31 Best Innovation Books [2022 Update]

It’s no secret that successful business leaders and entrepreneurs make reading a major part of their daily lifestyle. In an interview with The New York Times Bill Gates shared that he reads about 50 books a year. Successful individuals know that reading is a path to knowledge and ultimately growing companies.

In this article, we’ll share the 31 best innovation books for 2022 that will keep your mind sharp.

And for each of these books, you are going to learn who they are for, what they cover, and key takeaways.

Whether you are a business executive, a corporate innovator, a strategist or an entrepreneur, you’ll be able to get inspired, learn things, and even assess which one you may want to read next!

Let’s dive in…

31 Best Innovation Books (In 2022)

Below you’ll find the different categories in which the selected best books on innovation fall into. 

Click the links below to jump to a specific category or scroll down to browse them all.

Table of Contents

Essentials Innovation Books

Not sure where to start?

The innovation books below are essential reading…

1. The Invincible Company: How to Constantly Reinvent Your Organization with Inspiration From the World’s Best Business Models

By Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pgneur, Alan Smith, and Frederic Etiemble

Why we love it:  

This book combines two attributes we wish we could find more often in business books: great design and great content. Not only is it beautifully illustrated (making the whole reading experience quite pleasant). It’s also very practical, providing you with essential tools, steps and examples.

Who it’s good for:

Senior leaders, strategists, entrepreneurs, and anyone looking to build an organization that can last in the long run. If you want to innovate by design (instead of luck), this book is for you!

What you will learn:

How to constantly reinvent yourself, compete on superior business models, and transcend industry boundaries.

Key takeaways:

  • There are 5 big innovation myths: 1) “The most important part of the innovation and entrepreneurship journey is to find and execute the perfect idea”. 2) “Myth #2: The evidence will show you a clear path forward when you systematically test ideas. The solution will magically emerge if you just test and adapt your idea often enough”. “Myth #3: A small number of big bets will lead to a large return”. Myth #4: “The skills required to explore a new business and to manage an existing one are pretty similar. Business is business.” Myth #5: Innovation teams are renegades or pirates that are out to disrupt the old business. They need to operate in stealth mode to survive inside a company”.

  • There are 4 types of innovation risks that might kill your business idea: Desirability Risk (customers aren’t interested), Viability Risk (we can’t earn enough money),  Feasibility Risk (we can’t build and deliver), Adaptability Risk (external factors are unfavorable).

  • The Pattern Library tool consists of two categories: Inventing patterns and shifting patterns. “Inventing patterns helps you invent patterns to enhance new ventures and shift patterns to substantially improve an established, but deteriorating business model to make it more competitive”.

Available via Amazon

2. Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice

By Clayton Christensen, Taddy Hall, and David S. Duncan, and Karen Dillon

 

Why we love it:

This book introduces the Theory Of Jobs. It is the idea that customers don’t buy products or services, they “hire” them to fulfill a job. By understanding the reasons why customers “hire” certain products and services, companies can leverage that to their advantage and skyrocket innovation!

Who it’s good for:

Product managers, product development teams, founders, and executives who are looking to identify specific and effective solutions to their customers’ problems.

What you will learn:

Christensen along with his co-authors provide actionable steps on how you can fully understand and apply the Theory of Jobs to your own company.

Key takeaways: 

  • A job is “the progress that a person is trying to make in a particular circumstance”. For example, a parent will buy a milkshake for their kids so they can be seen as a fun parent. Knowing this, a smart innovator could introduce kid’s cup sizes or add a free toy to the deal to improve the experience.

  • Having empathy for the customer is the key to creating the right set of experiences. It’s easy for competitors to copy products but it is difficult for them to copy experiences.

  • “The Jobs Theory” helps innovators answer one crucial question: is innovation inherently a question of luck? With this new mindset and tool, the answer is no.

Available via Amazon

3. Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers

By Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur

 

Why we love it:

This is the go-to book for anyone looking to evaluate and improve an existing business model, or develop a new one.

Who it’s good for:

This is a great fit for anyone looking to evaluate and develop compelling business propositions.

What you will learn:

You will learn how to break down any business model by using the Business Model Canvas.

Key takeaways: 

  • “A business model describes the rationale of how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value”.

  • Leverage the Business Model Canvas to define, evaluate and improve your business. This framework highlights the 9 essential building blocks of any business: 1) customer segments, 2) value propositions, 3) key activities, 4) channels, 5) customer relationships, 6) key resources, 7) key partners, 8) revenue streams, and 9) cost structure.

  • It’s important to understand the external environment in which your company is evolving. Business models are shaped by external forces. They can be broken down in 4 categories: 1) Market Forces, 2) Key Trends, 3) Industry Forces and 4) Macro-Economic Trends. Unlike the building blocks of your business model canvas, these external forces represent constraints that you have to work with.

