The Eye for Innovation


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Recognizing Possibilities and Managing the Creative Enterprise

Robert M. Price

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Seven principles for an innovative enterprise, from the journey of Control Data

Innovation is synonymous with problem solving, and the basic elements of innovation apply to any business, says Robert M. Price in this essential guide for managers of organizations large or small. Distilling a set of practical principles from his forty years of experience as a pioneer in the computer industry, the author shows that innovation can be learned and practiced by everyone, that it can offer solutions to everyday problems as well as high-profile ones, and that it provides opportunities to solve business problems while meeting a variety of human needs. Former CEO of Control Data, Price weaves the history of this uniquely innovative company with fresh thinking about innovation itself—what it means to the people in an organization, the products, and the processes. He avoids simplistic prescriptions and clearly explains seven fundamental principles of innovation beginning with “innovators are made, not born.” He illustrates these principles with fascinating real-life examples. His book offers both the practical tools and the inspiration to everyone with an interest in effective management practice and in building organizations that creatively and continuously respond to ever-changing social and market needs.

Robert M. Price is president of PSV, Inc., a consortium of consultants specializing in technology commercialization and corporate strategy. He is former CEO of Control Data, one of the major computer companies in the world at the time of his tenure.

For more on Robert Price, click here to read his blog, The Eye for Innovation, or visit his website

"Transcending the gap between the usual sterile discussions of innovation and the high-powered, but ideal, theories of business behavior, Robert Price offers a sober examination of his long experience in business. The principles he offers as guidelines for developing successful businesses of all kinds are firmly rooted in a history of an exceptionally innovative high-technology company. This book should be required reading for entrepreneurs, corporate leaders and managers, historians, business students, and anyone else interested in business development."—Arthur L. Norberg, ERA Chair in History of Technology, University of Minnesota

The Eye for Innovation captures the essence of Bob Price’s lifetime commitment to commercial success through innovation for all entrepreneurs to consider.”—Carl R. Pohlad, Owner, Minnesota Twins

“I read Mr. Robert Price’s book with some emotion due to the close partnership Control Data had with Iran supporting the education of our people, as part of my late husband's, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, industrial revolution. With Control Data’s leadership, Iran was implementing plasma technology as early as the 1970’s. This book effectively captures how Control Data manifested a global leadership in joining with other organizations and countries to impart knowledge and technology.”—Farah Pahlavi, Empress of Iran

“Price eloquently tells the story of how a start-up Minneapolis firm of the late 1950s rose up against the likes of IBM and others who dominated the computer industry, providing a rare and descriptive view of this fascinating success of business leadership.”—Irwin Jacobs, Founder and CEO, QUALCOMM

“With a clear and experienced voice, Robert Price offers valuable lessons for any business leader trying to distinguish their company, its products, and services. He explains how to use innovation and technology to create competitive advantage, poignantly stressing the all-important reality that it begins and ends with one thing: people.”—Jeff Sterba, President and CEO, PNM Resources, Inc.

“Bob Price gives us a proven, pragmatic path to follow, allowing the reader to appreciate the value of technology as a driver of productivity, a catalyst for innovation, and a prerequisite for a solution-based company.”—Joseph J. Grano, Jr., CEO, Centurion Holdings, LLC

“Bob Price eloquently tells a story of innovation and entrepreneurial leadership in the competitive environment of technology.”—Lee Iacocca

“What Bob Price captures in his book is the essence of the mentoring that allowed all of us not only to prosper while at Control Data, but in our years beyond. Bob captures both the entrepreneurial spirit and rapid growth that made Control Data such a unique experience for so many of us. This book has allowed me to re-live the experiences that are now the root of my own business beliefs. For that Bob, I thank you . . .again!”—Nasser Kazeminy, principal owner of NJK Holding Corporation

“Not often enough do we experience seasoned CEO’s bridging the gap to become distinguished scholars. Robert Price has done it! The Eye for Innovation is compelling, constructive, and proof positive that there is a predictable pathway to discovering and sustaining competitive advantage.”—Rick Goings, Chairman and CEO, Tupperware Corporation

"Robert Price gives us a simple formula for success: technology plus innovation equals a better society. Price shows us how to apply this formula to any field or endeavor and, most important, to any group of people dedicated to achieving a common goal. It is a powerful read with lasting impact."—Rick Wagoner, General Motors Chairman & CEO

“Bob Price’s practiced eye focuses on the ways in which innovation is used to satisfy a broad spectrum of societal needs. Given his distinguished career in industrial leadership, there is no better person to tell this story.”— Robert W. Galvin, Former CEO of Motorola



“For any who are striving to bring innovation to their organizations, there are many valuable lessons to be learned about fostering and managing creativity between the covers of this volume."—Thomas F. Keller, Dean Emeritus, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University

“Few people are better qualified than Robert Price to explain the critical role that technological innovation has played, and continues to play, in fostering American competitiveness in today’s global economy. His book is an invaluable addition to the literature on corporate creativity and innovation."—Walter Mondale, Former U.S. Vice President

“Robert Price’s ideas of how to successfully collaborate and acquire technology are virtually unique. This book should be read by every CEO.”—Warren L. Batts, retired CEO of Premark International

"Control Data Corporation (CDC), a pioneering supercomputing firm, blazed a singular trail in the 1960s and became the touchstone by which most companies measured their own innovation results. Price, a former CEO and CDC, uses the company's history and achievements to offer lessons in managing technology. . . . Using persuasive arguments and interesting examples of people in CDC who used their creativity and business acumen to launch trailblazing products, Price offers practical propositions that other businesses can internalize. Of particular value is the author's contention, supported by rationale, that technology both enables and complements a firm's strategic posture. Highly recommended."—Choice

"Written in clear and engaging prose, the book tells a number of compelling stories about Control Data and other organizations it has worked with. It explains how innovation satisfies a broad spectrum of societal needs."—CMA Management

"The Eye for Innovation is a thoughtful discussion of the very foundations of creative enterprises. Its examples and principles will help forge solutions to high-profile corporate crises as well as to the types of problems encountered daily."—The Journal for Quality and Participation

Selected for Association of American University Presses (AAUP)Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries, 2006
ISBN: 9780300123708
Publication Date: May 28, 2007
352 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
11 b/w figures