Success Hacking

Sense Making

Success Hacking takes a very experimental and evidence based approach to achieving outcomes. Target. Do. Observe. Learn.

Many of the activities I have pursued in my life were conducted in this spirit. I’ve tried to capture them as portfolio projects. Some were not successful per se but the learning in every case was. Which I then took on to my next project.

Success Hacking can be applied to any pursuit. It can be organisationally or business focused. Or you can apply it at an individual level too as I do – my Dharma Hacker post post explains this. As Herbert Otto said,

“Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life.”

From an organisational and business point of view, the world around us has become very complex and is constantly in flux. The only constant is change and the only certainty is uncertainty.

Data is in abundance. In itself, it is only a contributor to complexity. Deriving meaning from it though purposeful experiments is where opportunity lies. These days, as software eats the world, the opportunity to build applications, services and experiences lie everywhere. So too the possibility to collect and understand the data behind them.

The success hacker learns by doing and observing outcomes (and reading the data “tea leaves”), progressing quickly with what works, discarding what doesn’t. They don’t believe in elaborate plans, seeing experimentation as the new planning.

The success hacker is the chief experimenter, sensemaker and intrapreneur in your organisation. Nurture them.

Organisations can and should attend to some basic needs but to succeed going forward they need to become engines of possibility. Creativity and innovation are excellent aspirations for the modern organisation to actualise around. Also for the Success Hacker. In other words, the outcomes we strive for should aim to create new possibilities, new innovations. More on that here: The Modern Organisation’s Hierarchy of Needs.

An obvious outlet for this type of approach is in my professional role as a customer success manager. Indeed they are deeply intertwined. I’m writing about Customer Success in a new eBook / trend report on this site:

You will probably see this approach in everything I do but as linked to earlier, particularly in my portfolio projects.

Innovation is the why, change is the how

Sense Making

There is a lot of talk about being more agile, responsive, lean, etc. These are all very worthwhile approaches. They all very often take a view on different ways of dealing with change starting with the need for change.

The central theme to all of the above is very often that the pace of change is accelerating. We live in exponential times and it becomes an imperative to bake into the organisation the capability to master change. The ability to turn on a dime when the need arises. Very often it is in response to competitive activity and that is increasingly coming from nimble startups disrupting an industry.

Then we need to take into consideration the very substantial industry that exists around managing change in its own right. The purpose of many organisations is purely to facilitate the management of change for other organisations. A substantial part of many organisations is also geared towards offering professional services around managing change.

Amongst the latter organisations, often ones that sell groundbreaking technologies, the focus is frequently geared towards helping organisations deal with the implementation and adoption of the technologies themselves. More fundamentally is the need to change the way you work or think about the way you have been working – a mindset shift in other words. This requires thinking about behaviours and processes, not just the technology. All hard nuts to crack.

What many often miss though, is the real reason for the change itself, the why if you will. All are busy running around changing or trying to change others. Little is understood about the purpose.

The reason the pace of change is accelerating is very often because new innovations are driving users to change their behaviours. This very often forces organisations to change the way they have to deal with these users – customers and/or employees alike.

Some times, in the best cases, the change is brought about by an innovation the organisation itself has come up with. At worst it has been disrupted by another. This is the worst change to manage because it is based on a crises but often it is essential, survival is at stake.

At the intended heart of all innovation, whether disruptive or incremental, is progress. Something that is better than what came before. If you get it right, it is a positive force for good. With progress often comes the need to change.

Why many often put the cart before the horse

Innovation is hard. Anything worthwhile takes time unless you are very lucky and few are. It’s far easier to change something. Many times we do for the sake of it. Just by taking a different tack this provides the appearance of action and we often fool ourselves into believing it is groundbreaking.

As human beings we are also a rather fickle lot. We get bored very easily. Especially with an abundance of digital distractions, it is easy to let ourselves get carried away by the shiny new thing. A new trend here, a new gadget there. Thats all we sometimes need to start following a new piper, but as with the rats, it often ends in a damp squibb.

Organisations are no less susceptible to the vagaries of our time. Many organisations role out one change initiative after another. Many of those initiatives fail – the statistics say that on average over 80% of change initiatives fail. The initiatives are often purported to be in the name of innovation but mostly they are fruitless attempts to fend of another organisations innovation.