Available via Amazon

4. Exponential Organizations: New Organizations Are Ten Times Better, Faster, and Cheaper Than Yours (and What to Do About It)

By Salim Ismail, Yuri van Geest,  Michael S. Malone, Peter H Diamandis, and Kevin Young

Why we love it:

This book talks about the Age of Exponential Organizations (ExO). An ExO is an organization with a large impact, about ten times more than its competitors, through the implementation of new technologies.

Who it’s good for:

Entrepreneurs and founders seeking to build the next big thing!

What you will learn:

Ismail and his co-authors share the external and internal attributes that make a company an ExO, as well as the steps to take in order to build an ExO from the ground up.

Key takeaways: 

  • Exponential leadership has 6 characteristics: 1) Visionary Customer Advocate. “If customers see their needs and desires being attended to at the highest levels, they are much more willing to persevere through the chaos and experimentation that often happens with exponential growth.” 2) Data-driven Experimentalist: “To create order out of high-speed chaos requires a process-oriented approach that is ultimately nimble and scalable.” 3) Optimistic Realist: “Leaders able to articulate a positive outcome through any scenario, even downside scenarios, will be able to help maintain objectivity within their teams.” 4) Extreme Adaptability: “As a business scales and its activities morph, so too must its management…Constant learning is critical to staying on the exponential curve.” 5) Radical Openness: “While many [most?] leaders and their organizations ignore most of the criticism and suggestions [from within and beyond], creating an open channel to the crowd [outside of the given C-Suite] and the mechanisms to determine signal from noise can provide new perspectives and solutions, allowing access to whole new layers of innovation.” 6) Hyper-Confident: “Two of the most important personality traits for an exponential leader to have are the courage and perseverance to learn, adapt and ultimately, disrupt the given business”.

  • Exponential organizations share internal and external success attributes. Internal attributes follow the IDEAS acronym – Interfaces, Dashboards, Experimentation, Autonomy, and Social Technologies.  External attributes follow the SCALE acronym – Staff on Demand, Community & Crowd, Algorithms, Leveraged Assets, and Engagement.

  • The first step in creating an ExO is choosing an MTP (Massive Transformative Purpose). Ask yourself, “What is the biggest problem I’d want solved?” For example, Google’s MTP is to compile and manage information from all over the world.

Available via Amazon

5. Crossing the Chasm

By Geoffery A. Moore

Why we love it:

This book will show you how to introduce disruptive innovations in high tech businesses.

Who it’s good for:

Startup founders, marketing managers, and marketing teams striving to acquire adoption efficiently across the segments in the Innovation Adoption Lifecycle.

What you will learn:

Moore shares key strategies on how to close the gap between Early Adopters and the Early Majority.

Key takeaways: 

  • “Positioning exists in people’s heads, not in your words. If you want to talk intelligently about positioning, you must frame a position in words that are likely to actually exist in other people’s heads, and not in words that come straight out of hot advertising campaigns.”

  • Early Adopters are looking for new, breakthrough technology. They are more tolerant with glitches in new products. They need to know that products are efficient and effective.

  • Drive competitors out of a target niche market and then move to adjacent markets. Channeling in on one niche makes it easier for a company to cater to that customer base.

Available via Amazon

6. Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make the Competition Irrelevant

By W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

Why we love it:

This book teaches entrepreneurs that focusing on beating out competition only leads to “bloody red oceans” filled with clashes over small wins. Authors Kim and Mauborgne encourage the shift to a “Blue Ocean Strategy”. It prioritizes making competition irrelevant and values growing markets and innovation.

Who it’s good for:

Startup founders and entrepreneurs who find themselves stuck in a constant battle with other companies.

What you will learn:

Authors share principles and techniques that will help you create new demand and differentiate your product or service to avoid commoditization. Some of the principles include reconstructing market boundaries, reaching beyond existing demands, and aligning value, profit, and people.

 Key takeaways: 

  • Leverage the Strategy Canvas, a framework that helps you understand your competition by highlighting similarities and differences.

  • Four Action Framework: Which factors should be eliminated, reduced, created, and raised?

  • Cirque du Soleil used the “Blue Ocean Strategy” to move away from the traditional circus. They reduced costs by cutting out animals from the routine (care, training, etc.), and increasing value by adding more sophistication, artistry, music, and comfortable seating.

  • “To fundamentally shift the strategy canvas of an industry, you must begin by reorienting your strategic focus from competitors to alternatives, and from customers to non-customers of the industry.” (Blue Ocean Strategy).

Available via Amazon

7. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Lead and Others Don’t

By Jim Collins 

Why we love it:

“Good to Great” highlights the idea that great companies didn’t go through a revolutionary moment to become great. Great companies spend years building themselves up, gaining momentum, and reaching a breakthrough point to become great!

