Cover of Beyond the Champion by Gina Colarelli O
Beyond the Champion
Institutionalizing Innovation Through People
Gina Colarelli O'Connor, Andrew C. Corbett, and Lois S. Peters


320 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804798273
Ebook ISBN: 9781503604506

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Large, mature companies often struggle when it comes to the uncertain process of breakthrough innovation. But innovation is an imperative in today's cutthroat business environment. To fulfill its potential, there has to be a better way—and there is.

Beyond the Champion argues that innovation is a talent all its own that requires distinct skills and expertise, just like finance or marketing. Viewing innovation as a discipline in its own right, it is easy to see that breakthrough wins require an organizational design with clearly delineated roles, responsibilities, and career tracks for those who shoulder the responsibility for new products. Drawing on the results of a four-year study and two decades of related research, this book outlines three fundamental competencies necessary for innovation: discovery, incubation, and acceleration. Mapping these skills onto roles and opportunities for advancement, the authors deliver a pioneering blueprint for sustainable innovation.

About the authors

Gina Colarelli O'Connor is Professor of Innovation Management at Babson College. She is the lead author of Grabbing Lightning: Building a Capability for Breakthrough Innovation (2008) and co-author of Radical Innovation: How Mature Firms can Outsmart Upstarts (2000).

Andrew C. Corbett is the Paul T. Babson Chair of Entrepreneurial Studies and Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College. An award winning teacher, he was also recently recognized as one of the Top 25 Entrepreneurship Researchers in the World. Professor Corbett's research focuses on corporate entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial cognition, and entrepreneurship education. He consults on innovation and entrepreneurship to organizations across the globe.

Lois S. Peters was Associate Professor at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lally School of Management and Director of the MS-Technology, Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship program. She was the co-author of Grabbing Lightning: Building Capability for Breakthrough Innovation (2008).

"This book is the capstone of 20+ years of longitudinal research that has revealed the issues with corporate innovation on numerous levels. This book pinpoints the underlying issues on a macro level but then brings them to life with specific stories of the people in these roles, concluding with practical models to guide future practitioners. It's spot on."

—Rich Duncombe, University of Oregon

"In their novel and useful approach to innovation, the authors deliver a strong practical message, continued outlines, and tables that provide tremendous guidance for the practitioner. This book supplies a blueprint for how to institutionalize the innovation function and create an organization that enhances the talents of its people in a strategic manner."

—Donald F. Kuratko, The Gill Distinguished Chair of Entrepreneurship, Indiana University

"If you're driving organic growth beyond your core business, this is a powerful framework to help you organize for success. Thoughtful and inclusive, Beyond the Champion makes a compelling case to invest in the growth and development of your people—to guide them in becoming true experts in innovation and new business creation."

—John Hillenbrand, VP Research & Development, Armstrong Flooring

"This book is a masterwork on system-level innovation. Comprehensively researched and replete with superb analysis, it reflects the real world of business and what it takes to continually succeed in the marketplace. Beyond the Champion is destined to be the definitive work on how to foster continued business growth."

—William E. Schneider, President, Corporate Development Group, Inc. and author, Lead Right for Your Company's Type

"The author's detailed descriptions of innovation roles have given me a lot of inspiration. Aligning corporate breakthroughs with fast-changing markets is an art. This book has great ideas for how to master that challenge."

—Patricie Merkert, Vice President, Innovation & Corporate Strategy and Product Champion New Business, MANN+HUMMEL GmbH

"Corbett (Rensselaer), O'Connor (Babson College), and Peters (Rensselaer) provide valuable insights on how managers can develop and manage innovation-related talent within their firms, talent that can serve as its lifeblood in the future.Summing Up: Recommended."

—J.P. Miller, CHOICE