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Unlocking Opportunities for Growth

How to Profit from Uncertainty While Limiting Your Risk

Alexander Van Putten and Ian C. MacMillan

“This book is a must for any Business Development Manager, Corporate Strategist, R&D Director, and anyone else who is accountable for growth in a corporation. It is an easy read that is practical and not fraught with useless academic theories.”

—Ron Pierantozzi, Ph.D., CEO of PPT Research and Former Director, Business Development, Air Products & Chemicals, Inc.

A Breakthrough Approach to Investing in Business Innovation

Most companies analyze investments using tools that bias them against real innovation and lead them to avoid their best opportunities. This book introduces a breakthrough alternative: Opportunity Engineering.

Drawing upon recent advances in financial analysis, but without requiring a lot of math, the authors show how to engineer the risk out of uncertain opportunities so you can pursue more high-payoff innovations. You ll learn how to escape from the go/no-go vise and implement more flexible decision-making that considers “all “the business alternatives, models, and opportunities associated with each project. You ll learn how to systematically structure high-potential projects to limit downside exposure and boost your potential upside.

The authors show how to define the scope of investment opportunities, identify key drivers of potential profits, document assumptions, design out major risks, and tease out key challenges and vulnerabilities.

Using these techniques, you can escape the mindset that limits you to low-impact innovations and begin pursuing serious growth opportunities—and make business uncertainty work for you, not against you.

Why companies avoid their best opportunities for innovation

Getting past risk-averse analysis that snuffs out experimentation and innovation

Systematically engineering your opportunities

Capturing the upside, slicing out the downside

Beyond rigid go/no-go decisions

How flexible, staged innovation creates more opportunities for delivering value

Constructing an engineered growth portfolio of innovation investments

Optimizing your mix of core-enhancing investments and high potential long shots

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About the Authors

Alexander Van Putten

Alexander B. van Putten is an adjunct faculty member at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he has been teaching graduate students since 1993. He is actively involved with Wharton’s executive education programs where he lectures on issues surrounding innovation, corporate entrepreneurship, and strategic growth. He is a partner of Cameron & Associates LLC, which consults on strategy and business planning for clients ranging from Air Products & Chemicals, Shell Global Solutions to Seagate Technology, Novell, and W ... More

Ian C. MacMillan

Ian (Mac) C. MacMillan is the academic director of the Sol C. Snider Entrepreneurial Center and Dhirubhai Ambani professor of entrepreneurial management at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Mac has taught at Columbia University, Northwestern University, and New York University. Prior to joining the academic world, he was a chemical engineer, and gained experience in gold and uranium mines, chemical and explosives factories, oil refineries, soap and food manufacturers, and the South African Atomic Energy Board. He has also been a d ... More

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