“This book is a must for any Business Development Manager, Corporate Strategist, R&D Director, and anyone else who is accountable for growth in a corporation. It is an easy read that is practical and not fraught with useless academic theories.”
Ron Pierantozzi, Ph.D., CEO of PPT Research and Former Director, Business Development, Air Products & Chemicals, Inc.
A Breakthrough Approach to Investing in Business Innovation
Most companies analyze investments using tools that bias them against real innovation and lead them to avoid their best opportunities. This book introduces a breakthrough alternative: Opportunity Engineering.
Drawing upon recent advances in financial analysis, but without requiring a lot of math, the authors show how to engineer the risk out of uncertain opportunities so you can pursue more high-payoff innovations. You’ll learn how to escape from the “go/no-go vise” and implement more flexible decision-making that considers all the business alternatives, models, and opportunities associated with each project. You’ll learn how to systematically structure high-potential projects to limit downside exposure and boost your potential upside.
The authors show how to define the scope of investment opportunities, identify key drivers of potential profits, document assumptions, design out major risks, and tease out key challenges and vulnerabilities.
Using these techniques, you can escape the mindset that limits you to low-impact innovations and begin pursuing serious growth opportunities--and make business uncertainty work for you, not against you.
Why companies avoid their best opportunities for innovation
Getting past risk-averse analysis that snuffs out experimentation and innovation
Systematically engineering your opportunities
Capturing the upside, slicing out the downside
Beyond rigid “go/no-go” decisions
How flexible, staged innovation creates more opportunities for delivering value
Constructing an engineered growth portfolio of innovation investments
Optimizing your mix of core-enhancing investments and high potential “long shots”
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Alexander B. van Putten is an adjunct faculty member at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he has been teaching graduate students since 1993. He is actively involved with Wharton’s executive education programs where he lectures on issues surrounding innovation, corporate entrepreneurship, and strategic growth. He is a partner of Cameron & Associates LLC, which consults on strategy and business planning for clients ranging from Air Products & Chemicals, Shell Global Solutions to Seagate Technology, Novell, and Westcon. Prior to teaching at Wharton, van Putten was a general partner in equity and fixed income arbitrage and commercial mortgage securitization partnerships. He was also an SVP responsible for investments at Chrysler Capital Realty. Early in his career, he worked in the investment departments of Bankers Trust and Safeco Insurance Companies as well. van Putten has a BA in economics from Boston University, a MBA from the Wharton School, and is a DBA candidate at Edinburgh Business School. He has published articles in Harvard Business Review and Research-Technology Management.
Ian C. MacMillan is the academic director of the Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Research Programs at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. He is also the Dhirubhai Ambani Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the Management Department. Formerly he was director of the Entrepreneurship center at NYU and taught at Columbia and Northwestern Universities and the University of South Africa. In 1999 he was awarded the Swedish Foundation for Small Business Research prize for his contribution to research in the area of entrepreneurship. Prior to joining the academic world, MacMillan was a chemical engineer and gained experience in gold and uranium mines, chemical and explosives factories, oil refineries, soap and food manufacturers, and the South African Atomic Energy Board. He has been a director of several companies in the travel, import/export, and pharmaceutical industries and has extensive consulting experience, having worked with such companies as DuPont, General Electric, GTE, IBM, Citibank, Metropolitan Life, Chubb & Son, American Re-Insurance, Texas Instruments, KPMG, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Fluor Daniel, Matsushita (Japan), Olympus (Japan), and L.G. Group (Korea). MacMillan’s articles have appeared in the Harvard Business Review, The Sloan Management Review, The Journal of Business Venturing, Administrative Science Quarterly, Academy of Management Journal, Academy of Management Review, Academy of Management Executive, Management Science and Strategic Management Journal, among others. His most recent book, Discovery-Driven Strategy, is published by Harvard Business School Press, and can be considered the sister book to this one.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
The book you are holding is deliberately as short as we could make it because we assume our readers are busy and do not have much time to read. Instead of a longwinded discourse, you want results and to grow the top line. Despite its brevity, we hope we get the point across that you can engineer the financial returns of business investments much as you can engineer a product. Using the concepts of Opportunity Engineering (OE), you no longer need to accept the outcome of investments in R&D, M&A, new markets, new products, and strategic plans, as being largely the hand you are dealt. Instead, OE allows you to stack the deck in your favor, by limiting the downside while letting the upside run. The OE methodology is simple to use, yet disciplined, which makes it an effective management tool. This book is intended for both general and financial managers. General managers will find in it new ways of planning and directing business investments that creates maximum returns with reduced risk. The result will be a more agile organization that embraces change through true innovation. The OE concepts are as much, if not more, about a mindset and a culture than numbers. The financial manager will find a new way to look at uncertain investments through the updated valuation techniques found in OE that foster more effective management. We welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions, so feel free to get in touch: email@example.com.
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