There are so many good management books published every year, it’s hard to keep track. As an entrepreneur or someone in a position of leadership, you probably face this problem: you don’t have time to read them all.
Here is the list of my favorite innovation books, the one I keep returning to for knowledge and inspiration, in no particular order. They inspire me, and I assimilate the tools into my business practice for most.
Moreover, I love how some authors rely on words to convey their storytelling, while others rely more on visual thinking. Keeps both brains occupied.
What are your favorite innovation books that are missing from this list?
> The four steps to the Epiphany – Steve Blank
Steve Blank is one of the fathers of lean startup philosophy. He is an expert in customer development and how to listen to your (future) customers to develop successful value propositions. His book is an essential reading if you want to start a new venture, startup or corporate. “The book offers the practical and proven four-step Customer Development process for search and offers insight into what makes some startups successful and leaves others selling off their furniture.”
> The Lean startup and The Startup way – Eric Ries
Anyone who wants to know how to nail an innovation project should read this book. It is the cornerstone of the lean startup movement. It sets the bases of the innovation methodology that started as a startup tool, evolved for corporations and event government organizations (in The Startup Way). I read it when I was struggling with my first company, and it helped me build the second much more efficiently! Bonus: Eric Ries is a skilled storyteller, nothing boring in his books!
> Business Model generation, Value Proposition design, The invincible company – Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur
Creatively designed, these books are full of tools that you can use for managing your innovation projects, portfolios, or your company. The authors, although of scholar background, invented the business model canvas, and kept innovating since then. To me, this is enough to rank them at the very top of my best-books-ever pyramid. Unmissable.
> Running lean – Ash Maurya
Running Lean, written after The lean startup, provides tools like the lean canvas that I use chronologically before others (like the Business Model Canvas) because I find them more suited to the exploration phase of the innovation project. Very hands-on, very clear, very useful.
> Start with why – Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek puts the why, the core motivation, the initial entrepreneur’s vision, at the center of the venture’s creation. Read his books first, since it sets the foundations on which the innovator will build his/her project.
> The innovator’s dilemma, The innovator’s solution – Clayton Christensen
How can major corporations let themselves get disrupted by low-end, low-cost technologies that will generate a wave of innovation and market demand so massive so fast that they don’t have time to react? At the heart of this thesis, lies the paradox that managers who excel at running the daily business and reduce risk and uncertainty for their company are the same who can’t adapt to and fail to identify growth and innovation opportunities, especially at the lower end, on the market that they know so well.
> Innovation accounting – Dan Toma, Esther Emmely Gons
Released recently, this book fills a gap in the innovation value chain. It shows how leadership can assess, measure and reward innovation projects and teams in a company, when traditional finance criteria are not adapted to track the ability to take risk and learn continuously. The missing piece.
> Sprint – Jake Knapp
The Design Thinking sprints explain in very practical details the 5-day process that was implemented at Google Venture and used for hundred of design situations.
> Disciplined entrepreneurship – Bill Aulet
A blueprint for innovation projects that covers all the main topics, decisions, that entrepreneurs need to cover during the project lifetime: using rigorous methods and tools, while keeping an open, collaborative, and somewhat irreverent mindset.
Looking to run innovation projects but no time to read all the books? Contact me for a talk or a masterclass, I love sharing these fascinating topics!