Making it happen
As we emerge from recession, many people have good ideas but few actually carry them out. And fewer still carry them out excellently. The business leader who executes good ideas most successfully, wins. Such is the message of two new books stressing the importance of turning good ideas into reality.

The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge1
is a serious insight into how to execute an innovation, whether a simple project or a ‘grand, gutsy gamble’. The authors are quick to admit that while ‘ideating’ is energising and glamorous, execution can seem like humdrum, behind the scenes, dirty work. With an impressive depth of research, they draw on examples from innovators as diverse as BMW and Timberland to explain how to:

Build the right team:
Who will be on the team? Where will they come from? How will they be organised? How will they navigate the delicate and conflict-rich partnership between innovation and existing operations?

Manage a disciplined experiment:
How can team members quickly test their assumptions? Translate results into new knowledge? Measure progress? How do you give innovation leaders a tough but fair performance evaluation?

The Other Side of Innovation is a practical and provocative read, which will appeal to professionals in all sizes of companies and sectors. It takes you step-by-step through the process to ensure that your Big Idea goes somewhere rather than nowhere.

This key message is echoed albeit in a different format in 100 Great Leadership Ideas2, by Jonathan Gifford. He describes 100 ideas from around the world and how to apply them in your company with a simple formula.

Michael Eisner, former CEO of Walt Disney explains that he would regularly get letters from people claiming that a certain show or movie was their idea, or something they were thinking about doing. But why didn’t they do it? It’s a big step putting an idea from head to paper, assembling a team, and putting on a show. In evidence, he reminds readers how hard it is to put on a show at high school.

head_a10_2Likewise for Louis Gerstner, former CEO of IBM, making it happen is possibly more important than developing a brilliant new strategy. He maintains that execution is the most unappreciated skill of an effective business leader and the critical part of a successful strategy.

1. The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge by Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble, published by Harvard Business School Press, August 2010
2. 100 Great Leadership Ideas by Jonathan Gifford, published by Marshall Cavendish International, June 2010

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