The Wide Lens: A New Strategy for Innovation by Ron Adner
Ron Ander invites readers to take a larger view of technology to achieve success. Innovative companies tend to focus on their new technology in isolation and often ignore the larger technology ecosystem required for successful adoption. Ander provides examples such as Philips' high-definition television in the mid-eighties that was a breakthrough in technology, but depended on other innovations such as high definition cameras and transmission standards. He points to Sony suffering a similar blind spot with its e-reader where customers did not have easy access to e-books. Both failures resulted in huge write-downs that left them with little to show for their innovation. Years later, these innovations became successful with the supporting technology and infrastructure in place.
Adner encourages companies to avoid focusing on just executing their innovation, but rather to take a wider view of technology innovation that includes looking at co-innovation and adoption chains required for new technologies to succeed. Adner offers a three phase strategy that includes 1) seeing the ecosystem; 2) choosing your position; and 3) winning the game. Through each phase, Adner offers tools to execute the strategy and examples of the tools in use to increase understanding. Adner's book is written in a language that non-technology experts can understand and provides valuable insight to how companies should approach innovation going forward.