Cover of No-Excuses Innovation by Bruce A. Vojak and Walter B. Herbst
No-Excuses Innovation
Strategies for Small- and Medium-Sized Mature Enterprises
Bruce A. Vojak and Walter B. Herbst


September 2022
272 pages.

Hardcover now $15.00 (50% off)

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503627581
Ebook ISBN: 9781503633469

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Excerpts and More

The case for innovation and a clear, targeted strategy for planning and implementation that will help small- and medium-sized mature enterprises (SMMEs) thrive through reinvention and renewal.

In contrast to large companies, SMMEs are on their own to win or lose in the marketplace. They may lack the relative economies of scale and scope, available to large companies, to understand and invest in innovation. Often they are in a position of sustained disadvantage with no perceived path of renewal.

As SMMEs approach maturity, it is common for them to choose to only maintain what they believe to be the safety of maturity attained rather than to opt for a strategy that also includes constant reinvention and renewal. But as Bruce A. Vojak and Walter B. Herbst argue, this path of seemingly least risk and least resistance can be the most detrimental to the company in the long run.

The real risk is to not innovate.

No-Excuses Innovation makes the case to owners, advisors, executives, and leaders—as well as those in the trenches—of the value of innovation: why it's worthy of investment and what it can do for the health and longevity of a company. This book also details how innovation, and thus reinvention and renewal, can be most effectively and efficiently implemented. With case studies and narrative examples drawn from their time in industry and the academy, the authors present a valuable strategy guide specific to SMMEs and to one of the biggest existential dilemmas they encounter.

About the authors

Bruce Vojak Ph.D. is Managing Director and Founder of Breakthrough Innovation Advisors, LLC. and co-author of Serial Innovators: How Individuals Create and Deliver Breakthrough Innovations in Mature Firms (Stanford University Press, 2012). Formerly Director of Advanced Technology at Motorola and Associate Dean and Adjunct Professor in the Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign, he currently serves on the boards of Midtronics, Inc., JVA Partners, and Micron Industries Corporation.

Walter B. Herbst Ph.D., FNAI (Fellow National Academy of Inventors) is a partner and co-founder of Herbst Produkt, a firm with, among other accolades, fourteen Edison Awards in the last ten years. He is also a Distinguished Clinical Professor Emeritus at the Segal Design Institute at Northwestern University and the founder of their Master of Product Design and Development Management Program.

"As a retailer, it was always evident that those who don't constantly innovate with new product, new merchandising, and store design eventually failed. This book shows how change and innovation are crucial for any success in business."

—Gordon Segal, Founder, Crate & Barrel

"With over 3 decades of buying and building over 50 companies in consumer and commercial markets, I can attest that this book should be mandatory for anyone wanting success in growing their business."

—Keith Jaffee, Chairman of Middleton Partners, CEO of Banyan Acquisition Corp (NYSE)

"It is a real treat that the authors provide valuable insight not only into their own creative genius, but that of others as well. No-Excuses Innovation illustrates that innovation is the most important factor underlying economic growth and prosperity."

—Morton Schapiro, Professor and President, Northwestern University

"No-Excuses Innovation shows how consistent innovative development can help business leaders enhance value, set themselves apart in the minds of investors, create better employee engagement, and, as a result, generate higher business valuations. A must-read for business owners considering ownership transition."

—Kenneth Serwinski, Chairman, Prairie Capital Advisors, Inc.

"Both grandmasters in the field, Vojak and Herbst bring a confluence of wisdom in their understanding of the pathways to innovation and the barriers to renewal for small and medium-sized companies. A brilliant business book that will compel fresh dreams and unpack the secrets towards a company's sustainable growth."

—Robert T. Schwartz, FIDSA, DMI, Dean, Schools of Arts, Design and Business, Mount Mary University

"No-Excuses Innovation simply "revs-up" the reminder of our role in innovation. This is a quick "go-to" guide, helping to steer the vital evolutionary process of our company in today's "disruptive" world. Pick it up and GO!"

—Rick Delawder, President, SWD Inc.; past Chair of the Illinois Manufacturing Association