Here is a nice review of Sramana Mitra’s Innovation: Need Of The Hour, volume four of the Entrepreneur Journeys book series, by ForeWord Clarion Reviews:
“The time is now for ‘a system that rewards long-term, sustained effort in solving humanity’s biggest problems, not one driven by unbridled greed,’ Sramana Mitra writes in the fourth volume in her series on entrepreneurism. Her call to action asserts itself in the wake of the recent financial meltdown, and Mitra is resolute in her demand for increased innovation among entrepreneurs and ‘the value creator’s return to power.’ Despite a risk-averse economic environment, especially for venture capitalists, Mitra argues that the stranglehold on credit, equity investments, mergers, and other transactions that propel businesses is verging on hazardous because it ultimately squelches big ideas just when they are most needed.
At the core of Mitra’s ethos is a kind of American spirit that prizes optimism, resourcefulness, and in her words, ‘bootstrapping’ and ‘shoestring’ innovation. She believes that the best ideas, and very often, the most successful businesses, are not just those founded on great ideas or designs, but are those that respond to needs or problems. With her own background in engineering and computer science, Mitra seems especially keen on how these fields can be marshaled to address challenges in healthcare and cleantech. She’s also a believer in the role that academic institutions can play in fostering new entrepreneurs. Innovation: Need Of The Hour is constructed around interviews with leading innovators in all of these arenas. She frames the discussion with brief, analytical introductions, followed by her conversations with the entrepreneurs she deems exemplars. This format results in a quick, readable text that is made even more approachable by other design features that draw attention to key insights and advice along the way.
Mitra teases out background stories, educational paths, and the inspiration that preceded some of the businesses recognized as groundbreaking and foundational within their sectors. She and her subjects get into some detail, talking about how certain companies were launched and made profitable, but also about some of the pitfalls and hard lessons learned along the way. Ashar Aziz, for example, raised $100 million in startup money for this first company, which was then spent at breakneck speed, well before they were generating any revenue. His advice: ‘The higher the capital intensity, the greater the risk of ultimate failure.’
This kind of pithy advice is easy to come by in Mitra’s book, but it is grounded in a thoughtful discussion of the very process by which groundbreaking innovation actually occurs. Mitra’s prose style is clean, clear, and to the point—presumably a skill she has honed while writing her business blog, Sramana Mitra on Strategy, and writing a column for Forbes. Her latest book offers a window into the zest for creation and dogged perseverance at the core of so many successful startups. It lays out some ideas for putting unemployed engineers back to work, and it is a worthwhile read for savvy innovators who are considering going into business with their own big ideas.”
This segment is a part in the series : Entrepreneur Journeys Book Review