Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Best Books On Open [Innovation/Source]

Many folks talk about Open Source today. When I think of Open Source, there are many non-intuitive aspects that need to be understood to be truly successful. In that context, there are four books that are important to read and understand as it relates to innovation and Open Source. One of my favorite books (below is my copy and a must read IMHO) is Dr. Henry Chesbrough's book “Open Innovation”.

This much acclaimed book lays out, in very clear language, the important differences between “Closed Innovation” versus “Open Innovation”. There are many interesting points that are brought out in his book, two points that he makes in his book that I think are extremely relevant in today's open source world:

"We don't have to originate the research to profit from it."

"Building a better business model is better than getting to market first."

This book is a must read for anyone who is trying to understand Open Source. This book takes a higher level view that is important to understand prior to digging into specifics of software open source and is rich with real life examples.

Dr. Chesbrough has a new book that I am going to buy and look forward to reading called, Open Business Models".

The second must read book is Eric S. Raymond's landmark book, "The Cathederal and The Bazaar".

This book is often quoted in the world of Open Source. It is a great historical book. The two points from this book that stand out in my mind are:

"Often, the most striking and innovative solutions

come from realizing your concept of the problem was wrong".

Raymond quotes Antoine de Saint-Exupery:

"Perfection (in design) is acheived not when there is nothing more to add,

but when there is nothing more to take away."

The third book certainly worth reading is Clayton M. Christensen's "The Innovators Solution", which is, of course, the follow-on to "The Innovators Dilemma".

The most interesting chapter, IMHO, is Chapter 6, "How To Avoid Commidization". The main point that Christensen makes is that "The companies that are positioned at a spot in the value chain where performance is not yet good enough, will find profit."

Obviously, Mr Christensen's point can be easier said than done, but the examples in the book help the reader to find the framework to think about in the context of their own industry.

The fourth book that I find a must read as well is Chris Anderson's "The Long Tail".

The subtitle of the book, "Why the Fture of Business Is Selling Less of More" is the central theme of the book that is brought out in his Chapter 4, "The Three Forces of the Long Tail".

"Democratize the tools of production.

The results of this are more stuff, which lengthens the tail.

Democratize the tools of distribution.

The result is more access to niches, which fattens the Tail.

Connect Supply and Demand."

The result is it drives busines from hits to niches.

It is the examples in this book that I find are very compelling.

I know there are many other books, that I plan on purchasing and reading. Which books have I left out?

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