Inside Real InnovationIf you are gearing up for the new MITx MOOC 3.086x Innovation and Commercialization, or if you are just interested in a more textured understanding of the innovation process, we suggest Inside Real Innovation (2010 – World Scientific) by the instructors for 3.086x, Eugene Fitzgerald and Andreas Wankerl.   Here’s the book description from the World Scientific site:

This breakthrough book gives a ground-floor view of the innovation process, showing how fundamental innovators really work. Then, it connects that knowledge to the bigger picture, explaining why the “innovation system” in the United States is failing to work as it once did, and what all parties can do to build a better system for the future.

Inside Real Innovation is written by distinguished practicing innovators. They debunk the concept of innovation as a linear process, from research to development to product in the market. They present a simple model for understanding it as a highly iterative process, in which you cycle repeatedly through many factors in the areas of Technology, Market and Implementation — until the right pieces come together. Co-author Gene Fitzgerald tells the story of his own major innovation, tracing it along the winding path into products we use every day. The authors then proceed to tell the larger story of how the vaunted American “pipeline” for carrying this process has been pulled apart.
The book is a must-read for anyone with an interest in a strong innovation system: investors, innovators and people in corporations, universities and government.