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  • Jeff Dyer: Innovation Capital
    Jeff Dyer: Innovation Capital
  • Jeff Dyer | Jobs to Be Done
    Jeff Dyer | Jobs to Be Done
  • Jeff Dyer: Turbocharging Your Creative Thinking
    Jeff Dyer: Turbocharging Your Creative Thinking
  • The Innovator's DNA: Jeff Dyer
    The Innovator's DNA: Jeff Dyer

Learn More About Jeff Dyer

How do leaders convert a creative idea into a transformative reality? Successful leaders excel at winning resources and support for their ideas. According to Jeff Dyer, professor at Wharton and Brigham Young University, this quality is so valuable – and measurably more important for innovation than just being creative – that it now has a name: “innovation capital.”  Effective leaders of innovation like Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are successful not only because of the quality of their ideas, but because they have the reputation and networks to successfully commercialize creative concepts. Dyer, one of the world’s leading strategy scholars, has dedicated his career to discovering the formula for achieving organizational and personal success. Now, he’s helping leaders reach the next level.

For more than two decades, Dyer has spoken about and studied strategic growth and innovation in a variety of industries across the world. His latest research asks a compelling question: how does an innovator transform a creative vision into a reality? In Dyer’s book co-authored with Nathan Furr and Curtis Lefrandt, “Innovation Capital: How to Compete – and Win – Like the World’s Most Innovative Leaders” (Harvard Business Review Press, June 2019), he interviews today’s most innovative CEOs to identify how they reached their heights of success and influence. Dyer argues that creative skills, the “human capital” explored in his earlier works, are essential, but not enough. He reveals the other types of capital needed to launch innovations with impact: “innovative social capital” (who you know) and “innovative reputation capital” (what you’ve done that brings credibility). Together, these three kinds of capital total the skills and qualities that allow visionaries like Bezos and industry disruptors like Netflix’s Reed Hastings to marshal the resources necessary to pursue even the most futuristic ideas. Through the proper accumulation of innovation capital, says Dyer, you can become a powerful influencer while building a personal brand that inspires enthusiasm, confidence and trust.

Professor Dyer is the lead author of the best-selling business book “The Innovator’s DNA” (HBR Press, 2011) with the late Clayton Christensen and Hal Gregersen, and co-author of “The Innovator’s Method” (HBR Press, 2014) with Furr. Together, these works – and Dyer’s keynotes, interactive workshops and advisory work – lay the foundation for leaders across disciplines to not only improve their innovation capabilities, but to also help those whom they manage do the same. A former Bain & Company consultant and manager, Dyer focuses with a laser-like intensity on how to measure innovation, foster it and make it repeatable. He is a regular contributor to Forbes magazine, and annually, he and his co-authors publish their list of the year’s most innovative companies in partnership with Forbes. Dyer’s case studies on leading companies such as Amazon and Tesla serve to illustrate this point, as he meticulously dissects and analyzes the strategies that have made them among the world’s foremost and greatest innovators.

Professor Dyer, who earned his doctorate from UCLA, is a highly celebrated speaker, professor and author. His research has been covered in articles at Forbes, The Economist, Fortune, BusinessWeek, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Fast Company and many other publications. Beyond his work on innovation, Dyer is the only strategy scholar in the world to have published five times in the Harvard Business Review and five times in Strategic Management Journal, the top academic journal in the strategy field.

Jeff Dyer is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Jeff Dyer was last modified: September 13th, 2023 by Justin Louis

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Innovation Capital: How to Compete – and Win – Like the World’s Most Innovative Leaders

What distinguishes individuals who emerge as effective leaders of innovation? It’s not just being creative or the quality of their ideas. Nikola Tesla was arguably a more brilliant inventor than Thomas Edison; but Edison realized tremendous commercial success while Tesla died penniless. Edison not only developed world-changing ideas, but he also acquired resources in a competitive market to execute and commercialize them. Jeff Dyer says that success hinges on building “innovation capital” through effective leadership. This entails building your “human capital” skills of forward thinking, proactive problem solving and persuasion. To put your ideas into action, you also need “innovative social capital” – a network of influencers, financial benefactors and organization leaders who can help build and promote your brand, product or service. Finally, you need “innovative reputation capital” – the credibility and notoriety that motivates organizational leaders and investors to trust you with their money, and consumers to eagerly await your next idea. Without the network and reputation, your vision will remain an unfulfilled wish.

Based on his book “Innovation Capital: How to Compete – and Win – Like the World’s Most Innovative Leaders” (HBR Press, June 2019), Dyer and his co-authors, through in-depth interviews, unlocks the secrets of how the world’s most successful and well-known CEOs – including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Tesla’s Elon Musk and Salesforce’s Marc Benioff – journeyed from their initial idea stage to being touchstones for innovation and dynamism. For entrepreneurs and creative managers, Dyer’s accumulation of wisdom from these towering figures is an invaluable resource in learning how to forge your own innovation capital, and walk in their footsteps.

