrepreneurs and surveyed more than 3,000 executives and 500 individuals who had started innovative companies or invented new products"

Their research led to identify five “discovery skills” that distinguish the most creative executives: associating, questioning, observing, experimenting, and networking. These innovative entrepreneurs and CEO's spent 50% more time on these discovery activities, that is four patterns of action (questioning, observing, experimenting, and networking) that help them to cultivate new insights.

Together, these skills make up what they called the innovator’s DNA. And the good news is, if you’re not born with it, you can cultivate it.