There is one single thing any large organization can do to dominate its industry. This is not easy. This is not simple but it exists.
I had a chance recently to present K2 Digital Ventures to Board of Directors of global, retail company. My friend and I, we both explained a process of how to build a structure (people, processes, budgets) which will ensure a large company constantly comes up with new product / services ideas. Next, how any large company could test those ideas with customers and how to select only those concepts which have the biggest chances to become strong portfolio. After our presentation, one of the Board of Directors member asked us a great question:
“What would be the one thing, we should focus on, to make sure we will be still a leader of our industry?”.
Our answer came naturally because we have been doing dozen of projects with large companies since 2016. Those companies hired us to help them innovate with audacity and speed of startups. We worked with managers who didn’t understand what it means and with those who felt like a fish in the water with innovation, speed and flexibility. Moreover we had a lot of fun.
We read a lot as well, we built our own companies before, we talked to many innovators. So we could mention many examples of many large companies which innovate like crazy.
Those large companies, which are able to stay on the top are those which are able to test new ideas of products / services massively. Those large companies which adapt to a market, which discover niches constantly, which change their processes constantly are able to stay as leaders of their industries. To achieve speed of adaptation, effectiveness of niche exploring and ability to reinvent a company processes, large organization needs to test innovative ideas massively.
What does it mean then?
- It means to constantly collect ideas from coworkers and employees. Empower people to share those ideas. Test those ideas with large company customers (my other post about is here).
- It means to screen the market constantly and search for business models and technologies. Afterwards to choose an interesting ones and test them with large company customers. Measure impact.
- It means to quickly iterate with customers. Empower core business people (laboratories, logistics, warehouses, production lines specialists, book keepers, accountants, market analysts, etc.) to test their ideas with large company customers. It means to take company people who are not front line on daily basis, to customers. Let them work with customers.
- It means to build new ventures, new companies under umbrella of mother company. Build them, to test new products and services as the separated brand. Shut down those that don’t work, scale those which work.
1+2+3+4 = ability to test innovative ideas / projects quickly. With customers. On the real market. Not under company roof where everything is controlled, predictable and countable. This is the best way to innovate quickly and find new products / services that will drive revenue and profits.
If you like this post, please start small in your large company. Discuss with your people how can you make any of those 4 points happens quickly. Simple discussion with your peers is a great start.
Arek Skuza – coFounder of K2 Digital Ventures which helps large companies design and scale innovative ventures with audacity and speed of startups.