Developing Disruptive Strategies in the Age of Uncertainty

In today’s complex, dynamic and uncertain world, game-changing innovation is critical – both for growing a business and protecting current markets. But leading disruptive innovation requires new mindsets and behaviors, for leaders and their organizations. Professor Jeff Dyer navigates the different routes to disruptive innovation, exploring the success factors of various companies and individuals – from pushing boundaries, generating insights, and conducting small, fast, inexpensive experiments. His insights about how to lead your team into the unknown will help you and your business thrive amidst uncertainty through sustained, repeatable innovation that creates competitive advantage.

The Innovator’s DNA — Mastering the Skills of Disruptive Innovators

For most of us, innovation isn’t a natural mindset, but it can be learned. Drawing from his award-winning research with the late Clayton Christensen, Professor Jeff Dyer describes how anyone can become a more creative problem solver and effective leader of innovation. Successful innovators exhibit common behavioral habits; he identifies the five discovery skills – associating, questioning, observing, networking and experimenting – proven to distinguish innovative entrepreneurs and executives from execution-focused, results-driven managers. But innovation isn’t a one-person job, he stresses, it’s a team game. Professor Dyer details the behavior changes necessary to build innovation capacity into the very fabric of your organization.

The Innovator’s Method: Bringing the Lean Start-up into Your Organization

Innovation has become synonymous with small, agile and social – but that doesn’t mean bigger, more established companies can’t innovate successfully, says Professor Jeff Dyer. It’s about being lean and maniacally focused on fast and frugal experimentation. Taking a page from start-up culture, he offers a new perspective derived from the world of the lean and agile start-up. Based on his most recent best-selling book, Professor Dyer details the innovator’s method, an end-to-end process for creating, refining and bringing ideas to market. He shows when and how to apply the tools and strategies of the method, and how to adapt them to your business to jump-start – and sustain – innovation.

Praise for "Innovation Capital"

Advance Praise for “Innovation Capital” “Innovation Capital shines a unique spotlight on a fundamental building block for achieving success in any entrepreneurial endeavor–cultivating a network of amazing mentors, advocates, and benefactors to help turn your ideas into reality.”

Marc Benioff, Chairman and co-CEO, Salesforce

“There’s an adage in business that ‘the best idea wins.’ In truth, it’s often the idea with the best champion–someone who can instill belief, rally support, and paint a vision for turning ideas into reality–that wins. Innovation Capital provides a fantastic blueprint for becoming an effective champion of ideas. It’s full of valuable lessons from the companies and innovators who have lived them.”

Shantanu Narayen, Chairman and CEO, Adobe

“This is an important book that should be read by anyone who aspires to lead an innovative organization. It clearly demystifies that path to gaining support for bold new ideas that will ultimately be game-changing.”

Tina Seelig, Professor of the Practice Department of Management Science and Engineering; Author, Stanford University; Creativity Rules

“Innovation Capital is that special currency that can be exchanged for true transformation. It’s what elevates great inventors into great innovation leaders. This book is a must-read for anyone leading their team through an innovation-inspired change and for startup innovators trying to make a success of their ideas.”

Ralph Hamers, CEO, ING Group

“In this book, Jeff, Nathan, and Curtis present a compelling case for how leaders at every level can build and grow their innovation capital to turn new and creative ideas into reality. Whether you’re just launching your career or you’re an industry veteran, this is a must-read.”

Indra Nooyi, Former Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo

“Thank you for your amazing presentation to our executive team. The ideas you shared created an understanding about how innovation happens that has energized our leaders and provided practical advice that they can use immediately. I’ve heard nothing but high praise. You really hit it out of the ballpark!”

Greg Lucier, CEO, Life Technologies

“I have had numerous, unsolicited comments from my team about how powerful and effective your innovation workshop was and what a great impact it is having on our thinking. What you did this week blew the socks off everybody. Over and over I’ve heard that this was the most useful, relevant and powerful corporate training session they have ever experienced.”

Barry Smith, CEO, Magellan Health

“Jeff’s workshop provided tremendous insight on the art and science of innovation to our engineering and technology leadership teams at Motorola. We asked him to focus specifically on strategies to identify and capture the value created by innovation for the benefit of our customers and corporation. Jeff more than delivered through his practical advice, tools, experiences and ways of thinking. We are a better company for our time spent with him.”

Paul Steinberg, CTO, Motorola Solutions

“I highly recommend Jeff. We were looking for someone who was not only an expert in the field of Innovation, but also someone with the right personality fit and speaking style for our diverse group of 100 executives from around the world. It was a tall order and Jeff came through for us. He delivered his message in a way that was informational, entertaining and thought provoking.”

Lauren Welsch, Executive Director, Sony Pictures Division