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Inventing the Almost Impossible

Creating, Teaching, Funding, and Leading Radical Innovation

  • Book
  • © 2023


  • Offers practice and policy insights into innovation design
  • Gathers an intergenerational and interdisciplinary set of expert insights
  • Helps with strategy design and implementation of radical innovations

Part of the book series: Future of Business and Finance (FBF)

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Table of contents (9 chapters)


About this book

Looking to pioneer scientific and technological breakthroughs that create entirely new industries? This book serves as your guide. It goes beyond patents, diving deep into the intersection of foresight, engineering, and business. Explore how teams at renowned organizations such as ARPA-E, IKEA, and H2 Green Steel create radical innovation. Through critical analysis, industry case studies, and teaching examples, an international and interdisciplinary group of scholars, practitioners, and mavericks offer practical advice for bringing visionary development to life. Whether you're seeking to invent the seemingly impossible or solve problems for which no market exists yet, this book renews the research agenda for the deliberate study of invention. It will inspire and provoke you to expand your thinking and push boundaries.

Editors and Affiliations

  • Department of Mechanical Engineering, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden

    Tamara Carleton

  • Institute of Innovation and Technology Management, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Art, Horw, Switzerland

    Shaun West

  • Institute for Information Management, University of St. Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzerland

    William R. Cockayne

About the editors

Tamara Carleton, PhD, is is an international expert in radical innovation. She is the CEO of Innovation Leadership Group, teaches at several top-ranked business schools and technical universities around the world, and is the lead author of Building Moonshots: 50+ Ways to Turn Radical Ideas into Reality and the Playbook for Strategic Foresight and Innovation, which has been used by hundreds of teams to be more innovative.

Shaun West gained a PhD from Imperial College in London, Shaun worked for over 25 years in several businesses related to industrial services. He started his industrial career with AEA Technology before moving to National Power, where he developed and sold services to external businesses. After an MBA at HEC (Paris), he moved to GE Energy Services, modeling and negotiating long-term service agreements. At Sulzer, he drafted the strategy that led to the service division tripling in size over ten years and executed part of the strategy by acquiring a 220M CHF service business. Now at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, he is the Professor of Product-Service System Innovation. He focuses his research on supporting industrial firms to develop and deliver new services and service-friendly business models. He is passionate with exploring complex systems to understand the problems better and to build better solutions faster. He is a member of the advisory board for ASAP Service Management Forum and a member of the Swiss Alliance of Data-Intensives Services. Shaun lives close to Zurich with his wife and two children. He climbs, skis and runs.

William Cockayne, PhD, is a techno-optimistic leader with a passion for transforming science fiction into reality. For twenty years, he taught students at Stanford University how teams imagine, invent, and ship the future. Cockayne has been at the forefront of emerging technologies for decades, notably virtual reality. He founded and ran an early VR sites list in the mid-1990s and was part of a ground-breaking, DARPA-funded biomedical research program at the US Naval Postgraduate School. He has founded multiple startups, directed Kodak’s venture incubator in Silicon Valley, was a researcher at the Mercedes-Benz R&D center in North America, and worked as an engineer at Apple in his early days.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Inventing the Almost Impossible

  • Book Subtitle: Creating, Teaching, Funding, and Leading Radical Innovation

  • Editors: Tamara Carleton, Shaun West, William R. Cockayne

  • Series Title: Future of Business and Finance

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Business and Management, Business and Management (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-36223-1Published: 28 October 2023

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-031-36226-2Due: 28 November 2023

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-36224-8Published: 27 October 2023

  • Series ISSN: 2662-2467

  • Series E-ISSN: 2662-2475

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: V, 101

  • Number of Illustrations: 1 b/w illustrations, 7 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Business and Management, general, Science Education, Entrepreneurship

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