Who it’s good for:

Business leaders who don’t want to settle for good and are striving to achieve great.

What you will learn:

Specific concepts on how to shift between good and great. These concepts include the Flywheel Effect which encompasses Level 5 Leadership, the Hedgehog Concept, and the Culture of Discipline to name a few.

Key takeaways:

  • “Good is the enemy of great” (Good to Great).

  • To build a great company, you need disciplined people (people focused on excellence), disciplined thought (ability to avoid distractions), and disciplined action (knowing what is important to accomplish vs. what isn’t).

  • The Hedgehog Concept: Channel your inner hedgehogs (animals that focus on their strengths and don’t get distracted) by asking yourself three questions:

    • What are you most passionate about?

    • What can you be best at?

    • What drives your economic engine?

Available via Amazon

Speaking about innovation…

At Runway Innovation Hub, we help companies like IBM, Epson or Emirates identify their biggest growth opportunities, and build customized, hands-on innovation programs (or optimize existing ones) to generate real business results. Learn more about how we can help your organization here. 

Alternatively, you can subscribe to our monthly newsletter. You’ll get access to exciting industry events on all things tech and innovation, our favorite reads, tools, and resources from the web, and practical guides to accelerate your innovation capabilities. 

 

Corporate Innovation Focused

 

8. The Lean Enterprise: How Corporations Can Innovate Like Startups

By Trevor Owens and Obie Fernandez 

Why we love it:

Owens and Fernandez shed light on the idea that big enterprises aren’t leading the industry anymore. Small and innovative startups have taken the business world by the storm, and they’re only going to get better and more competitive. This book encourages corporations to innovate in order to keep up with powerful startups.

Who it’s good for:

Executive business leaders and corporate innovators at established companies who are looking for new innovation strategies and tools.

What you will learn:

This book will teach you how to blend lean processes that startups use into larger organizations. This will help larger companies tackle issues that are holding them back from achieving new growth and innovation. Some topics to look out for are enterprise development and acquisition/integration of startups.

Key takeaways:

  • “The Innovation Colony”: a way to bring lean methodologies into organizations. Corporate innovation strategies include incubating, investing, and acquiring prospective startups early.

  • If your company’s culture is not structured around encouraging and rewarding innovation, that culture is the reason why your growth (adoption of new tools, branching into new markets, etc) will remain stagnant.

Available via Amazon

Product Focused

9. The Lean Product Playbook: How to Innovate with Minimum Viable Products and Rapid Customer Feedback

By Dan Olsen

Why we love it:

Olsen explains that most products fail due to inadequate product-market fit. In this book, he introduces The Lean Product Process, a framework to help companies achieve product-market fit.

Who it’s good for:

Product managers, designers and developers who are passionate about building products that customers will love.

What you will learn:

This book will provide you with applicable steps to achieve product-market fit from identifying your customers and their needs, to creating an MVP and testing it with your customers.

Key takeaways:

  • The most practical way to create an MVP is to pinpoint the basic functionality aspects that are required to validate that you’re moving in the right direction.

  • Hypothesis-Design-Test-Learn Loop is a framework that lets companies work on product development, and swiftly if they continuously go through the loop.

  • Rinse-and-Repeat (or pivot) is a concept that states that if product-market fit is not yet attained, teams should re-evaluate the contents of their Lean Product Process.

Available via Amazon

 

10. Running Lean

By Ash Maurya

Why we love it:

Ever since Eric Ries published “The Lean Startup”, startup founders and entrepreneurs alike have been interested in the concepts but don’t exactly know what a lean process is and how to implement it. In “Running Lean”, Maurya explains how to kickstart these lean processes and what to expect.

Who it’s good for:

Any entrepreneur interested in growing or starting a business based on lean startup methodology.

What you will learn:

Maurya tells you how to implement lean methodology to maximize improvement and learning to increase your chances of success. You will learn key principles such as the Customer Development framework, Bootstrapping, and much more.

Key takeaways:

  • Having a lean canvas, which is a concise, one-page document, is essential for planning and communicating your product. The lean canvas should include your customers’ problems, how you plan to solve it, a distribution plan, and your pricing strategy.

  • Two important pricing strategies to note are:

    • Scarcity – only give the product to the first 25 customers

    • Anchoring – leveraging cognitive bias by putting a $600 necklace next to a $2,000 necklace

  • All products face 3 types of risks: product risk, customer risk, and market risk.

Available via Amazon

Design Thinking and Creativity

 

11. The Design Thinking Playbook: Mindful Digital Transformation of Teams, Products, Services, Businesses, and Ecosystems

By Michael Lewrick, Patrick Link, and Larry Lefier

Why we love it:

This book challenges traditional mindsets with design thinking, which is an iterative process that involves deeply understanding users for solution-based problem solving. Design thinking can be weaved into various industries and can help companies achieve radical innovation.

