Leading With Innovation – A Hiebing Book Report

August 17, 2020by Hiebing

At our latest agency book club meeting, we discussed “The Three Box Solution” by Vijay Govindarajan. The book unpacks a framework for leading innovation and continuous learning by preserving the present, forgetting the past and creating the future – helping leaders resolve the tension between managing their high-performing businesses and investing in innovation. If time for reading is on your side, consider picking up a copy here. If not, here are five key takeaways from our team.


1. High-performing companies experience a tension between ongoing operations and innovation – and resolving that tension requires a framework.

2. The Three Box Solution is a simple framework that encourages companies to preserve the present (Box 1), destroy the past (Box 2) and build the future (Box 3).

3. Examining these boxes requires dedicated time, attention and resources, the result of which helps transform organizations on a continuous basis and powers them forward.

4. To balance Boxes 1, 2 and 3, leadership must:

    • Identify traps of the past and avoid repeating them.
    • Be mindful of the weak signals around you, including emerging trends in the economy, consumer taste and technology. These weak signals help inform the areas for innovation that have potential for change.
    • Remember that the future is built in the present – and one day at a time.
    • Seize opportunities to experiment and learn.
    • Practice planned opportunism at the intersection between chance events and intentional choices, which will help you better prepare for the future.

5. Finding balance between the three boxes creates a change-ready culture, which makes it possible for businesses to operate successfully and innovate continuously.

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