The Outline of This Book

The Outline of This Book

The Innovators Dilemma summarized a theory that explains how, under certain circumstances, the mechanism of profit-maximizing resource allocation causes well-run companies to get killed. The Innovators Solution, in contrast, summarizes a set of theories that can guide managers who need to grow new businesses with predictable successto become the disruptors rather than the disrupteesand ultimately kill the well-run, established competitors. To succeed predictably, disruptors must be good theorists. As they shape their growth business to be disruptive, they must align every critical process and decision to fit the disruptive circumstance.

Because building successful growth businesses is such a vast topic, this book focuses on nine of the most important decisions that all managers must make in creating growthdecisions that represent key actions that drive success inside the black box of innovation. Each chapter offers a specific theory that managers can use to make one of these decisions in a way that greatly improves their probability of success. Some of this theory has emerged from our own studies, but we are indebted to many other scholars for much of what follows. Those whose work we draw upon have contributed to improving the predictability of business building because their assertions of causality have been built upon circumstance-based categories. It is because of their careful work that we believe that managers can begin using these theories explicitly as they make these decisions, trusting that their predictions will be applicable and reliable, given the circumstances that they are in.

The following list summarizes the questions we address.

  • Chapter 2: How can we beat our most powerful competitors? What strategies will result in the competitors killing us, and what courses of action could actually give us the upper hand?

  • Chapter 3: What products should we develop? Which improvements over previous products will customers enthusiastically reward with premium prices, and which will they greet with indifference?

  • Chapter 4: Which initial customers will constitute the most viable foundation upon which to build a successful business?

  • Chapter 5: Which activities required to design, produce, sell, and distribute our product should our company do internally, and which should we rely upon our partners and suppliers to provide?

  • Chapter 6: How can we be sure that we maintain strong competitive advantages that yield attractive profits? How can we tell when commoditization is going to occur, and what can we do to keep earning attractive returns?

  • Chapter 7: What is the best organizational structure for this venture? What organizational unit(s) and which managers should contribute to and be responsible for its success?

  • Chapter 8: How do we get the details of a winning strategy right? When is flexibility important, and when will flexibility cause us to fail?

  • Chapter 9: Whose investment capital will help us succeed, and whose capital might be the kiss of death? What sources of money will help us most at different stages of our development?

  • Chapter 10: What role should the CEO play in sustaining the growth of the business? When should CEOs keep their hands off the new business, and when should they become involved?

The issues that we tackle in these chapters are critical, but they cannot constitute an exhaustive list of the questions that should be relevant to launching a new-growth business. We can simply hope that we have addressed the most important ones, so that although we cannot make the creation of new-growth businesses perfectly risk free, we can help managers take major steps in that direction.