How to change the game

Here are some ways to make sure that the change you are making is in pursuit of something truly groundbreaking:

  • Spend a lot of time thinking about the objective of the change effort, this will easily tell you if the reason you are carrying out the change is in pursuit of innovation or just for changes sake
  • Build change capability into your organisation, the ability to very quickly respond to new opportunities in the marketplace – that way you are not at the mercy of change programs
  • Put innovation at the heart of your organisations modus operandi, that means very individual in it is thinking about coming up with new innovations and they are empowered to act on it

Notes for system design

Sense Making

system designI was thinking, since I’ve done some work on a few systems, that I should capture some notes. Guidelines really since I plan to create a few more :)

Here is an example of one system I recently created: Lean startup methodology applied to successful enterprise technology adoption

So here are the notes in summary, in the doodle at left, for easy reference.

Below I’ve added a few points in elaboration.

This is just a very simple take on the things I think that matter. As you can see I scribbled them down on a whim in one of my favourite apps: Paper by FiftyThree.

Before I elaborate on the notes, a few words on systems. Systems thinking is not new and nor is it entirely clear what it is. Just look at the Wikipedia entry on systems thinking to see the myriad sources and references in the article.

So for the purposes of this post I see it as the combination of guidelines that govern a broad base of activities and outcomes and the thinking that goes into making this effective.

1. Outcomes/strategy over process

Key for me is not to get bogged down in the process part. Make it as simple as possible. The more complex the environment or activities the more steps the process will need but should have no more than necessary. Things to focus on is the main purpose, strategy and the outcomes you wish to guide achievement of.

2. Behaviour over technology

Technology and process (the latter already referred to in 1 above) are key components of systems but people, the third, is probably the most important. It’s also the least controllable and therefore the one that requires the most attention. And when it comes to people, it’s their behavious we want to be most attentive to and how to work with them or mould them.

3. Loose principles not rules

Ties in a little with point 8 but worth separating. What I mean here is that it’s important that your guiding principles are open to change. Just as the system should guide iterative thinking (see point 4) the system itself should be open to changing from learning what works and doesn’t. Rules can be put in place but they should not be hard and fast, hence the preference for loose principles.

4. Fail fast and learn

I would steer clear of this practice if it verged on the unethical or being done without the right intentions (good points here on that: Why Silicon Valley’s ‘Fail Fast’ Mantra Is Just Hype). But I do totally believe that a system should allow you to reach points of awareness as quickly as possible about what is not working, so you can abandon the practice and learn from it.

5. Build feedback loops

This ties in with the previous point about learning. The system should have mechanisms that allow you to learn about what is working or not as soon as possible. This is as much about measurement as about capturing learning in effective and shareable ways and then passing that on to all concerned.

6. Be visual and brief

I’m a big fan of design thinking which almost by definition requires some visual element. I’m also a huge fan of doodles to capture insights and share and simplify the complex easily. I just think in this day and age of attention deficit, that drawings and infographics that are effective (no mean feat) are more able to convey critical information than reams of documentation. Ideally they work in tandem, a little like this post. Keep this in mind when capturing your system.

7. Interdependence

No part of a system really works independenly of other parts. All are connected in a web of productivity. Some elements may be two or three steps removed from the other but there should always be awareness of what the levers of interdependence are and how all the parts go to making an effective whole. Systems thinking is after all about holistic thinking.

8. Descriptive not prescriptive

Again this is about not beeing too hard and fast about the behaviours you want your system to guide. The more it describes ways of tackling activities where the user is given freedom to create his or her own optimal path the better. Unless there is a particulary structured or routine activity where it is critical for it to be repeated precisely for quality purposes, you should leave openings for interpretation of different approaches.

Hope this is useful and happy systems building :)

Launch like a boss – bringing consumer startup practice to your enterprise technology platform

Sense Making, Startup Innovation

The users of a technology platform inside an organisation are a peculiar, collective beast. They are very different to the masses of end users that are customers of a consumer product or service. They are also subject to very different forces than the free, open market subject’s consumers to. However, we can draw parallels and bring in comparisons and best practices from the consumer world and startups that launch successfully there. Launching a platform to enterprise users should be seen as no less important than launching on the open market.

In many cases the numbers of users will be vastly different. Inside the organisation the numbers will be on a much smaller scale for most but the very largest of organisations. Types of users also differ. For example, in the consumer world you have customers mixing with employees such as buyers and sellers on a shopping portal or travellers and hotel operators on a booking service, etc. In some cases enterprise platforms will be intended for use with end users or consumers but the platform will still have to be addressed and launched internally first which is what I focus on. Other platforms will be purely for internal use.

