12/07/2024

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3 Top Books for Innovation and New Product Development in a Manufacturing Environment

3 Top Books for Innovation and New Product Development in a Manufacturing Environment

I’m not one for spending all my time with my head in books, but there are times when they can be a real source of inspiration. I want to share with you some of my favourite books which have given me a thrill to read and boosted my inspiration when I arrive at work each day. They are not directly aimed at innovation, but that does not reduce their relevance to improving the way that we look at our new product development processes.

The first one is The Goal by Eli Goldrat and Jeff Cox (Gower Publishing 2004). It is not your normal type of engineering, manufacturing or business read. The lessons presented in this book are in the form of a novel – itself an innovation for a business manufacturing read. It is a story of how Alex Rogo turns a plant around despite the odds by the use of the Theory of Constraints (TOC) developed by Eli Goldrat. This could have been written in a dry and predictable way much like many other business books, but instead it captivated me from start to finish.

The second book is The Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker (McGraw-Hill 2004). This is more of a traditional read, and takes you through 14 management principles developed by Toyota over the last 80 years to such great effect making Toyota the success that it is today. These principles are more commonly understood as lean manufacturing, but Liker has made an effort to apply them to innovation and the new product development process too.

My third book is The Decision Book – Fifty models for strategic thinking by Mikael Krogerus and Roman Tschappeler (Profile Books). This is a very different type of book and certainly not one to read from start to finish. Much better as a book to dip into and be inspired by the models, tools and simulations that you could use to better understand or analyse complex (or not so complex) situations. They range from the much used and familiar Boston matrix (cash cow, star etc) and SWOT analysis through to the less well known Monte Carlo Simulation and The Black Swan Model. Many of these models can be used to better understand the nature of innovation and the way that our processes can be improved to obtain greater results from our product development efforts.

The 3 books here have been really worth while purchases for me and I would highly recommend that you also take a look into them.

Even better, drop me a note to tell me about your favourite business innovation books and what makes them so special to you.

Enjoy the opportunity.