The Innovator’s Manifesto: A book review by Bob Morris

The Innovator’s Manifesto: Deliberate Disruption for Transformational Growth
Michael E. Raynor
Crown Business (2011)

How and why disruption “provides an explanation of creative creation”

Frankly, I was unable to fully understand (much less appreciate) the significance of what Joseph A. Schumpeter shares in his masterwork, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, when I first read it in 1975. Only much later, after several re-readings, have I begun to “get it” in terms of what “creative destruction” is and isn’t. I mention all this by way of introducing my gratitude to Michael E. Raynor for what I have learned from him in The Innovator’s Manifesto as well as from books written or co-authored by Clayton Christensen, who wrote the Foreword to this book. For me, one of the most valuable “lessons” is that “creative destruction” is the means and “creative creation” is the ultimate objective. Whereas Charles Darwin explains evolution as a process of natural adaptation and elimination, what Raynor examines in this book are deliberate efforts to survive and then thrive. He asserts, and I agree, that “deliberate disruption” is the key to “transformational growth” by both individuals and organizations.

As he explains, “The first objective of this book is to demonstrate that Disruption has true predictive power…Second, I will make the case for Disruption’s unique and superior explanatory power…Finally, I will offer some thoughts on how one can go about applying these concepts to greatest effect at the least expense.” Raynor carefully organizes and then presents his material as follows:

In Part I: Prediction (Chapters 1-2), Raynor describes the design and results of carefully controlled experiments testing “the predictive power of Disruption’s central claims” while explaining why, for a theory that seeks our allegiance, “there must be evidence that it improves our ability to predict future outcomes.”

In Part II: Explanation (In Chapters 3-5), he makes the case for “generalizing beyond the experimental sample and suggests that Disruption can be used to do more than merely ‘pick a winner,’” although that is obviously a substantial benefit.

And in Part III: Application (Chapters 6-8), he discusses how and why non-Disruptive innovations can succeed and some revolutionize an industry; then in the final chapter, takes a process perspective on the application of Disruption. By now, Raynor has made a compelling case for the unique power of deliberate Disruption, explaining how it fully utilizes creative destruction to achieve creative creation,   “the how, if, when, and how long of the kinds of innovations that have repeatedly remade the economic landscape in the service of the general weal.”



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