Also, their will be a difference between platforms intended for general use and collaboration or communication like intranets and those for specific purposes like HR or Sales software. The former will have the larger number of users generally. The latter will have a more focused niche of users with very specific motives.

Why emphasise the launch? Because its what you do in the first 90 days that matters. So if you are responsible for technology platforms inside your organisation or help those that are, hopefully these tips will be of use.

Its what you do in the first 90 days that matter most

I work as a customer success professional and have done for some time. In that capacity I’ve always been focused on the longer term strategic outlook for a customer’s use because I’ve always had an eye on the renewal date of the software. This generally tends to be at least a year down the line from the time the platform is first used. Most often these days though, its two to three years down the line with longer term contracts being signed.

In my job I advocate meaningful and strategic long-term considerations in the form of a good success plan. I’ve written about that in this primer on SlideShare. The launch phase is covered in the primer but only as part of the longer term approach. So I’m calling it out and expanding on it in this article specifically.

In some organisations, the customer success manager (CSM) is lucky to play a role in the launch of a platform and can effect outcomes positively. In other cases, launch is managed by an implementation manager and the outcomes of a good or bad launch have to be dealt with by the CSM when he or she takes over after the initial implementation phase. If the latter and the CSM is lucky, the hand off will be on the back of a successful launch.

The fact is also that if you don’t tackle the beginning stages properly, tackling the longer term is hugely more difficult, if not impossible. There are major challenges and opportunities with tackling adoption and engagement in the early stages:

  • You only have one chance at making a good first impression. With so much competition for people’s attention, if you don’t make an impact at the beginning you may have lost before you’ve even properly started. These days in fact, not only do you have only one chance at making a first impression, it is severely limited in terms of the time it takes to make it. In many cases it’s decided in the first few seconds or minutes. This article makes the case brilliantly: First-Time Use: How To Reduce The Initial Friction Of App Usage
  • Tackling the long term with a solid base of users that have had a favourable experience in the early stages is vastly easier than otherwise. It’s difficult to claw back good will and enthusiasm when a users first experience is lacklustre. Both from an organisational support as well as product capability point of view.
  • Some may say that the enterprise is different and that these platforms, which might often be critical business systems, don’t need special attention. Besides this, a mandate to use them from the top, from senior execs, will take care of it. Mandating a platforms use is a strategy you could use in the enterprise and this might overcome some resistance and any competition in the early stages. However it is never guaranteed to work and should never be the only strategic lever.
  • Getting a mass sign-up at the outset can almost eliminate uncertainty about a platform’s prospects because it effectively builds critical scale into the platform’s network from day one. This might be more relevant to the mass scale general use platform than the niche one in the enterprise but still important in either case. Users find a platform compelling when there are people on the platform to talk to and learn from and it provides some kind of evidence of early value. Every platform starts out empty, making these worries particularly acute. Building a network or network capability into a product is not easy (good evidence here: ‘Come for the tool, stay for the network’ is wrong) which makes launch activities all the more important.

In the chart below I’ve tried to position where the launch phase would sit in the context of a longer term success plan and its key goals. Achieving the main aim of engaging users and ensuring they derive value from their use of platforms is made immeasurable easier when you launch successfully.


Steps to follow for a successful launch

Based on some excellent experiences from startups and my own with launching dozens of enterprise platforms I have distilled it down to these steps (in no order of sequence or priority):

