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Leading the Revolution

Leading the Revolution by Gary Hamel
By Gary Hamel

Published by Harvard Business School Press, 2000
Hardback, 348 pages
ISBN: 1-57851-189-5

This is a refreshing management book that is fast-paced and hard-hitting. Gary Hamel pulls no punches and communicates his message in a forceful but readable and entertaining style.

The premise of the book is that the business world has increasingly become ‘non-linear’ where changes happen faster and more dramatically – and where incumbent and ‘traditional’ corporations can no longer feel complacent about new start-ups that can quickly steal their market and their customers.

To survive in this new ‘age of revolution’, individuals and companies need to adapt to a radical new agenda of innovation. Hamel states that the need for new strategies and re-invention of business models is vital if companies are to remain, or become, market leaders. The Internet economy in particular has opened up new market opportunities where companies that didn’t exist 5 years ago are now challenging the incumbents for market share.

The book is divided into 4 sections, with the first outlining the background to new economy driven by speed of development and new ways of doing business. It then moves on to explore the management practices of developing innovative thinking and forming the basic building blocks to create new business concepts.

The third section – Igniting the Revolution – proposes ways to develop new ideas within a slow-moving corporation and how to become a driving force without losing the support of senior management. Finally, Sustaining the Revolution argues that the innovative process needs to be continuous to keep enhancing the business model and staying one step ahead. This is not an easy task and Hamel outlines his 10 design rules for creating the innovative process.

Attractively designed and printed in colour, this book includes numerous illustrations and key lines highlighted from the text. The business argument is well-supported by detailed case studies of innovative companies, including IBM, Sony, Cisco and Charles Schwab. And by the end of the book the message has been pummelled home and leaves no doubt about the requirements to succeed in the modern business world. A motivating book, highly recommended.