In his latest book, The Three Box Solution, Govindarajan distills his research and teaching into an easy-to-understand, three-box framework for business leaders looking to innovate.
The most important lesson of the book, but perhaps a hard lesson to practice, says Govindarajan, is that the future is now.
“The future is not about what you have to do in the future: it’s about what you have to do now to create the future,” he says. “You have to understand, based on weak signals, how your industry will change in the future. The exercise has to start with imagining the future and then deciding whether things you are doing today are relevant and discarding those that aren’t.”
“In box 1, you manage the present; in box 2, you selectively forget the past; and in box 3, you create the future,” says Govindarajan. “A CEO has to make a deliberate, purposeful effort to achieve a balance among all three boxes—a balance of energy, time, and resources. The problem isn’t that CEOs lack focus on box 1; the problem is that they lack focus on boxes 2 and 3.”