  1. Communications or marketing. Arguably the most important element of the launch, for startups at least. For the enterprise this should be simple and educational and could include marketing mails pre, during and post the launch phase. Crucially, it should build anticipation ahead of the launch. Think like Steve Jobs – the master marketer at building anticipation for new product launches. Some great ideas that could be transferred from the consumer world can be gleaned from this colossal post by Jeff Bullas: 23 Ways to Build Colossal Pre-Launch Product Buzz. Key as he suggested is building buzz – just make sure the actual reveal is not a let down if you do. Also, make sure to capture the main reason and benefits for using the platform both from an organisational as well as end user point of view.
  2. Supportive collaboration platform and community. The former only be necessary outside of the platform if the one you are launching doesn’t have any conversational or social features included. The purpose would be to build and amplify network effects – as covered in the article shared earlier, a crucial piece of the startups arsenal. Yet the point here is not to focus on the technology but rather the community. The community is what builds stickiness for the platform and that is a positive end if done well, not necessarily the means. The community is primarily where users can leverage their connections to help each other (solving learning issues or any other issue for that matter and for the platform, or more importantly, for the business) as well as share positive outcomes. This latter point is where you can scale success from an early stage in a positive feedback loop of success with the platform and business use cases.
  3. Webinars, training and offline events. You can do many things online to help scale your success efforts (I wrote an article about that here: Scaling your customer success efforts online – a guide) but nothing succeeds like physical interaction face to face. A launch event is a really good idea if you can manage it. Good training (online or off) should be one one of the basic boxes you tick off in this area but that really is just the start. I’ve seen the case far too many times where some training has been delivered (badly for the most part and only focused on features and functions) with the expectation that this is all that is needed and from there users can be left to their own devices. Coming back to the community part, it would be right to think about how you can keep the building of a community in mind when you carry out these activities. For example, offline events are the best way to start seeding an online community and webinars are also a great way to supplement and sustain it.
  4. In app intro’s and help. A lot of support in the early stage can be automated but however you do it, this is a critical time for it. If users get stuck and cannot find a solution to progress their use, it may well end up stalling further use altogether. Setting up a help desk (temporarily or ideally for the long term) that supplements a vendor’s own platform is a good idea. From a platform point of view, users should be able to easily log issues and requests for help that get handled at speed, possibly even in real time. Ideally the platform also offers walk through’s of different features or help buttons that explain a feature. Rich media like video or perhaps gifs should also be adopted.
  5. Senior exec sponsorship. In the startup world this might be enthusiastic customers that have been on a beta version of your product or service and are happy to speak for it. In the enterprise we speak of sponsorship which is a better way of framing the importance of using a platform than mandating it. However, if the platform is business critical from the get go, the task of mandating its use is made easier. Doing either well means explaining clearly why its important to use and why its critical to the business. When senior execs participate and show their involvement by leading from the front that helps greatly too. Sponsorship is a far more participatory approach but actual participation from senior business leaders is critical for success.
  6. Champions. In the startup world this would mean bloggers and other thought leaders and potential brand advocates. Giving them special attention, sneak peeks and information upfront is key before launch. In the organisation, having a network of super users that you identify far in advance of launch day is critical. They should be predisposed to using the platform and supporting other users. Pre-train them to a very high level. These users will be the early adopters and advocates that help scale your adoption and engagement efforts and pull other users along. You should have an entire program dedicated to identifying, building, growing and rewarding this cohort of users. Incentives to be and for being a member of the program would go a long way to making it successful.

What if you fail to launch successfully?

Then, as in Brian Chesky’s case (co-founder and CEO of Airbnb), don’t fret as you still have two more chances. At least that is, if you haven’t bungled the non communication aspects. This point only really applies if you launched and no one noticed. Maybe the timing was wrong and employees were too busy with other priorities or you simply bungled the communication and the messages didn’t resonate or make a big enough impact.

If on the other hand you have made the wrong choice of platform or the platform had terrible problems, bugs and issues, well then you have a harder task. Coming back from the latter is not going to be achieved simply by relaunching :)

Can you outsource success?

Sense Making

3 minute read.

I’m in the success business. I work at Percolate, a marketing technology startup. I help drive the successful use of our technology by customers. I’ve done the same in roles before this at Yammer and then Microsoft.

Customer Success Management (CSM) is a pretty new role and function. It started with enterprise technology startups. It’s now applied at many companies that focus on subscription offerings. I’ve written about it here: Customer Success Management – Experience Hacking for the Subscription Age. That links to a slide deck on SlideShare and is a useful primer if you need it.

The belief is that customers cannot achieve successful use of enterprise technology alone. This makes sense since it is often less than simple. You wouldn’t expect a simple iPhone app to need customer success intervention.

Its most important goal is retaining the customer. It’s most applicable where the service is subscription based where it is easy for a customer to churn. If customers use technology with success and derive value from it, use will continue. This is a key assumption behind customer success efforts.

Success management is not just about enterprise technology. The self help business which is worth huge amounts is in many ways about success management. The focus of all the books and programs is to achieve success through some endeavour or another.

success-design-chanceThere are similarities between the two approaches. A common factor is that to achieve success you have to start with the individual or organisation. If the individual or organisation is not committed, success will not ensue.

If you read my primer you will see that it emphasises a robust program, another common factor . The elements of the program vary. From having a good strategy and planning process to support technologies and community. Rooted in this is the belief that success can not be left to chance. The view is that good design gets the organisation there with a greater chance at success. 

This would also hold true to the individual. It’s no less what many countless self-help programs promise. That if you follow a good program well, you will be successful.

Of course the suitability and robustness of the program is important. But that consideration is for another post.