Who it’s good for:

All entrepreneurs and corporate innovators eager to learn how to combat the challenges that accompany digital transformations.

What you will learn:

The authors create a well designed guide filled with various frameworks, tools, and real-world solutions to help you generate a valuable product and experience that is curated specifically for your users. Some tools to look out for are the 9-Window Tool, Connect 2 Value framework, and the Strategic Foresight framework.

Key takeaways:

  • Build empathy for your potential customers by understanding their backgrounds and needs. Observe potential customers in their natural routines and unbiased.

  • Create an interdisciplinary team, a team where ideas are created collectively. To be successful, the team should have common values, processes, and expectations.

  • You mainly have two options when navigating a digital transformation: either improve the existing business or develop new digital business models.

Available via Amazon

12. Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems & Test New Ideas in Just Five Days

By Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, Braden Kowitz, and Dan Bittner

Why we love it:

Knapp and his co-authors introduce sprint which is a five day workshop that allows teams to come together and develop new solutions and validate them effectively. Blue Bottle Coffee is an example of a company who used the sprint process for their website and their sales doubled!

Who it’s good for:

Product developers and innovation strategists who want to adopt a process that will help them get answers on the effectiveness of their new ideas or products as quickly as possible.

What you will learn:

This book breaks down the agenda for each of the days from the ideation process to the execution and testing phase. Aside from helping companies generate quick solutions, implementing the sprint process can also manage risk and promote inspiration to innovate.

Key takeaways: 

  • When building the team that will be part of the sprint process, some key roles to fill are The Facilitator, The Decider, The Finance Expert, The Marketing Expert, and The Tech Expert.

  • Use a whiteboard and paper to write ideas down, minimal technology involved.

  • Day 1: Map out the customer journey, ask experts for input, and decide on one objective to focus on.

  • Day 2: Brainstorming, all possible ideas are brought to the table.

  • Day 3: The team votes for their top ideas and a detailed storyboard will be created for the winning idea.

  • Day 4: Storyboard is then transformed into a prototype. No coding or manufacturing involved, generate something that will give customers an accurate idea of the product so they can give feedback.

  • Day 5: An interviewer guides customers through the idea without bias while the rest of the team takes notes on reactions and feedback (source).

Available via Amazon

13. Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers and Changemakers

By Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo

Why we love it:

The authors of this book suggest a refreshing and fun idea: incorporating games into the workplace will promote creative thinking and innovation. By understanding game rules and mechanics, teams can gain great benefits such as increased engagement and improved communication to name a few.

Who it’s good for:

Business professionals and entrepreneurs who facilitate meetings and workshops, and want to introduce new and exciting activities to their teams that will increase team bonding and creativity.

What you will learn:

This book lists 80 games that you can incorporate into your team meetings to take them to the next level! The authors also explain the intentions and importance behind each game so that you can understand the potential benefits – more productive meetings, stimulate collaboration in cross-functional teams, etc.

Key takeaways: 

  • Two tips for getting people engaged:

    • Embrace artifacts as props/reminders – paper, sticky note, index card, etc.

    • Defy labels – ask people to split ideas into categories without naming the categories yet, sort by relationship. Making strict labels early on can limit creativity.

  • Game Example: Draw Toast (source)

    • Objective: Use visual thinking to communicate ideas and information

    • How: Ask participants to draw “How to make toast” on a piece of paper. Have participants show their work and talk about the similarities and differences.

    • Takeaways: All drawings are different, but there is no “wrong” or “right”. And all drawings are different content wise, but likely have similar structures (ex: arrows showing next step)

Available via Amazon

14. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

By Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace

Why we love it:

A co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios wrote this book to promote the importance of creativity in the workplace. This book explains how business leaders and managers can lead in order to protect the creative process.

Who it’s good for:

All entrepreneurs who want to build and work in an environment that prioritizes creativity.

What you will learn:

Catmull and Wallace reveal the techniques used to harness creativity within Pixar and how that transitioned into profits. You will learn about various leadership philosophies regarding risk management, error prevention, and communication structure.

Key takeaways:

  • Great teams are more important than great ideas. Make sure to hire passionate individuals that communicate and collaborate well with others; they will be able to turn any mediocre idea into a phenomenal one!

  • Teams take responsibility for mistakes instead of one or two individuals taking the blame. This makes employees feel more comfortable taking risks.

  • Let employees be themselves in the workplace – decorating their own desks, being more productive early morning vs late night, etc.

Available via Amazon

15. Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision & Reality

By Scott Bellsky

Why we love it:  

Shifting the focus from brainstorming ideas, Bellsky emphasizes the importance of actually executing ideas and plans so that companies can continue to advance. No one is able to naturally bring ideas to life, this is a skill that must be developed over time.

