Saturday, August 17, 2019


Great innovations often come from small groups of people tinkering away at great personal risk. Once such great innovations are harnessed, however, the ability to continue to generate innovations seems to wither. In Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries, biotech executive Safi Bahcall discusses how organizations can maintain both the ability to strengthen it's existing businesses, while still driving innovations that will become its existing business in the future.

The analogies Bahcall uses to help us understand his points were interesting. The concept of a phase-shift (e.g. when water goes from a liquid to a solid) is used to describe companies as they transition from startup mode to franchise mode. Dynamic equilibrium describes a state where both phases can exist at the same time, and is needed if an organization is to be successful in both modes.

The history lessons in this book were awesome. Every point is backed up by some historical anecdote. Whether a bunch of anecdotes add up to data is debatable, but the attached history lesson makes it so that the time spent is worthwhile, even if you disagree with the conclusion.

If you manage in an organization that needs both innovation and sustaining efforts, I highly recommend the book.

1 comment:

Veeral Shah said...

Hi Saj,

I think you will like the podcast of the book's author, if you like the booked, at Tim Ferris podcast (#364),