Are we not all ‘entrepreneurs’ in a big company? Why not actively Disrupt and Innovate?
It is extremely energizing meeting incredibly competent people at the various companies that I visit. Fabulously talented, educated engineers, designers and other company employees at various ranks who ‘really’ know their business. They know how the products are build, their use applications and marketability. In addition they are uniquely connected with the customers and understand the customer’s needs and requirements. This applies to all companies that I meet. When I meet folks in Sales I love it, they are so connected and aware of the customer, their current and future needs.
Two additional things strike me about these employees:
- They know very well what parts of their products and services don’t work and what is lacking in the offerings.
- They have extremely creative ideas about new offerings. They are great advocates of disruption in order to innovate. True members of the Culture of Disruption. Their energy is inspiring!
However, it becomes clear that these same individuals do not embark on disruption to innovation in their respective companies and roles. In fact, a good while ago they stopped being disruptive and innovative. There are many reasons often quoted. Such as, not having management support or not being in an environment that encourages innovation and fear that they would be perceived as being ‘de-focused’ if they pushed too hard in new business areas. Sometimes, out of frustration the best and the brightest leave the company, searching for a place where they can be inspired and flourish, to a startup or another big company.
The biggest loser in this scenario is the company. There is nothing more painful for an organization than to lose talented, dedicated and creative staff. Not only does it cost an enormous amount of money and time to build highly functional teams, but the loss of talented employees is a great loss to the company and leaves a sour taste for the one’s remaining.
So, we start discussing alternatives: How to innovate when the path is not that simple?
Here is my recommendation:
I often recommend that if you have a great idea and want to introduce it into your company as a new offering/innovation, WRITE A SIMPLE BUSINESS PLAN! Don’t expect to walk up to your manager and unveil your thoughts and expect immediate acceptance, rather, view this as a real business plan, with pros and cons, risk and reward and upside analysis. Exactly as an entrepreneur would do. Difference is that instead of asking for funding from VC’s, the ‘funder’ is your company. Learn to be patient and collaborative in the process and don’t make rash decisions.
We are all entrepreneurs in big companies. The more passionate, enthusiastic and innovative we are , the more we will succeed in infecting others with our passion and vision. We need to crisply articulate the vision. We will need to prove that the idea has legs to stand on, and the company take a closer look.
Be patient as this process takes a long time. If your innovation is good and warrants the disruption, you will find someone in the company to champion you. That is all you need. Knowing your champions are key. Remember that failure is part of trying but failure is BECAUSE you tried. So, sure maybe the best support is not there for you immediately, but there is a lot there for you.
People respect genuine passion. Harnessed right, it can be infective and you will get the support. And if one idea fails, there are tons others. Like an entrepreneur we buckle up and try again. That is what entrepreneurs do . There is a ton of failure before great successes happen.
What do you think? In ProVoke I discuss this in the Chapter titled: The Culture of Disruption and the Enterprise. Would love to hear what you think.
Picked up a copy of Provoke yet? You can find it on Amazon. All my best,