You could argue with what has greater influence on chances of success. It could be that the commitment and attitude taken is more important. In an organisational context as well as for the individual, there are many other factors too. For instance, in the organisation, culture plays a key role.

The point of this post is not to argue one over the other. Let’s assume you need a balance. I also want to come back to my main focus which is customer success management in an enterprise context.

Let’s accept that a function like customer success management is necessary. We’ll believe that it should incorporate a well designed approach. We’ll agree that on balance, the customer needs to commit. Organisational factors like culture also need to be supportive.

Now to the crux of the matter. Why is it that so many fail to take responsibility?

I often see customers accept the validity of the program. They accept that the technology will not deliver results on its own. They accept that they have to take responsibility and commit. Yet all too often I find they don’t.

I see many reasons why this is the case and wanted to list a few:

  1. Accountability: No one knows who is responsible and so its easy to pass the buck
  2. Purpose: No one knows what they are trying to achieve or why and there is no wiifm (what’s in it for me) for key users.
  3. Resources: Not enough time or the right people are not involved to do what it takes to achieve success.
  4. Attention: So many competing tools and areas of work compete for attention. This leads to a lack of focus.

One to to highlight because it’s so pernicious is: it’s the vendors responsibility.

It may be the raison d’être of a customer success manager. Yet there is no way ultimate responsibility for customers success can fall in his or her hands. There are many reasons for this but most of all it’s because the CSM is not part of the organisation. It’s why I think you cannot outsource success, to answer my main question.

It doesn’t matter how integrated a CSM becomes in the customer’s business nor how good the program is. The customer has to commit and take full responsibility for the best chances of success.

Five paradoxes to navigate when trying to reinvent your business

Sense Making

5 paradoxes reinvention

Often labelled change or transformation efforts (and there is some confusion about which is which: We Still Don’t Know the Difference Between Change and Transformation) there is little doubt organisation’s of all kind are under increasing pressure to keep pace with a rapidly shifting marketplace. I chose reinvention because it’s the more innovative and proactive approach in my mind. Fashionable these days is also the label disruption which is probably overused and somewhat pernicious. I also aptly used the term navigation because the waters are choppy and the destination or purpose of many of these efforts, whatever you label them, is very seldom reached as planned. It’s no secret that success rates are greatly in question too. But the question is what gets in the way.

I’m no expert change practitioner and have made my priorities of where it fits known before. Based on my lay observations over the years as a participant or observer of a great many efforts in this space, I think this will be a constant tussle. I put it down to the ever present paradoxes listed below.

Change and resistance

The pace of change is increasing exponentially hitting many industries incessantly. Inherent in many organisations that have operated in the same way for many years and been highly successful at it, is a natural resistance to the change they see outside. Until it’s too late that is, but that’s for another point. And the paradox is that sometimes the greater the external need to change is, the more resistance there is to adapting to it from internal forces.

Leaders and blockers

Leadership (that is, senior executives) are often looked to, to drive the transformation. Indeed they are most often the ones that come up with the need and plan to change. Sometimes they end up being unable to live the change. It ends up being lip service. They expect others to do the heavy lifting on change work. In extreme cases they actively block the change. At worst, their lack of authentic engagement stymies successful change.

People and tools/processes

It’s easy to look to tools and/or processes first for solutions. They are inanimate and don’t talk back. You can draw pretty diagrams, flow charts and graphs or point out funky features that will lead to success. The difficult work is dealing with people and they are also through whom the real execution takes place. The culture (another loosely formed construct with powerful impact) of the current organisation and how receptive it is to changing is where work is also required but seldom with looked to first.

Network and hierarchy

Hierarchical management approaches have served the organisation for many years and although it has come into question in recent years, may still suffice for larger organisation’s that operate at massive global scale. What it is definitely less effective for is when change is required especially when it needs to happen fast. Information flows are not efficient in a hierarchy. In a network, information is not bound or contained and can flow as it needs to, to find its most useful outlet.

Innovation and crises

The worst way to try and reinvent yourself is when you are reacting, when you are being forced to make it happen out of necessity. Far better would be to have the luxury of foresight and planning and a deep level understanding to decide what and how you will reinvent the business. Not as a knee jerk reaction. Far better ultimately would be to have the capability to ingrained into the business – to be able to predict changes needed ahead of time and respond intuitively and ahead of the curve.

Why leaders of digital initiatives inside organisations need to think like start-ups

Startup Innovation

think like a startupOr to put it another way, why they need to be more intrapreneurial. I have written about this before on LinkedIn and its also covered in my trend report although those are broader pieces covering more than just digital initiatives.

