The best corporate innovation books to support your strategy

From tips on kick-starting your innovation journey to methodologies for scaling your business, there’s plenty to learn from the experts.

Books are more than just words on pages. They are catalysts for change, igniting new ideas, expanding our horizons and fuelling our corporate innovation efforts. 

As an avid reader, I've curated a list of the absolute best books on corporate innovation. 

From shifting your mindset to building your own repeatable, scalable and systematic innovation engine, these seven hand-picked books are your roadmap to corporate innovation success. 

Let’s get reading.

Books on innovation strategy

  1. The Lean Startup - Eric Reis

While this book is about scaling a startup, don’t be fooled into thinking its learnings can’t be applied in an established corporate environment.

Reis’ The Lean Startup is a great first read because it deep dives into many critical factors in corporate innovation, including the importance of continuous experimentation and validation of ideas. These factors are also critical to running a lean startup, which favours experimentation and feedback over in-depth planning.

This book is full to the brim with practical innovation tools and techniques you can use to create sustainable growth by following the lean startup methodology.

  1. The Corporate Startup - Tendayi Viki

Viki’s The Corporate Startup builds on these principles, creating a detailed guide on how to build a culture of innovation within established corporations. This book delivers plenty of actionable advice on:

  • Identifying growth opportunities
  • Experimenting with new business models
  • Developing the necessary capabilities to excel in a turbulent market
  • Collaborating with startups to drive innovation
  1. The Invincible Company - Alexander Osterwalder

Once you’ve read and absorbed the learnings from the first two entries on this list, I recommend reading The Invincible Company by Alexander Osterwalder.

Getting started with innovation is one thing; scaling a resilient business is a whole new challenge. This book explores examples from successful companies and lays out a useful framework for creating business models that prioritise innovation. 

Books on innovation methodology

  1. Value Proposition Design - Alexander Osterwalder

Once you’ve devised your innovation strategy, it’s time to outline your innovation framework and methodology. Value Proposition Design zeroes in on the starting point for any new venture, from products to service ideas: designing a value proposition that resonates with customers’ pains and gains. This book provides a practical guide for doing just that.

  1. Business Model Generation - Alexander Osterwalder 

After you’ve solidified your value proposition, you need to monetise it. In my eyes, Osterwalder’s Business Model Generation is the third book in a series — although they weren’t released in that order!

In this book, Osterwalder looks at innovative business model archetypes that encourage creativity and experimentation. You’ll find out how to build a business model that creates and captures value for your proposition and how to test and refine your model over time.

  1. Testing Business Ideas - David Bland 

The subject of this book — testing business ideas — is fundamental to everything we do at Future Foundry. Bland’s book sets out how to validate your ideas by uncovering your risky assumptions, experimenting in a way that works for your business, and proving or disproving your hypotheses.

Best innovation management books

  1. The Unicorn Within - Linda K Yates

Yates’ The Unicorn Within is the newest addition to my bookshelf on this list. It’s a worthwhile read because it brilliantly echoes the methodology we use at Future Foundry to help businesses identify, validate and scale new ventures, products and services. Plus, Yates does a great job of explaining how these processes come together to create a corporate innovation engine.

Read on for extra credit

So, what’s next? Reading is the best way to build your knowledge, but knowing where to begin can be challenging. We've got a tonne of useful resources which you can access via our private network of change makers, The Fold.

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