A Doer's Manifesto for Starting from a Hunch, Prototyping Problems, Scaling Up, and Learning to Be Productively Wrong

By Luis Perez-Breva

Foreword by Edward Roberts

Innovating is for doers: you don't need to wait for an earth-shattering idea, but can build one with a hunch and scale it up to impact.
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Innovating is for doers: you don't need to wait for an earth-shattering idea, but can build one with a hunch and scale it up to impact.

Innovation is the subject of countless books and courses, but there's very little out there about how you actually innovate. Innovation and entrepreneurship are not one and the same, although aspiring innovators often think of them that way. They are told to get an idea and a team and to build a show-and-tell for potential investors. In Innovating, Luis Perez-Breva describes another approach—a doer's approach developed over a decade at MIT and internationally in workshops, classes, and companies. He shows that to start innovating it doesn't require an earth-shattering idea; all it takes is a hunch. Anyone can do it. By prototyping a problem and learning by being wrong, innovating can be scaled up to make an impact. As Perez-Breva demonstrates, "no thing is new" at the outset of what we only later celebrate as innovation.

In Innovating, the process—illustrated by unique and dynamic artwork—is shown to be empirical, experimental, nonlinear, and incremental. You give your hunch the structure of a problem. Anything can be a part. Your innovating accrues other people's knowledge and skills. Perez-Breva describes how to create a kit for innovating, and outlines questions that will help you think in new ways. Finally, he shows how to systematize what you've learned: to advocate, communicate, scale up, manage innovating continuously, and document—“you need a notebook to converse with yourself,” he advises. Everyone interested in innovating also needs to read this book.


$34.95 T ISBN: 9780262035354 424 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 34 b&w illus.


$27.95 T ISBN: 9780262536127 424 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 34 b&w illus.


Edward Roberts.


  • Luis Perez-Breva provides a prospective guide for how to innovate, providing the mindsets and mental models necessary to develop new ideas. These lessons can be easily applied not just by entrepreneurs, but by those leading or working in large organizations.

    Derek Norman

    Head of Corporate Venture Capital, Syngenta

  • Innovating is an extraordinary book—whip-smart, original, and engagingly written. Filled with illuminating examples and surprising, often counterintuitive insights, this doer's guide should be the go-to book for all current and future innovators.

    Amy Chua

    John M. Duff, Jr. Professor of Law, Yale University; author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and coauthor of The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America

  • Luis Perez-Breva has produced a unique and essential work: a book about innovating that is truly innovative. Unlike scores of books that claim to close in on some magical formula for innovation, this book will open your thinking in ways that can truly lead you from insight to impact. Whatever your field, Innovating will change the way you approach the process of transforming a hunch into a scalable solution.

    Jordan W. Smoller

    Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; author of The Other Side of Normal

  • In his unique and provocative book, Perez-Breva argues that innovating is a discipline unto itself. As someone leading a multi-generational family business, I found his approach to scaling up particularly intriguing: he shows how innovating can be used by a business to continually rebuild itself on the foundation of its past successes.

    Amy Schumacher

    President, The Heritage Group