By Vijay Govindarajan and Chris Trimble
Harvard Business Review Press, $30.00, 230 pages

Innovation is the key to grow the economy. Many economists feel that without innovation the American economy will cease to grow and be a dynamic force on the world stage. But innovation is becoming harder and harder to do, and more expensive.  What can companies do to help hold down costs, and at the same time innovate new products? This book covers the concept of reverse innovation: the idea that you create new products in the market you are aiming for, and bring them back to your home market. GE created portable ECG scanners for use in India but they work well in the United States for ambulances and small practices. The idea is to help create new products for emerging markets. It is not just a one-size-fits-all, or just waiting until the economy grows and they will automatically buy your product. You have to learn from the ground up or else you will be left in the dust.

The authors make a few good points, but they are a bit too optimistic about growth prospects for some of the emerging markets. Innovation is always a good idea, just don’t go overboard.

Reviewed by Kevin Winter