What I am talking about here relates to initiatives that I am often involved in with my work at Microsoft. The application of collaborative and social (digital) technologies to increase employee engagement and productivity. The end goal is to improve the performance of the company.

First of all lets explore why they don’t think this way currently. Digital initiatives are often separated from the core functions of a business. They get assigned to a department (often IT, corporate communications or HR) and set a budget.

They are seen as a cost centre with no accountability for the impact their efforts have on the bottom line. Assimilation of their activities with those of the business is often difficult.

Because their focus is inward they don’t see the audience of users they touch as customers. They don’t treat them like customers with needs that must be satisfied. They don’t understand that users have competing alternatives for tools and for their time.

They often don’t understand the currency of usage. They don’t see that to derive value, users first need to adopt then engage with a service. This doesn’t happen without support, marketing, training and other guidance. They don’t see the need for that effort and hope it will happen as if by magic.

At worst, where the cost of a digital service is subscription based, they see the need to keep use and costs down.

Finally, they are too often change oriented. They run digital initiatives in the context of a business transformations. This is like putting the cart before the horse. Change is a “what” or “how” component. The “why” component they should be thinking about is innovation.

Ten reasons why and how they should

  1. All startups with some form of digital offering have a clear focus on usage. Its the one metric to rule them all. Not having users using their applications means not having a business. This provides a sobering attention to this detail that digital leaders would do well to heed.
  2. Aligned to usage is growth. The closer to the shape of a hockey stick, in trajectory terms, the better. All means fair and foul (within the law) should achieve it. Growth hacking is an experimental way of tackling it that digital leaders should adopt.
  3. Experimentation is the new planning for startups. They don’t have time to create long winded master plans. Speed is of the essence. They build a minimum viable product based on a theory (hypothesis) of what will work and then test it. They iterate from there, course correcting as they go.
  4. Most startups fail. Competition is tough. If you are not standing out you will likely end up lying down (six feet under). A more cut throat and differentiated approach will do digital leaders no harm.
  5. Innovation lies at the heart of any startups efforts – the ones that succeed that is. They are either trying to be first with something new, better than others or more cost effective. In an organisation that cost saving should be for time and ease of doing work.
  6. Disruption is innovation at its finest. If a startup can change the way an entire industry can work then it has reached the pinnacle of its existence. This is the way to view transformation in your organisation – to get it to work in a completely new way.
  7. Customer obsession and success lie at the heart of a startups efforts. They hire teams of customer success managers to focus on this. A digital leader would do well to consider their internal users like customers. They should also have teams focused on this. I’ve written about the combination of growth hacking and customers success management before.
  8. If usage is the currency for a startup then data is the means to measure it. You have to have deep insights into why users are using a product or service and why not. Acting on these insights is critical to improvements in the business.
  9. For startups to get started they often need funding. They seek it from venture capitalists (VC’s). VC’s are a discerning lot and see many startups pitch their offering. They decide on the basis of the pitch’s effectiveness. As a digital leader you will need funding. Master the art of your pitch.
  10. The new paymaster is the business. Convince the business of what you are trying to do. Integrate yourself and your staff deep into the bowels of the business. Show them the money.

Have I missed any? What do you think?


Entrepreneurial management over traditional management in highly uncertain times

Startup Innovation

IMG_0383Most of this diagram comes from the book The Innovators Method which I read recently for and included in my trend report. The essence of the book and indeed my trend report is how to bring the lean startup approach into the organisation.

I have made the commentary in the diagram at the top referring to the pressures established companies are increasingly under to improve the rate of innovation within their organisations. This is covered in the book too but I wanted to call it out as one of the most compelling propositions from the book.

This is the one wake up call to management they should heed above all the many others they have been admonished to in recent years.

All you have to do is take a look at Apple, until very recently the champion of innovators worldwide. In a relatively short time it became the most valued and valuable company on the back of industry disrupting innovation. Now already in an even shorter time it is being questioned and people are wondering if it’s lost its mojo and can create innovative products as it used to in terms of impact and pace.

I won’t even link to articles on this prognostication of Apples lack of innovation success of late – just do a search at roughly the date of this blog post and you’ll find plenty.

It also doesn’t take a genius to know that the pace of change is accelerating and the pressure to react to the change through innovation is needed more than ever before.

The answer: think like a startup. Read my latest trend report to find out which companies have cottoned onto this already and how you can go about doing it too.