Who it’s good for:

Business leaders and innovation strategists who wish to learn how to navigate an idea’s execution process and turn them into reality!

What you will learn:

This book will show you how to shift your mindset to complete the great ideas you come up with. Bellsky will provide you with actionable techniques to help you learn why your ideas don’t follow through and how to reverse that.

Key takeaways: 

  • Separate your tasks into three categories: action steps, references, and backburner items. By using these categories, you’ll have a clear understanding of what tasks need to be completed first and which tasks aren’t as pressing.

  • Ideas tend to fail because plans aren’t geared toward action. To combat this, plan “action steps”. Having an amazing idea doesn’t mean anything if you don’t plan out the specific steps to take action.

  • Share and discuss your ideas with others so that you can get helpful advice and feedback. Others will also be able to hold you accountable by checking in on your process here and there.

Available on Amazon

16. Change by Design

By Tim Brown

Why we love it:  

Brown highlights that design thinking can and should be used throughout all industries, not just design-focused or creative industries. Design thinking can help any company channel creativity and spark innovation.

Who it’s good for:

Creative leaders, executives, and innovators who want to blend design thinking into their companies in order to reach valuable breakthroughs.

What you will learn:

This book shares tons of high-level concepts and real-world examples of how human-centered design thinking can create more opportunities for your company, such as increased engagement and customer participation.

Key takeaways:

  • Prototyping brings ideas to reality and helps companies pinpoint areas of improvement.

    • Aravind Eye Institute is a company who prototyped early on, became a popular lens producer, and was able to leverage that to decrease their production costs.

  • Visual thinking in regards to prototypes would include role-playing so you can figure out what problems your customers could potentially face. Doing this would develop a sense of empathy with the customer and lead to the creation of more specific and engaging experiences.

  • Some questions to determine the success of a product:

    • Does it create meaning? Value?

    • Does it create a tipping point?

    • Does it create new behavior that can permanently be associated with it?

Available on Amazon

17. 101 Design Methods: A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation in Your Organization

By Vijay Kumar

Why we love it:

Kumar approaches innovation and design as a science as opposed to an art. He has put together 101 practical frameworks and models to help entrepreneurs delve into strong innovation planning.

Who it’s good for: 

Innovation strategists who want to learn how to leverage reliable tools to create big innovation breakthroughs rather than small, sporadic advancements.

What you will learn:

This book provides a step-by-step guide for companies to achieve user-centric design. Kumar goes into detail about the seven step process that will support successful innovation planning.

Key takeaways:

  • Step 1 – Sense Intent: Prepare to face shifts in business, technology, society, policy, etc. by forecasting trends and reframing issues

  • Step 2 – Know Context: Understanding the specific surrounding circumstances where change could happen

  • Step 3 – Know People: Observe and build empathy for customers in order to create solutions to their problems

  • Step 4 – Frame Insights: Organize and analyze data from steps 1 – 3, identify patterns, opportunities, etc.

  • Step 5 – Explore Concepts: Use insights to create valuable ideas

  • Step 6 – Frame Solutions: Combine compatible ideas from step 5 to create a reliable system of solutions

  • Step 7 – Realize Offerings: Test prototypes and implement them in the real world

Available via Amazon

18. Ten Types of Innovation: The Discipline of Building Breakthroughs

By Larry Keely, Helen Walters, Ryan Pikkel, and Brian Quinn 

Why we love it:

This book outlines ten different types of innovation that will help bring your company viable growth. The authors emphasize that innovation is not just new products in new markets. There are nine other effective methods you can leverage!

Who it’s good for:

Strategy leaders and corporate innovators interested in learning the Ten Types methodology and eager to structure their innovation thinking and create more valuable ideas.

What you will learn:

You will learn how to identify innovation opportunities and patterns to assist in gauging how your company is doing in comparison to the competition. The authors share insights that will broaden your understanding of innovation types and how to combine them in order to level up.

Key takeaways: 

  • The ten innovation types are split between three categories: configuration, offering, and experience.

  • Profit Model – The plan to make profits.

  • Network – Connections and their value (resources, technology, etc)

  • Structure – Tangible and intangible aspects of the company.

  • Process – Unique or superior process in creating company’s product/service.

  • Product Performance – Value the company offers, highlight key features.

  • Product System – Complimentary products based off of the main/original product.

  • Service – Customer service: How can you make your products easier to use and give customers a pleasant experience?

  • Channel – How your product connects to your customers

  • Brand – How you present your product/company to customers

  • Customer Engagement – Initiating genuine interactions that allow customers to willingly connect with your company

  • Nike has successfully combined multiple innovation types to maintain their place on the sportswear ladder. They combined Product Performance, Channel, Brand, and Network by utilizing Niketown, celebrity endorsements, and partnership with Apple.

