Knowing where to start with innovation and entrepreneurship is tough.
Whether you are new to innovation and entrepreneurship or want a refresh on some great content, then this list of must-read books is a great place to start.
The Lean Startup
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. At the forefront of the lean startup movement, Eric Ries has provided a practical how-to guide for starting a business or innovating one.
The core methodology keeps you centred on learning what customers want and using experimentation to validate your Minimum Viable Product.
Blue Ocean Strategy
Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. This classic concept of strategy is about creating a strategy for establishing a competitive advantage in uncontested markets (blue ocean).
The markets could be totally new industries or they could be within existing industries by expanding the current boundaries (red ocean).
The Field Guide to Human-centered Design
The non-profit design studio IDEO.org are considered to be at the forefront of human-centred design. They have put together this incredible resource that provides a step by step guide for innovation in any setting whether impact based or commercial.
Available for download here.
Speaking of IDEO, the founders David and Tom Kelley co-authored Creative Confidence that provides an entertaining and inspiring narrative that lefts your confidence in being creative.
This book is not only for the ‘creative types’, it is for everyone to be able to unleash the creativity in us all to innovate in our lives or workplace.
Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard
Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. This book is not a typical ‘innovation’ book. However, the brother’s Heath have hit on an essential theme that is relevant for all change, innovation included.
Through their interesting framework of Direct the Rider, Motivate the Elephant and Shape the Path, Chip and Dan Heath provide the guidance to make some of the hardest of changes possible. I used their framework on this innovation project.
Playing to Win: How Strategy really Works
Playing to win by Roger Martin and AG Lafley. As indicated in the name this is another strategy book because every innovation and entrepreneurship endeavour needs a winning strategy – right?
This book provides a simple yet powerful way of thinking about strategy, the choices that you make (and therefore don’t make) within the five choice cascade questions.
It also aligns with thinking about strategy as a design process of experimentation and testing.
The Innovator's Dilemma
The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen. The Harvard Business Professor wrote this classic book about disruptive innovation.
It highlights that the reason why even great companies fail is that they are often relying solely on traditional methods of competitive advantage – benchmarking, R&D, customer feedback.
However, disruptive innovation often comes from novel ideas that would not yet be attractive to mainstream customers and must be tested from new value insights, with the expectation of failure, to establish new market opportunities. Something that is foreign to many established businesses.
The Startup Owner's Manual: The Step-by-Step Guide for Building a Great Company
The Startup Owner’s Manual by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf. This book takes you through a proven customer development process that Steve Blank created. It is essential reading for anyone interested in innovation and entrepreneurship.
This is Service Design Doing: Applying Service Design Thinking in the Real World
This is Service Design Thinking by Marc Stickdorn, Adam Lawrence, Markus Hormess and Jakob Schneider.
Service Design as a practice has come on leaps and bounds over the last decade and take human-centred design, innovation and entrepreneurship techniques into the approach for redesigning services (and therefore your business).
This book is great for developing service experiences that focus on customer and service provider interactions.
Which one will be on your reading list? And, let me know what I should add to this list in the comments below.