Corporate Innovators’ Reading List 2021

How to build innovation skills, learn and get inspired to develop as a corporate innovator?

This post is our 2021 edition of the Corporate Innovators’ reading list, with over 20 new titles covering different aspects of innovation, including Intrapreneurship, Strategic Innovation, Business Model Innovation, Facilitation and Collaboration, Design Thinking, Innovation Mindset, with some new discoveries and old classics.

We listed the original websites of the authors wherever possible, so you can get to know the people behind the titles and find the local or international bookseller of your choice. Book descriptions include excerpts written by the publisher.

If you have other favourite books that we missed, please let us know for our next edition of the reading list!

More resources, games as well as some free tools for corporate innovators, including an infographic on 12 Transformative Questions for Corporate Innovators, check out our shop page.

Recently Published


Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini

In a world of unrelenting change and unprecedented challenges, we need organizations that give everyone the opportunity to learn and innovate. Read more…

Strategic Innovation

Think Again

Adam Grant

Intelligence is usually seen as the ability to think and learn, but in a rapidly changing world, there’s another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn. Read more…

Innovation Mindset

The Invincible Company

Alex Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur et al.

From the authors of Business Model Generation, comes the book that describes how “invincible companies” not only know how to design superior business models but they constantly reinvent themselves. Read more…

Business Model Innovation


The Startup Way

Eric Ries

This sequel to the Lean Startup, describes how modern companies use entrepreneurial management to transform culture & drive long-term growth. Read more…

The Startup Owner’s Manual

Steve Blank

The Startup Owner’s Manual guides you, step-by-step, as you put the Customer Development process to work. This method was created by renowned Silicon Valley startup expert Steve Blank, acknowledged catalyst of the “Lean Startup” movement. Read more…

Pirates in the Navy

Tendayi Viki

This book is written for passionate innovators working in large companies who want to create an innovation ecosystem and bring it to life, change the culture within their company, influence leaders and create a lasting change. Read more…

Strategic Innovation

Brave New Work

Aaron Dignan

Learn how to reinvent the way you work, not through top-down mandates, but through a groundswell of autonomy, trust, and transparency. Read more…

Measure What Matters

John Doerr

Learn how a simple goal setting technique called OKRs—objectives and key results— propelled Google, The Gates Foundation, and Bono to exceed all expectations. Read more…

Reinventing Organizations

Frederic Laloux

Reinventing organizations has inspired thousands of organizations throughout the world to take a radical leap and adopt a whole different set of management principles and practices. Read more…

Facilitating Innovation & Collaboration

Visual Collaboration

Ole Qvist-Sørensen, Loa Baastrup and Sofie Lind Mesterton

Organizations often struggle to find engaging and effective ways to manage complexity. When people draw together, they learn together. Read more…

The Sprint Book

Jake Knapp

Invented at Google by Jake Knapp, perfected with more than 150 startups at GV, the big idea with the Design Sprint is to build and test a prototype in just five days. Read more…

The World Cafe Book: Shaping Our Futures Through Conversations that Matter

Juanita Brown and David Isaacs

In the first comprehensive book on the World Café, co-founders Juanita Brown and David Isaacs introduce readers to this simple yet powerful conversational process for thinking together, evoking collective intelligence, and creating actionable results. Read more…

Innovation Mindset

The Infinite Game

Simon Sinek

The leaders who embrace an infinite mindset, build stronger, more innovative, more inspiring organizations. Their people trust each other and their leaders. Read more…

Growth Mindset

Carol Dweck

People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Read more…

The Fearless Organization

Amy Edmondson

With many convincing practical examples and scientific substantiation, this book shows that a company can only make real progress when employees feel free to discuss their plans and ideas and dare to express their concerns openly. Read more…

Business Model Innovation

Ten Types of Innovation: The Discipline of Building Breakthroughs

Larry Keeley et al.

The innovation framework describes ten distinct types of innovation that need to be orchestrated with care to make game-changing innovations. Read more…

Blue Ocean Shift

W. Chan Kim, Renée Mauborgne

Drawing on more than a decade of new research, Blue Ocean Shift is a follow-up to Blue Ocean Strategy, and a definitive guide to help you move beyond competing, inspire your people’s confidence, and seize new growth. Read more…

Business Model Generation

Alex Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur

This classic book built around the Business Model Canvas, provides practical tools to understand, design and implement a new business model or renovate an old one. Read more…

Innovate like a Design Thinker

The Ten Faces of Innovation

Tom Kelley

Filled with engaging stories of how companies such as Kraft, Samsung, and Procter & Gamble have incorporated IDEO’s thinking to transform the customer experience, The Ten Faces of Innovation is an extraordinary guide to nurturing and sustaining a culture of continuous innovation and renewal. Read more…

Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation

Tim Brown

Tim Brown reintroduces design thinking, the collaborative process by which the designer’s sensibilities and methods are employed to match people’s needs with what is technically feasible and a viable business strategy. Read more…

The Design Thinking Playbook

Michael Lewrick

The Design Thinking Playbook is an actionable guide to the future of business. By stepping back and questioning the current mindset, the faults of the status quo stand out in stark relief-and this guide gives you the tools and frameworks you need to kick off a digital transformation. Read more…

Old Classics, Biographies and Miscellaneous discoveries on Innovation

Let My People Go Surfing

Yvon Chouinard

From his youth as the son of a French Canadian blacksmith to the thrilling, ambitious climbing expeditions that inspired his innovative designs for the sport’s equipment, Let My People Go Surfing is the story of a man who brought doing good and having grand adventures into the heart of his business life-a book that will deeply affect entrepreneurs and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Read more…


Ricardo Semler

Semler turned his family’s business, the aging Semco corporation of Brazil, into the most revolutionary business success story of our time. By eliminating unneeded layers of management and allowing employees unprecedented democracy in the workplace, he created a company that challenged the old ways and blazed a path to success in an uncertain economy. Read more…

The Necessary Revolution

Peter M. Senge

Imagine a world in which the excess energy from one business would be used to heat another. Where buildings need less and less energy around the world, and where “regenerative” commercial buildings – ones that create more energy than they use – are being designed. Read more…

The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail

Clayton Christensen

In this revolutionary bestseller, Clayton Christensen demonstrates how successful, outstanding companies can do everything “right” and yet still lose their market leadership – or even fail – as new, unexpected competitors rise and take over the market. Read more…

The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth

Clayton Christensen

In The Innovator’s Solution, Clayton Christensen and coauthor Michael E. Raynor build on Christensen’s groundbreaking disruptive innovation research to help all companies understand how to become disruptors themselves. Read more…

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Peter F. Drucker

The first book to present innovation and entrepreneurship as purposeful and systematic discipline which explains and analyzes the challenges and opportunities of America’ s new entrepreneurial economy. Read more…

Cradle to Cradle – Remaking the way we make things

Michael Braungart & William McDonough

In Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart present an integration of design and science that provides enduring benefits for society from safe materials, water and energy in circular economies and eliminates the concept of waste. Read more…

Featured Workshop

Design Thinking

Introduce Design Thinking to your leaders in a collaborative and experiential workshop – online or face to face.

More Insights

Creating Engaging Learning Activities

Creating Engaging Learning Activities

How to ditch the slideshow and create learning activities to engage your learners? When training design starts with a focus on content delivery and preparing slides, it often becomes content-heavy and trainer-centric (as opposed to user-centric). Engaging your...