Book Brief: Renovate Before You Innovate

Renovate Before You Innovate: Why Doing the New Thing Might Not Be the Right Thing
By Sergio Zyman with Armin A. Brott
Portfolio, September 2004 256 pages, $24.95

Well, you can’t say he doesn’t know the subject matter. Zyman, who was in charge of marketing when the Coca-Cola Co. introduced (and then pulled just 77 days later) New Coke, argues here that innovation is a) over-rated, b) costly and c) dangerous since it can potentially distract a company from what it does best. Renovation—by which he means revitalizing what you already have—is easier, he contends (because you already have a customer base) and faster (because you already have most of the expertise in-house). While Zyman lays out a framework for how to renovate efficiently, his major contribution is getting you to think about improving what you have before trying something radically new.

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