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Nearly all innovation is done by teams. And while there are many books about the innovation process, and also many about managing teams, the management of innovation teams has gone unaddressed.


This matters, because innovation teams are not like other teams. Most teams and their managers know where they are headed. They’ve probably been there and done it previously, more than once. Innovation is different. The problem objective has been outlined, but the journey and the destination are full of unknowns and untrieds. The team is tasked with going where none have gone before—with scaling a mountain whose height, form, and hidden passes are unknown, and doing so before a rival team from the other side of the mountain finds the summit.


There’s no simple formula to enable innovation team managers to accomplish this daunting task. But Jonathan Cagan and Peter Boatwright—Carnegie Mellon professors and practitioners with a combined 50+ years of experience in research, consulting, and hands-on innovation—have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t.


In Managing the Unmanageable, they offer 13 tips that can greatly improve the odds for success for any innovation team. Filled with eye-opening real-world examples, bolstered by groundbreaking research studies, and enlivened with illustrations by artist Kurt Hess, it’s a quick, fascinating read that any manager with a mandate to innovate will find irresistible—and essential.

MANAGING THE UNMANAGEABLE by Jonathan Cagan and Peter Boatwright

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  • Jonathan Cagan is the David and Susan Coulter Head of Mechanical Engineering and the George Tallman and Florence Barrett Ladd Professor, with courtesy appointment in Design, at Carnegie Mellon University, where he has been on the faculty since 1990. Along with Peter Boatwright, Jon created the Integrated Innovation Institute and its professional masters degrees. Jon has consulted for three decades with a variety of companies to guide their teams through the product innovation process, as well as guiding hundreds of university teams that have worked with companies through that process. By merging design thinking with artificial intelligence, machine learning, optimization, and cognition, Jon has been a founder of the fields of generative design and hybrid AI/human design teams, with nearly 300 peer-reviewed publications and 7 issued and 2 pending patents. Jon has co-authored three previous books: Creating Breakthrough Products, The Design of Things to Come, and Built to Love (the latter two with Peter Boatwright).


    Peter Boatwright is the Allan D. Shocker Professor of Marketing and New Product Development at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, where he has been on the faculty since 1997. Peter also serves as director of the Integrated Innovation Institute, a market-focused center designed to speed the pace of innovation, which he co-founded with Jonathan Cagan. Peter has consulted with companies ranging from the Fortune 100 to entrepreneurial startups, with a focus on innovation management and product strategy. He has led innovation teams that produced dozens of patents as well as successful products in the marketplace. Peter has taught courses on new product management, pricing strategy, digital marketing, product development, brand strategy, and marketing research. His work on a variety of business topics has been published in academic journals, and he has co-authored two previous books on innovation with Jonathan Cagan, The Design of Things to Come and Built to Love.

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