The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge

Christopher Trimble, Tuck School of Business

Friday, November 19, 2010, 3:30pm

This seminar is part of the Jones Seminars on Science, Technology, and Society series

Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration. Thomas Edison said it over a century ago. No one listened. When companies launch innovation initiatives, they typically allot almost all of their time and energy on that initial one percent — the thrilling hunt for the breakthrough idea. But the much ballyhooed burst of inspiration ... is merely a starting point. The real innovation challenge lies beyond the idea. It lies in a long, hard journey — from imagination to impact. Regardless of the type of innovation, the crux of the challenge is always the same. Business organizations are not designed for innovation, they are designed for ongoing operations. And there are deep and fundamental conflicts between the two. This presentation will show how to avoid the most common poisonous myths about innovation, how to build the right team for any initiative, and how ensure you learn quickly from experience as the initiative moves on.

About the Speaker

Chris Trimble ( has dedicated the past ten years to studying a single challenge that vexes even the best-managed corporations: how to execute an innovation initiative. His book, The Other Side of Innovation: Solving the Execution Challenge, reviewed by The Economist, was released in September 2010. Chris also recently published "How GE is Disrupting Itself" in the October 2009 Harvard Business Review, with Jeff Immelt and Vijay Govindarajan. Chris is on the faculty at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.