How to deal with startup fever in your company, part 1

Most corporations that have missed the so-called digital revolution, try to medicate with startups. In many cases this is both silly and dangerous. Let’s try to be smarter about this widespread startup fever…

While the first wave of the digital revolution is now well over, most corporations are victims of some level of rude awakening. Surprisingly enough for me, the sovereign cure for their lack of strategic vision has been isolated: startups. As it seems, six-month-old post-internet companies without cash-flow are deemed better than multi-billion global businesses are figuring out the market. Even if you might be very lucid about this foolishness, some of your executive committee is already victim of such startup fever. Let me offer one of the many ways to deal with that issue. And then maybe, you’ll find realreasons to work with startups.

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Building corporate incubation with Monty Hall

Running a corporate incubation program is not like operation a product pipeline. It’s an uncertain, probabilistic endeavor. Can you wrap your mind around it or do would just prefer to go through the motions blindly?

A few days ago, I was discussing how wrapping your head around the Monty Hall problem could help you better understand the importance of failure in innovation. If you take it a step further today, we could argue that most corporate incubation programs should be build around this probabilistic calculation.

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35 Ways self-driving vehicles are happening before 2020

A majority of automotive industry incumbents still bet on the (very) slow maturation of self-driving vehicles. Of course they can only think about personal cars…

The key argument of doubters on how fast the self-driving vehicles will go live is risk and the social acceptability (or the lack thereof) of deaths from vehicles making choices on their own. Truth to be told, yes, social acceptability is a steep barrier to entry for adopting technologies at large scale. You should nonetheless remember that innovation is not a clean decisive strike either, its death of the status quo by a thousand cuts.

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Emotions powered innovation

Leveraging emotions to get more powered innovation is like being able to harness an underestimated and sustainable source of energy. What is stopping you?

When we talk about innovation we say it is motion. Until there is movement or change in the market, you cannot call your invention or idea an innovation. Emotions at work can either support or hinder innovation. They can be strong drivers for action, change and movement, and keep people alert and aware of signals in their environment or become uncontrollable, completely unproductive or even freeze creativity. Finding the “right” level of emotions or as I call it “emotional sweet spot” is key to powered innovation.

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Dealing with failure in innovation and the Monty Hall problem

Failure when you innovate is totally acceptable. At least in books and on the internet. In real life, within your business this is a widely different story. Risk is only acceptable when you end up successful… Very successful. This usually demonstrates how poorly we manage risk…

Innovation literature is flooded with various arguments on why and how you should take risk as a company. As someone who’s depending on the success of the companies I work with (sometimes I even presume much more than their own management), I can’t avoid being one of these risk evangelist. The problem essentially is always the same. Risk is waved on principles as a good thing supported by plethoras of well-thinking weak sauce arguments. Inevitably, all these arguments are swiftly shelved when real work needs to be done.

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Understanding the new network effects

Innovative companies have been relying more and more on network effects to aggressively spread transformative market changes. This strategy has many forms and is still dramatically evolving. Do you understand its most recent developments?

Understanding network effects has been the underlying driver of the software revolution sparked less than a decade ago. And as always with innovation, as soon as we think we start to grasp it, it already morphes into something new. In our case, new network effects appear and we barely start to grasp them.

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Three scenarios of corporate culture change

From birth to old age, the company culture is not embedded in the same way. Hence it is essential to take a differentiated approach to corporate culture change.

The main reason why a corporate culture change fails is the lack of awareness of what the specific culture of the company is. Although it can be observed via the behaviours of employees, leaders are often blind to it until something unexpected and critical for the organisation happens. As it was the case for Uber and United Airlines. But waiting for such a wake-up call might be lethal as the company may not be able to readjust the culture in time and recover from the public blow.

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