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Vintage Drucker on Innovation

| On 20, Sep 2007

Praveen Gupta

Going through my collection of books on innovation, I came across Peter Drucker’s book Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This book was first published in 1986! He was a visionary. It is interesting how he had distinguished the two disciplines. Most business colleges still have more courses on entrepreneurship than on innovation. I wonder whether entrepreneurship can be sustained without innovation.


Drucker’s main work on innovation was published in the mid-eighties and focused on sources of innovation. He identified seven sources of innovation that are:



  1. The Unexpected,
  2. Incongruities,
  3. Process need,
  4. Industry and Market Structures,
  5. Demographics,
  6. Changes in perception, and
  7. New knowledge

You are encouraged to learn more about your applicable sources of innovation.


It is amazing that Drucker tried to capture the process for innovation in the eighties. Here are Drucker’s Do’s and Don’t’s:


The Do’s



  1. Purposeful innovation begins with the analysis of opportunities
  2. Innovation is both conceptual and perceptual
  3. An innovation to be effective has to be simple and focused
  4. Effective innovations start small
  5. A successful innovation aims at leadership

The Dont’s



  1. The first is simply not to try to be clever.
  2. Don’t diversify, don’t splinter, and don’t try to do too many things at once.
  3. Don’t try to innovate for the future. Innovate for the present!

Share your own Do’s and Dont’s with us. We all will benefit.


I would like to share my personal experience with Peter Drucker that shows his energy and greatness till his last. I had sent a copy of my book to Drucker and two other famous consultants for their blessings. Drucker sent an encouraging response within 24 hours in his shaky handwriting! He was truly a great person!