Book Review: The Invincible Company

The Invincible Company

The Invincible company was a first book that I could not open with my Kindle Paperwhite. The reason is that it is written as a visual story with a lot of graphical elements, diagrams and tables. It is a new format for me, but I have enjoyed it.

Strategyzer is a company that develops Innovation Software Management products, runs trainings and writes books about strategy, innovation and business models. I came across their most well-known book The Invincible Company because I like core idea they convey:

“Innovation is not a magic that happens by itself. It is a craft that can be analyzed and taught”

The other question how you do this and what patterns you should adopt and avoid.

What is in the book?

The Invincible Company book consists of four major pieces:

  • Business Model Portfolio. A great tool that guides a reader how to analyze existing products portfolio and what actions to take for both Explore (aka Innovation) and Exploit (aka mature products) parts of the portfolio. This is an interesting exercise that I tried to apply for AWS Support products – the line of business I am currently managing myself.
  • Portfolio Management – how to manage Explore and Exploit portfolios. This part was very interesting for me because it provides a workflow to design, test, scale and retire business ideas and models. Here you will find also has number of case studies where companies were able to successfully manage innovation process or transform themselves to avoid disruption. For example, Fujifilm had the same business model as Kodak but it survived photo industry digitalization and re-invented itself. Why and how? The book explains it.
  • Invent Pattern Library. Collection of patterns from successful companies. How they explored new markets, how they created new value propositions, how they found new revenue streams or changed cost structure. Every pattern has associated case study, assessment and trigger questions for leaders. These questions help to build a scorecard for existing portfolio and be a conversation starter to initiate a change.
  • Improve Pattern Library. Also a collection of patterns but related to business model shifts – “From Product to Recurring Service”, “From Low Touch to High Touch” and etc. What different companies did to improve their business models and how did they do it. The most interesting case study for me was TED – TED transformed from an invite-only, niche conference to a mass, online destination for the intellectually curious. Again, for every pattern there is a conversation starter – “strategic reflection”.

A combination of appealing graphical design, a lot of case studies and trigger questions make this book an excellent source of insights. I highly recommend it for everybody who is doing portfolio management or involved in any innovation processes creation or management.

5 out of 5.

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