Available via Amazon 

19. The Four Lenses of Innovation: A Power Tool for Creative Thinking

By Rowan Gibson 

Why we love it:

Gibson explains that innovation is methodical and anyone who can learn it, can also achieve it! Innovation is not unattainable, contrary to what some might think, and this book is here to endorse that.

Who it’s good for:

Any entrepreneur or business leader who is craving to learn how to instill radical innovation into their companies.

What you will learn:

Gibson goes in-depth about the four lenses of innovation to help you target opportunities for game-changing innovation. You will be encouraged to expand your scope to double check current assets and to reject conventional methods.

Key takeaways:

  • First Lens – Challenging Orthodoxies: Question traditional methods and ways of thinking. Why have we always done it this way? Are there any better or more effective solutions worth trying? Are there technology advancements that have opened up other opportunities?

  • Second Lens – Harnessing Trends: Research and analyze which products are getting the most traction and popularity. Try to envision how certain trends will impact your current products/services or company as a whole.

  • Third Lens – Identify your competencies and skills and reexamine your resources. You may find you are not leveraging some assets or resources that you already have!

  • Fourth Lens – Understanding Needs: Instead of selling what you already have, identify customers’ frustrations and provide solutions and products catered to that.

Available on Amazon 

20. The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm

By Tom Kelley and and Jonathan Littman

Why we love it:

Kelly and Littman share strategies that IDEO, a topnotch global design company based in the Silicon Valley, has implemented in order to gain success. Kelley shares that IDEO is able to channel their company’s creativity as a whole by cultivating an environment that promotes free expression, risk taking, and thinking outside the box.

Who it’s good for:

Corporation innovators, design strategists, and startup founders who have the ambition to foster an atmosphere that promotes creativity and innovation.

What you will learn:

Along with hearing about the company’s successes and failures, you will also learn the IDEO problem solving method which includes multiple concepts such as cross-pollinating to find solutions from other industries and fostering a “Greenhouse” for innovation.

Key takeaways: 

  • 5 step process for human-centered design: Understand, observe, visualize, evaluate and refine, and implement.

  • In the observing stage, it’s important to study real people in real-life situations. Take note of their challenges – What confuses them the most? What do they hate? What do they need solutions for?

  • The visualize stage incorporates an intense brainstorming session and prototype creation. Visualizing can be created physically (storyboard, illustrations) or digitally (videos, simulations).

  • Eight characters to have on an innovative team: The Visionary, The Troubleshooter, The Iconoclast, The Pulse Taker, The Craftsman, The Technologist, The Entrepreneur, and The Cross-Dresser.

Available via Amazon

Entrepreneur Focused

 

21. Art of the Start 2.0: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything

By Guy Kawasaki

Why we love it:

The Art of the Start 2.0 will help you master  fundamental challenges such as building a strong team, creating a viable product or service, and dealing with competition.

Who it’s good for:

Aspiring entrepreneurs, small-business owners, or not-for-profit leaders, etc. Anyone wanting to start and maintain a successful business!

What you will learn:

Guy Kawasaki covers all the steps to a successful startup: how to come up with good ideas and get feedback, how to lead a team to a common vision, and how to grow through evangelizing, socializing, and partnering.

Key takeaways:

  • Find a crossroads where your expertise, passion, and opportunity meet.

  • Create a mantra for your product that includes brevity, positivity, and an outward focus. For example, “Empower craftspeople” (Etsy) or “Family fun entertainment” (Disney).

  • Once you have chosen your business model, weave in a MATT (Milestones, Assumptions, Tests, and Tasks).

    • Milestones: Working prototype, initial capital, cash-flow breakeven.

    • Assumptions: Market size, gross margin, cost of customer acquisition.

    • Tests: Does the product/service have real-world use? Will people actually use and buy your product?

    • Tasks: Recruiting employees, setting up payroll, dealing with legal documents.

Available via Amazon

22. Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth

By Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares

Why we love it:

This book gives the most specific tactics from the internet marketing universe that are actionable for you personally. The know-how in this book will help your business, well, gain some real traction.

Who it’s good for:

Entrepreneurs, CEOs, startup founders and anyone who is curious how to build momentum in their company.

What you will learn:

The takeaways from more than forty successful founders and the research behind the drive of many more. The authors discover how startups get traction through nineteen different channels and how you can use them yourself.

Key takeaways:

  • Startups get traction through nineteen different channels ranging from search engine marketing to unconventional PR.
  • It’s difficult to know from the start which channel will be best for your particular company so testing will be involved.
  • The Bullseye Framework will help you move through the 19 traction points to help identify your bright spot and capitalize on what investors are looking for.

Available via Amazon

23. The Lean Entrepreneur: How Visionaries Create Products, Innovate with New Ventures, and Disrupt Markets

By Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits

Why we love it:

The Lean Entrepreneur explains the concepts of customer insight, rapid experimentation, and data from the Lean Startup methodology. These concepts work together to promote problem solving and value creation.

