The Three-Box Solution: A Strategy for Leading Innovation

The Three Box Solution

A strategy for leading innovation

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Vijay Govindarajan distills strategic innovation and leadership into three basic boxes: forget the past, create the future and manage the present. While this may seem simple, Govindarajan delves into several extensive business cases to demonstrate what a tremendous balancing act this truly is. In ‘forgetting the past’, it’s important to recognize past successes and culture, while not being chained to them and held back. Through ‘creating the future’, it’s important to invent a new business model that is still practical and profitable. This isn’t a time for a naïve blue-sky approach to wild dreams. And while looking ahead, it’s still critically important to ‘manage the present’ and keep current business operations effective and efficient. Govindarajan recommends prudent experimentation and monitoring to ensure that the balance is being kept for the benefit of the corporate direction. This is not a book that glosses over simple highlights — case studies of organizations like Hasbro and Keurig are detailed and thorough, highlighting both the successes and the difficulties of managing each box and the interplay between them. All readers will not be in a position to initiate new organizational strategies at the most senior levels, however there are parallels between this strategic model and personal change. For example, individuals who wish to ‘create’ a healthier lifestyle might learn how to ‘forget’ their past image of themselves (“I’m not an athlete”) and create a better future through exercise and healthy diet, while ‘managing’ all of the present realities in their busy and full life. Lessons from this book can work at many different levels of application.


Lisa Sansom