Innovation books – what do we NEED?

The process of listing my 16 favorite innovation books got me to thinking about what is missing – What is the “Blue Ocean” space in popular innovation reading?

I think I found two clear blue patches – Do you spot others?? Or do you think I missed a great book in those patches?


In the fall I listed my 16 favorite books on innovation. In alphabetical order by author they were:

  • Tim Brown                     Change by Design
  • David Burkus                 Myths of Creativity
  • Henry Chesbrough      Open Innovation
  • Clayton Christensen   The Innovators Dilemma
  • Peter Drucker                 Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Abbie Griffin                  Serial Innovators
  • Walter Isaacson             The Innovators
  • Ken Kahn                          PDMA Handbook of New Product Development III
  • Tom Kelley                      Creative Confidence
  • Mauborgne & Kim         Blue Ocean Strategy
  • Geoffrey Moore              Crossing the Chasm
  • Gina C. O’Connor          Grabbing Lightning
  • Eric Ries                            Lean Innovation
  • Gerald Tellis                     Will and Vision
  • Stefan Thomke               Experimentation
  • Eric von Hippel               Democratizing Innovation

To read more about this list see the previous two posts in this blog – Part I or Part II or the summary on LinkedIn.

What is missing?

I would classify the topics of the 16 books above into four categories:

  1. Innovation processes (design thinking, lean, experiment, lead users, disruption, etc.)
  2. Strategy for innovation in an organization (blue ocean, open, etc.)
  3. Fostering individual creativity and innovation
  4. Fostering innovation in an organization.

So what is missing that we would expect in such a list?

Ten or 15 years ago we would have expected something on the Internet but the Internet is ubiquitous by now. One could claim that social media is everywhere today, but I was still surprised that I hadn’t found a great book on:

  • Social Innovation – Either using social in the innovation process OR innovating in the social media space itself.

The other clear gap or blue patch that I see is in service. (Of course I started a blog on service co-creation 5 years ago…) The majority of the world’s GDP is services, over 80% in most of Europe and 90% in the U.S. Services are different. Yet no book in my list is focused specifically on innovation of service. Service has a major influence of course – the iteration and experimentation that underlies most of the new approaches has been facilitated by the ease of making changes in services. Yet there again seems to be a vivid large blue space:

  • Service Innovation – Either innovation of service offerings or services provided with goods.*

I ask the reader if (1) you see another blue patch I missed and/or (2) if I should review a book that fits in one of those spaces.


*Note: I am a co-author (with three impressive scholars) of a book on service innovation that should be released this spring. Trust me – you will hear more about that book as the launch date approaches.


Other innovation books

A reader suggested Econovation by Faktor should be considered for the list. Other lists of innovation books include:

Again, after reading through these other lists, this reader still spots the key blue spaces:

  1. Social Innovation, and
  2. Service Innovation.

What is missing?

This entry was posted in Co-creation or User collaboration, effectuation, entrepreneurship, experiential innovation, Experiment, NSD Process, Service Design, service-dominant logic of marketing, Social Media Marketing, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Innovation books – what do we NEED?

  1. Wim Rampen says:

    My #1 book on service innovation is from Lance Bettencourt, titled: Service Innovation, How to grow from Customer Needs to Breakthrough Services. It was a 2012 finalist in the AMA-Berry Book Prize for the best book in marketing. You can find it here

  2. kikischirr says:

    One of my Blab friends, Mark, read this article and pointed out that his book on innovation didn’t make the cut, lol. So I’m posting it here:

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