Who it’s good for:

Entrepreneurs interested in learning how to disrupt current markets and create new markets.

What you will learn:

This book gives you hands-on tips and tricks from successful lean entrepreneurs. You will learn how to leverage the innovation spectrum to disrupt markets and create new markets. You will also be encouraged to use minimum viable products to drive strategy and conduct efficient market testing.

Key takeaways: 

  • Choose your core focus: segment (millennials), problem (finding affordable flights), product (app), technology (artificial intelligence), or cause (pollution).

  • Lean entrepreneurs should use 3 primary methods of testing: customer interaction, running experiments, and analyzing data.

  • Focus on actionable metrics (usage instead of page visits)

Available via Amazon

24. The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail

By Clayton Christensen

 

Why we love it: 

Christensen emphasizes the notion that even the largest and most successful companies will eventually be defeated if they aren’t able to abandon traditional business practices. As industries and technologies continue to shape shift, companies must learn to navigate through these advancements in order to stay afloat.

Who it’s good for:

Corporate innovators, strategists, and business leaders eager to learn all about disruptive technology.

What you will learn:

This book will teach you about disruptive innovation and how you can leverage it to ensure your company’s ranking on the industry leader boards. You will learn crucial information and concepts such as common barriers to innovation that top companies face as well as the 5 Laws of Disruptive Technology and the Buying Hierarchy.

Key takeaways:

  • Sustaining Technologies focus on growing existing technologies by enhancing their performance, mostly through extended functionality or increased capacity.

  • Disrupting Technologies change the landscape of an entire industry, or spark a new one altogether because they solve a problem in an entirely new way or for a new group of people.

  • Creating an entirely new market is less risky and can be more rewarding in the long run, compared to entering an already established market with strong industry leaders.

Available via Amazon

25. The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth

By Clayton Christensen and Michael Raynor

Why we love it:

Christensen joins Raynor as they create an extension to Christensen’s first book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma”. Expanding on the topic of disruptive innovation, the two authors motivate companies to become disruptors instead of getting beat out by them.

Who it’s good for:

Executives and senior management are realizing that learning about and adopting disruption is necessary for today’s business environment.

What you will learn:

The authors will guide you in creating your own disruptive growth plan, providing essential advice, strategies, and frameworks that will lead you to success. Some key topics include using discovery driven planning and the emergent process for strategy development.

Key takeaways:

  • Keeping your company’s core competencies in-house while outsourcing the rest is setting your business up for failure. By focusing on the “now”, you ignore what your customers’ future needs are while other up and coming companies now have the opportunity to target those needs and could potentially beat you out.

  • Deliberate processes for strategy formation are common, analytical, and based on data such as market segment, customers’ needs, etc. On the other hand, emergent processes take a more flexible approach on day-to-day decision-making, which can help companies adapt to unpredictable market conditions.

  • When growth for disruptive innovation is stagnant, companies become impatient. Innovators and strategists feel pressure to create quick and effective growth initiatives, which takes their time away from being able to strategize with disruption in mind.

Available via Amazon

 

26. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

By Tony Hsieh

Why we love it:  

Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos, shares the mistakes and successes in his journey to push business leaders to focus on corporate culture. Instead of sharing complicated tactics, he bases his strategy on simple tasks such as identifying your passion and making yourself and others around you happy.

Who it’s good for:

Executives, managers, and startup founders who are committed to shifting their company’s culture for the better, focusing on fostering a positive environment to clock into every day.

What you will learn:

You will learn how incorporating your own passion and cultivating an enjoyable workplace for yourself and your employees will lead to the success of your company as a whole. Hsieh shares advice from his past experiences to promote the importance of healthy and happy company culture.

Key takeaways:

  • Your company culture can predict your company’s success. A few aspects to emphasize for company culture are team connectivity and common passions and goals.

  • Choose one thing for your company to be the best at. Amazing customer service was Zappo’s thing!

  • Instead of worrying about creating “buzz” about your product, focus on providing customers with excellent customer service. Word of mouth and positive reviews will grow organically.

Available via Amazon 

Open Innovation

 

27. New Frontiers in Open Innovation

By Henry Chesbrough, Win Vanhaverbeke, and Joel West

Why we love it:  

Entrepreneurs and knowledge seekers may be having a difficult time extracting key information about open innovation because we are in the Age of Information and research findings are oversaturated. The authors have compiled thorough findings of the most relevant open innovation research topics for the next decade.

Who it’s good for:

Entrepreneurs interested in learning more about open innovation research.

What you will learn:

This book is structured into four segments. First, explain how open innovation research has shifted over the years. Second, going into depth about open innovation at different levels (funding, R&D). Next, diving into new application fields in small, medium, or multinational companies. And lastly, sharing about how to manage and organize open innovation as a whole.

