What They Are Saying
“Dedicated to the leaders who toil to innovate,
often without thanks or recognition.”
Managing the development of new products is one of the most complex challenges facing organizations… Markham and Mugge address this challenge by providing a detailed and disciplined path to sustainable success in creating new goods and services. Their book contains a series of focused templates and specific suggestions that lead directly to improved, sustainable practices that will improve any organization’s effectiveness in extending and revitalizing their product portfolios.
Thomas P. Hustad
Professor Emeritus of Marketing, Kelly School of Business, Indiana University, and former President and longtime Board Member of the Product Development & Management Association
Like the solution found in any good murder mystery, Markham and Mugge apply the precision of a forensic scientist in Traversing the Valley of Death to solve the Corporate Jungle mystery that traps Breakthrough Innovation in the Valley. I am a Valley Girl. I’ve been in the Valley of Death so many times in my corporate career that I am surprised I haven’t come back yet as a cat! But still I return – because coming out of the Valley to the other side is the prize worth winning.
Martha J. Collins
R&D Director, Air Products and Chemical
For someone who was in a leadership position facing disruptive change in biopharma business, I found myself in the position of being on both the “fuzzy” front end and accountable for the innovation implementation. The CIMS System for Industrial Innovation provided the framework for my leadership team to engage in hands – on work sessions generating outputs that created key work process milestones that became innovation building blocks. Yes, there were times during the journey where we felt stuck and confused, but the system provided us with the compelling rationale and a structured process to work through the obstacles and enabled us to regain focus and achieve our step function objective. These skill sets are now institutionalized with the organization and have created confidence with my leadership team as we continue to navigate through the transformational change taking place in the health care industry.
President, Oncology Demand Chain Unit and General Manager, Eisai Pharmaceuticals
For Millennia, the standard response when approaching the Valley of Death has been prayer. Steve Markham and Paul Mugge aren’t saying that’s a bad idea, but they add greatly to the understanding of the situation, and go beyond academic knowledge to provide templates for building bridges and negotiating pitfalls. Steve began his academic pursuit of this understanding (with Center for Innovation Management Studies funding) 30 years ago while a graduate student at Purdue University studying the decisions and tactics used by “champions” to support technological innovation in industry. His career as an innovation researcher and practitioner/consultant is ongoing, and his knowledge of the Valley is deep and well-documented in this book. Paul’s experiences at IBM as an internal “turn-around” warrior during the early 1990s honed his suspicion of easy fixes to the problems encountered in traversing the Valley. Paul continues to test his ability to find reliable paths through the Valley by working closely with CIMS’ sponsoring firms as a coach and mentor to leaders of innovation. This is a book to keep close at hand.
Founder and Executive Director Emeritus, Center for Innovation Management Studies (CIMS)
Understanding the Valley of Death is an essential component to transforming innovation from a corporate aspiration to a practical driver of change. It underscores the fact – often unrecognized – that innovation, in particular the kind that is truly transformative, must be intentional so that good ideas become an impacting force that achieve business objectives in a consistent manner. This book provides essential insight for those business leaders that want to change innovation from a chance event to predictable driver of corporate success and renewal. The handbook-feel is a refreshing approach to a topic that is frequently handled in an overly esoteric framework. This book will provide both established and aspiring innovators with an engaging approach to up their concept – to – fruition game.
SVP, Global Quality, Biogen Idec
When we started down the path of building a disruptive innovation capability, our initial benchmarking efforts revealed that a systematic approach to “Big” innovation was not at all commonplace. Through our engagement with NC State University’s Center for Innovation Management Studies, we became aware of the System for Industrial Innovation and have begun embedding it in the fabric of our organization. The System represents a simple and comprehensive way of establishing operational rigor for an activity frequently seen as intangible and serendipitous. It has become key in our drive to establish a robust culture of innovation at Kelly.
Chief Innovation Officer, Kelly Services
I have had the benefit of living through multiple instances of the old saw, “most innovations fail, companies that don’t innovate die.” The Valley of Death is littered with the bones of innumerable companies from young start ups to venerable icons of American industry that missed this crucial point. A couple of decades ago, IBM came close to suffering that fate, and Paul Mugge was crucial in helping turn that company around based on market driven innovation. At Bell and Howell we are institutionalizing the innovation management culture espoused by Steve and Paul to drive our future.
