Soundview Executive Book Summaries

A Window into Innovation

Receiving an inside look at one of the most powerful companies on the planet is something for which business book readers clamor. What if the deal were sweetened and the book were to be authored not by a third-party observer or a mid-level manager but instead by one of the top executives for the company?

In a matter of months, we’ll get the opportunity described above! This post from a blog on CNET confirms rumors that we’ve heard for some time. Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows Division, is collaborating with the Harvard Business School to craft a book on creating and implementing innovative strategies. As the article indicates, Sinofsky has been contributing posts to Microsoft’s Engineering Windows 7 blog, many of which offer insights into the inner workings of the intensely private software giant.

I for one was intrigued by the suggestion that Sinofsky’s book will delve into the strategic changes made by Microsoft after its Windows Vista release. I’m curious to know the level of detail to which he will discuss this subject. As fascinating as the creation of a new product will be to readers, it may be more helpful to executives to gain insight on how to recover when a product that took millions of dollars and an equal amount of man hours to produce is underwhelming upon its release. It takes a certain amount of bravery on the part of any executive to publicly acknowledge and address a product that has received its fair share of criticism.

Part of what makes Microsoft an object of admiration to many observers is its ability to stay ahead of fluctuations in its industry. Innovation is at the heart of what has separated Microsoft from its competitors. Sinofsky’s revelations could prove to be quite useful, particularly when combined with co-author Marco Iansiti’s research at Harvard. A collaboration between Microsoft and Harvard sounds like a winner. I’ll keep you posted when we get a sneak peek at the book as it nears publication.


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