Couched as an us-vs.-them guide for corporations in the realm of technology innovation, this perceptive book shows how big companies can defeat the nimble upstarts through the strategic use of resources, the implementation of three principles and the following of eight rules.
Mui (co-author Unleashing the Killer App, 2000) and former Wall Street Journal reporter and editor Carroll’s (co-author Billion Dollar Lessons, 2008) latest joint work builds on the idea that, to beat startups, large companies must leverage their greater assets (e.g., people, resources, branding, supply chains, distribution networks, customer relations, and market and customer data) in the context of six key technological innovations: mobile devices, cameras, sensors, social media, the cloud and “emergent knowledge.” Three principles guide the approach: first, “Think Big,” the initial phase in redesigning a business, which calls for starting fresh, embracing the context of the business environment and considering potential worst-case scenarios; second, “Start Small,” as in make sure everyone in the company is on the same page, and don’t rush to let financial projections limit or run the company, since those numbers can be inaccurate; and third, “Learn Fast” regarding rules about the value of showing versus telling and welcoming a devil’s advocate into strategy planning. The clear, engaging prose is highlighted by plenty of anecdotes and four case studies. Additionally, many readers will find the afterword—“Moving from Innovation to Invention”—well worth their time, especially if they wish to create their own technological earthquakes instead of merely using disruptive technologies to their advantage. The partisan pro–big-business stance shouldn’t prevent the other side—e.g., startups, entrepreneurs, small-business owners—from taking advantage of these insights to see what their savvy, outsize competitors will soon be up to. The sagacious, well-rounded guide will also appeal to investors, teachers, students, journalists and historians, all of whom might have a vested interest in the future of the tech industry and the next big thing.
An erudite anthem for large companies reshaping themselves to innovate and compete with agile startups.