OK, I received more than a few comments that last week’s reading list was a bit aggressive.  Given the season and the fact that we want to leave everyone with adequate time to go out and do their part volunteering as well as stimulating the economy, I’ve trimmed the list this week to two great articles in the December issue of Harvard Business Review.

While HBR is a subscription publication (and in my opinion, mandatory reading for all professionals), a number of the feature articles are accessible at no charge during the month of publication.  I know they started this last year to promote subscriptions and it appears to still be the policy.

The first article is Finding and Grooming Breakthrough Innovators by Jeffrey Cohn, Jon Katzenbach and Gus Vlak.  The authors shoot down many of the myths that exist in identifying and nurturing innovators in the organization and offer some powerful and practical suggestions for recognizing and finding innovators and what to do with them once you’ve found them.

The article is framed by the questions most on the mind of board members and executives:  “How can we sustain innovation? And Do we have a plan for developing future leaders who can facilitate this goal?” You’ll leave this article armed with plenty of thoughts on innovation in your work environment and some ideas to put into practice.

Article number two ratchets up the innovation theme with Reinventing Your Business Model by some true heavy hitters.  Clayton Christensen (Innovator’s Dilemma), Henning Kagermann, co-CEO of SAP and Mark Johnson, Chairman of Innosight, an innovation and strategy consulting firm collaborate to help you better understand your business model and how to change it to leverage innovation.

This is a heady article by some sharp people, although I can’t help thinking that the book Tuned In does a better job distilling down the concept of adapting your approach to finding and filling unresolved needs and building your business around your customers.  Read the article for ideas on defining, dissecting and reinventing your business model and then pick up a copy of Tuned In for a slightly more practical approach to a critical issue.

Enjoy your reading time and don’t forget to take notes.