Key takeaways:

  • Open innovation is using external knowledge and ideas to promote internal innovation while also expanding external markets for innovation opportunities.

  • Companies that have embraced open innovation have to edit their intellectual property management to take advantage of the benefits and manage the risks.

  • Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have typically been excluded from open innovation research. Two key categories for future research for SMEs is IT-enabled crowdsourcing and intellectual property management (resource).

Available via Amazon

Leadership and Personal Development

 

28. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard

By Chip Heath and Dan Heath 

Why we love it:

Chip and Dan Heath introduce an interesting psychological analogy when talking about instilling effective changes in life. Our minds have two different systems – the rational mind (“The Rider”) and the emotional mind (“The Elephant”). To be successful, they both need to be on the same page.

Who it’s good for:

Individuals who are striving to create a balance between their emotional and rational minds.

What you will learn:

This book provides strategies on how to unify the two minds together. A few strategies include directing “The Rider” to a clear path, motivating “The Elephant” not to quit, and shrinking change to make milestones seem more attainable.

Key takeaways: 

  • Instead of focusing on the problem, focus on the solution! Focus on the “bright spots” by asking yourself “What works for me in challenging situations and how can I continue to do that?”

  • “Shrinking change” means breaking up your path to change into small goals that are realistic and easily achievable. Crossing off small wins promotes an individual’s perceived skills.

  • Change isn’t an event, it’s a process. Consistent, small changes will transform into big long-lasting changes.

Available via Amazon

29. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade

By Robert B. Ciadini

Why we love it: 

Robert B. Cialdini emphasizes the importance of strategically setting the stage so that your audience will respond favorably to your message. He provides insight backed by studies about the biases that influence human behavior and how to leverage these biases to your advantage.

Who it’s good for:

Marketers, entrepreneurs, and business leaders who are looking to better communicate and influence across organizations.

What you will learn:

Pre-Suasion not only teaches entrepreneurs how to be better persuaders but communicators as a whole. This book will provide techniques to grab, hold, and direct your audience’s attention.

Key takeaways:

  • Pre-suasion is everything you do before you make a request.

  • Attention equals importance; when your audience pays more attention to what you’re saying, it will automatically seem more important to them. So you have to grab and hold their attention.

  • Hold the audience’s attention by making it about them – talk about common qualities/characteristics they can relate to. For example, “Are you a woman in your 40’s trying to avoid burnout?”

Available via Amazon

30. Inclusify: The Power of Uniqueness and Belonging to Build Innovative Teams

By Stefanie K. Johnson

Why we love it:  

In this easy-to-read book, Dr. Johnson shows you how to make every employee feel included in your organization.

Who it’s good for:

Managers and business leaders are committed to fostering a safe and inclusive work environment that welcomes individuals from all walks of life.

What you will learn:

This book touches on common issues leaders face when trying to promote diversity and inclusion. Johnson provides strategies to successfully foster inclusivity in order to create a more positive work environment and raise productivity and creativity levels.

Key takeaways:

  • Leaders need to find ways to make sure that uniqueness and belonging coexist by encouraging individuals to be themselves while also making them feel like they are fully part of the group.

  • Two mistakes leaders typically make are ignoring the benefits of listening to different perspectives and underestimating the importance of unity.

  • Humans have two basic needs: to stand out and to fit in. Finding a way to blend uniqueness, individuality, and a sense of belonging will produce a stronger and more innovative team.

Available via Amazon 

31.  Ultralearning

By Scott H. Young.


Why we love it: This practical, yet entertaining book is filled with tools for personal growth, development, and improvement in every area of your life.

Who it’s good for:

What you will learn: Ultralearning is a strategy for acquiring skills and knowledge quickly. Essentially this book will push you to your limits and compress your learning into the shortest possible time. The author shows you tools to transform how you think about learning and allow you to make faster progress toward your goals.

Key takeaways:

  • Start any ultralearning by learning the most efficient way to acquire the skill you’re pursuing- this is called metalearning. Set aside time. to undertake your project.

 

  • Learn by doing, break large systems or projects into smaller consumable parts and attack the parts you feel weakest at.

 

  • Try new tactics with the ways in which you learn. Don’t just stick to memorization tasks or old standbys. Teach yourself alternative methods and don’t be scared to try things others haven’t before.

Conclusion

We hoped that you enjoyed this comprehensive list of the best books on innovation!

About Runway Innovation Hub

Runway is a Silicon Valley-based innovation company accelerating the success of global innovators and entrepreneurs. We help corporations through results-focused innovation consulting and power the growth of startups through acceleration programs, mentorship and coworking services. Since 2013, we have has accelerated the innovation efforts of 40+ global companies like Fujitsu, Lenovo and IBM through customized innovation strategy services. Learn more about how we can help you do the same here.