Geoffrey Moore’s “Dealing with Darwin”


A recent recommendation lead me to “Dealing with Darwin”, a superb book on sustaining innovation within the enterprise.

Interestingly, one of Moore’s core models is almost a carbon copy of the Stages of an Enterprise model, but he goes a long way to elaborate on the “entrepreneurial button”, especially as it pertains to the use of technology and the innovation that is necessary to push the button. Better still, he actually breaks down the different types of innovation that are necessary at each stage of the enterprise. I’ve attached the model (geoff_moore_SE_innov_model.jpg) where he illustrates the different innovation types through the lifecycle. In that graphic, he’s also overlaid (bottom left) his “Technology Adoption Life-Cycle” model, which describes the adoption of disruptive technologies. Very, very applicable to Web 2.0 topics, SOA related sessions, or even ERP sessions.


I included the second model, as well, because it is part of a suite of models he uses to illustrate the point that innovation of itself is not valuable, but gains value only when it helps to achieve economic advantage. His discussion in this area serves as excellent guidance in any of our innovation sessions, as it helps to lay out a framework to distinguish between innovation that increases productivity, neutralizes the advantage of a competitor, differentiates one from their competitors, or is just plain wasteful.


Recommendation: get this book!

3 Responses to “Geoffrey Moore’s “Dealing with Darwin””

  1. David Locke
    October 15, 2007 at 5:10 pm #

    Moores books demonstrate what Tom Peters considered a necessity for consultants, a vector of differentiation, or methodology vector. No matter how many books Moore has written, he will always have more work, because his technology platform evolves.

    During the bust, it was said that the telcoms would reap a 10x benefit above that of the dot coms. Post-bust, business went back to being blue-chip focused, so Moore took his Chasam theory and the technology adoption lifecycle (TALC) in that direction. The TALC was the driver of his pre-bust methodology. The enterprise component came latter. The TALC is about radical innovation. The enterprise component is about sustaining innovation.

    MG Taylor’s mention of the entreprenurial button in his Stages of an Enterprise Model presents a hopeful solution to Christensen’s “Innovators Dilemma.” Pressing the button isn’t that the innovation won’t be allowed to happen. It is more that not pressing the button won’t get you a market or a zeroed out cost structure. The entreprenuial button is only a problem for disruptive innovations.

    In one of Christensen’s later books it turns out that classifying an innovation as being disruptive or not is a coywriter’s exercise. It is entirely about words, but those words can create a new category, or take a lot less off the table. It is the words that matter to the view the market sees. Those words are marketing, not technology.

    Taylor’s Stages model is accurate for all businesses up to the entreprenurial button. The entreprenurial button is just about disruptive innovation.

    Many of the things that people call disruptive are not disruptive. SOA isn’t disruptive. Try using Christensen’s definition of disruptive, rather than thinking anything with a buzzword is disruptive. Is it old, proven technology being sold into non-adopting markets? If yes, then I’ll agree. If it can be sold by the existing sales force, then it is sustaining. If it can be sold to the existing customer base, then it is sustaining. If nobody wants it, because the centralized networking of tradition IT is what everyone wants, then it is disruptive. New does not mean disruptive or radical. Hot does not mean disruptive or radical.

  2. Daniel Craig
    August 13, 2008 at 8:01 am #

    Hello, I was looking around for a while searching for erp methodology and I happened upon this site and your post regarding Geoffrey Moore’s “Dealing with Darwin”, I will definitely this to my erp methodology bookmarks!

  3. BBC Webhosting
    November 21, 2010 at 10:43 am #

    where can we download or buy this book?

Leave a Reply

Participatory Legislation
Don Tapscott