Innovation Consulting: What It Is and How to Get a Job as a Consultant

(Last Updated On: 12 April 2019)

Working in innovation consulting is super interesting!

  • What’s the role of an innovation consultant?
  • How do you get a job in innovation?

In this article, I answer these good questions.

What’s innovation consulting

What's innovation consulting
Innovation consulting is a mix of many disciplines

Definition: What’s innovation consulting about ?

Innovation consulting is the practice of helping organisations spot new opportunities and create new products, brands, and/or businesses.

Due to the complex nature of innovation, this is a type of consulting that is at the cross-road of many disciplines:

  • Design
  • Psychology
  • Marketing
  • Anthropology
  • Economics & Strategy
  • Sociology
  • Engineering

As a consequence, innovation consultants tend to have very different backgrounds.

One thing though:

By definition, innovation deals with the unknown.

So the type of projects you’ll have to work on requires you to be driven, resourceful, and comfortable with not having an answer to all the questions.

A creative or analytical job?

What do you think? An innovation consultant is more creative or analytical?

So?

Here’s a myth:

“Innovation consulting is all about having great ideas.”

It is a creative job—no doubt. But having ideas is just an element of it. Innovation consulting is also very analytical.

And the key here is being able to balance both creativity and analysis.

There are moments when you need to be creative (think expansively to generate options) and other moments when you need to be more analytical (think reductively to make the right decisions).

These are two different skill sets.

Good innovation consultants know how and when to pick one or the other.

6 great books about innovation consulting

It’s been scientifically proven that diversity encourages innovation. So innovation consulting firms tend to hire people from various backgrounds.

But there’s one big thing that all innovation consultants have in common:

Curiosity!

And many books are worth reading when you want to land a job as an innovation consultant.

Here’s a short list of 6 books covering topics related to innovation consulting.

Insightful books about innovation

Best books about innovationThere are many books about strategy, marketing, and innovation.

As a starter, I recommend these two:

The Value Mix: Create Meaningful Products and Services for Your Audience

Why read this book: It’s important to have the tools to translate a market research into actionable insight and turn ideas into a proper product strategy.

The Value Mix equips you with a robust framework for creating new value propositions (i.e. new products and services).

Get The Value Mix here.

(I actually wrote The Value Mix as a support for lectures I give to Masters and MBA students who are interested in entrepreneurship, venture capital, and consulting.)

Business Model Generation

Why read this book: It’s crucial to understand the components of the business model of a company.

Business Model Generation gives you a conceptual tool that many firms use for business modelling.

Get Business Model Generation here.

Useful books about job interviews

Best books about job interviewsHere are two books that will significantly increase your abilities to manage a job interview.

Active Interviewing: Branding, Selling, and Presenting Yourself to Win Your Next Job

Why read this book: This book will change the way you show up in an interview and boost your chances of landing the job.

Active Interviewing was a revelation for me. It reframed how I understood the process of interviewing and completely changed the way I prepared and went to an interview.

Get Active Interviewing here.

Cracking the PM Interview: How to Land a Product Manager Job in Technology

Why read this book: The way innovation consultants are interviewed is very close to the way product managers are interviewed.

Cracking the PM Interview gives you a lot of advice on how to prepare yourself to answer questions the interviewers will ask you.

Get Cracking the PM Interview here.

Interesting books about consulting

Best books about consultingIt’s worth digging into the nut and bolt of consulting.

Rain Making: Attract New Clients No Matter What Your Field

Why read this book: You must understand how consultants successfully market and sell their services.

Rain Making dives into the many ways consultants can build their reputations and grow a network in order to sell their services.

Get Rain Making here.

Case Interview Secrets

Why read this book: Finally, you need a good understanding of the hiring process in consulting.

Case Interview Secrets digs into the many details on the hiring process and shares many simple frameworks for solving the infamous “consulting case studies”.

Get Case Interview Secrets here.

Best innovation consulting firms
5 of the major global innovation consulting firms