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Innovation icons


To get ahead in a competitive world, every company needs to find a unique angle to stand out from the crowd.


But innovation is never easy – and if you want to make a major leap forward, you need to understand that it’s a messy, unpredictable, serendipitous process.


Successful innovation is about learning from your mistakes, persisting when the going gets tough, rethinking your business in the face of disruption. Sometimes it means doing something someone else does, better. It can even involve obstinacy and luck.


To inspire you to think differently about innovation, we bring you the Innovation Icons series: classic examples of companies that have done things their own way.

Amazon: a master of reinvention

Julian Birkinshaw

"Amazon is the single best example of a serial business model innovator," according to Julian Birkinshaw

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If at first you don't succeed...

Julian Birkinshaw

Five thousand, one hundred and twenty six prototypes and still no joy...

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More innovation icon case studies


deliveroo-delivering-qualityHILS: innovating for social impact


Creativity is key at Hertfordshire Independent Living Service, joint winner of the If At First You Don’t Succeed Award






deliveroo-delivering-qualityDeliveroo: delivering quality


What drives the winner of The Best Beats First Award?






shutterstock_325735454Is the right innovation down to luck?


Spot it, launch it, grow it. That’s the popular formula for successful innovations, right? Julian Birkinshaw says YouTube’s success story isn’t down to luck. Instead, he shares what we can all learn from an innovator that harnesses the winds of change.



shutterstock_325735454Lessons from the world's best-known fast-follower: Samsung


You don’t have to dream up something new to be a great innovator. You must however, do it better. Julian Birkinshaw shares the lessons behind Samsung’s success.