Ninja Innovation | Gary Shapiro

Summary of: Ninja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of the World’s Most Successful Businesses
By: Gary Shapiro


In ‘Ninja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of the World’s Most Successful Businesses’, Gary Shapiro presents lessons drawn from the ancient Japanese ninja warriors in order to teach readers how to catalyze innovation and growth in their businesses. By analyzing the process, tactics, and characteristics of ninja innovation, readers will learn how to embrace change and approach organizational challenges like a skilled warrior. Through exploring the domains of evolutionary, revolutionary, and disruptive innovation, this book equips readers with the critical knowledge to achieve success in their own businesses and become a ninja innovator.

Ninja Innovation

The ancient Japanese ninjas were masters of results-driven innovation, unlike the samurai who valued honor over effectiveness. Business innovation comes in three forms: evolutionary, revolutionary, and disruptive. To succeed, companies must become masters of innovation, just like the ultimate overachievers, the ninjas. Emulate their 10 characteristics of ninja innovation to attain your goals.

Edison’s Ultimate Goal

Thomas Edison aimed to make his inventions practical, and he revolutionized public life. His remarkable development was the Pearl Street power station, which supplied electric power to homes and businesses in New York City. Edison’s ultimate victory came on September 4, 1882, when he successfully lit up many businesses using his incandescent bulb and the Pearl Street station. He believed that a company’s success requires constant innovation and pursuing new victories, not just delivering the same products and marketing. Edison’s life shows that defining and pursuing ultimate goals lead to revolutionary changes that benefit society.

Edison’s Teamwork Philosophy

Thomas Edison was known for his many inventions, and many consider him a solitary genius. However, Edison worked with a large team of assistants in the world’s first large-scale research and development laboratory. At the peak of his operations, more than 200 scientists and other employees worked for Edison. Assemble the right team to support your work.

Innovation Breeds Innovation

The story of Intel Inside demonstrates how taking bold risks can lead to huge successes. When Intel introduced its chips as the ultimate differentiator for computers, it sparked a revolution in the industry. By investing heavily in promoting the Intel Inside message, Intel turned its chips into a coveted brand and gained billions of dollars in new computer sales. This inspiring tale of innovation proves that taking risks can pay off and create a ripple effect of more innovation in the process.

Learning from Microsoft’s Tablet Misstep

Microsoft’s introduction of the first tablet computer was a misstep due to developing a product with features that computer users didn’t want. Despite spending years marketing the tablet, the company failed to convince users that writing on an expensive tablet was better than on paper. Apple, on the other hand, introduced the sleek iPad, selling more than three million tablets on its first day. The lesson learned from Microsoft’s failure is to plan well before going to market and remain focused on long-term goals despite setbacks.

The Tale of Failed Tablets

In the aftermath of Apple’s iPad launch, an influx of companies displayed their tablet computers at CES 2011. However, only a handful remain in the market today. Many firms had similar market interpretations, yet only a few succeeded by recognizing unforeseen opportunities and deploying their resources accordingly. Competing with new products bears many similarities to going to war. To win, precise execution is necessary, which is arduous. One of the top rivals to the iPad, the Kindle Fire by Amazon, was founded by Jeff Bezos, who applies ninja warrior tactics by focusing on customer satisfaction, placing it at the core of his company’s values.

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