CEO, Bell and Howard
Almost three decades ago, the National Science Foundation Industry/ University Cooperative Research Centers Program (I/UCRC) launched its first non-engineering I/UCRC, the Center for Innovation Management Studies (CIMS). Through the able leadership of Dr. Al Bean it become an unqualified success by showing how to bridge academic innovation studies with industry commercial practice. With the publication of Traversing the Valley of Death, Markham and Mugge have continued CIMS’s pioneering tradition by utilizing its large data base to produce a book, complete with useful worksheets, that clearly and concretely explains how cutting-edge research can be translated into commercialized products, processes or services. I believe this is a guide that university researchers, entrepreneurs and innovation executives will find very informative.
Contractor, National Science Foundation
The pace of innovation has been accelerating over the last decade, especially in the consumer electronics industry. Thus, the need for accelerating the pace of identifying and generating the front-end of innovation has dramatically increased. Furthermore, in the current highly competitive industrial environment, the execution and commercialization of innovative ideas to drive growth with a high probability of success with the ever-increasing degree of technological complexity is the key to success for all successful companies. The ecosystem and the systematic approach that is prescribed in “Traversing the Valley of Death” to execute industrial innovation enable the KEY to successful monetization of innovation.
Technology Director, Eastman Chemical Co.
What an outstanding approach to managing innovation! This book is a must-read for senior level organizational leaders if only to survive this highly competitive global economy. The authors present a step by step guide to implement breakthrough innovation, covering the entire innovation life cycle: starting with innovation strategy planning and development – converting ideas into opportunities and creating the compelling business case, and completing the life cycle with adoption and implementation of the innovation product(s).
The use of Big Data for Discovery activities in the front-end of innovation and the tool kit provided offer valuable project and program management processes, tools and techniques to successfully traverse the Valley of Death, Hence fully implement breakthrough innovation. I highly endorse the breakthrough innovation approach presented in this book and encourage readers who haven’t tried CIMS System for Industrial Innovation in their shops, to get it and start utilizing the System. We need to create the innovator mindset in our shops; and the authors’ breakthrough innovation approach is the best tool to get us past the Valley of Death, and into implementation of innovative products.
PMP; Proprietor, Project Management Leaders Training and Project Management Institute Registered Education Provider
The innovation literature is replete with academic books written for other academics and seat of the pants practice books written by and for other innovation and commercialization practitioners. In Traversing the Valley of Death Markham and Mugge have succeeded in bridging these two traditions by delivering a volume on innovation and commercialization that is informed by a scholarly understanding of the literature but delivers implementable guidance based on several decades of hands- on experience and close university and industry collaboration. While the authors know traversing the Valley of Death is neither simple nor easy (the authors highlight six key systems practitioners must navigate), they share the lessons they have learned in an easy to understand an engaging style that makes it accessible to both the novice and the expert alike. Individuals interested in successfully crossing the Valley of Death or guiding others will find an invaluable guide for making this journey. At the same time, innovation and entrepreneurship scholars interested in gaining a better understanding of how technology commercialization actually happens in the trenches will find this volume a nice addition to their library.
Denis O. Gray
Ph.D, Alumni Distinguished Graduate Professor, Psychology in the Public Interest Program, Psychology Department, NC State University.
As an innovation leader, I know the odds for mature companies to realize the benefits of breakthrough innovations are high; 1 in 10 would be outstanding! The wisdom and methodology in this book is a veritable survival guide to “traverse this Valley of Death” and come out the other side! Markham and Mugge are to innovation what Lewis and Clark were to North America – teaching us how to identify and use the local flora and fauna (Chapter 1-3), to translate the native’s language (Chapter 4-5), and to draw the maps to guide us safely across the new territory (Chapter 6-7). Using the proven and systematic processes presented in this book, established companies can successfully and repeatedly generate top-line growth from disruptive innovation in products and services.
Martha J. Collins
R&D Director, Air Products and Chemicals
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