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‘People’ tell me that the larger your business gets it becomes inevitable innovation will slow down. Who are these people who say this? I challenge why does innovation have to slow down when you get bigger?

Seth Godin said in a tired voice at the TED conference ‘Average people, doing average things for average people – this is good we need average, how can others shine if there is no average’.

I want to continue on our quest to do things differently, to play, explore, and have fun. Does it now need to be ‘Enterprise level solutions’ robust, rigid, slow?  Can I have robust, scalable, and innovative? I believe that process sets us free…. But the process cannot kill spontaneity and creativity. Being an entrepreneur is about risk taking.

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practised every day, while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day. It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgments that lead us to either fortune or failure.”
Jim Rohn

A disciplined approach to creativity I say. Learning from our failures, no matter how expensive, but not repeating them. As a mentor once said to me, ‘it might have been an expensive mistake – but what did you learn – I hope it was a big lesson.’

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Comments

  1. Like you, I don’t believe that an organisation’s ability to innovate should be hindered by becoming more successful [read larger and more profitable]. However, I think it is important to recognise that as your business grows, its needs change. That $10M of revenue is now $100M annually. Those 800 suppliers are now 8,000. That web site downtime for one hour is now costing you $30,000 not $3,000.

    Here are seven things you can do keep your business innovative: 1. Keep the ‘innovators’ innovating. If they are getting bogged down in ‘business as usual’ find someone ‘average’ 😉 to take on the workload. 2. Recognise that innovation implies change and that there is just so much change your business can tolerate. It is better to aim for continuous self-improvement rather than a mid-life crisis. 3. Given that you can only absorb so much change, prioritise the areas in which you would like to see your business become more innovative. 4. Reward innovation but more importantly reward innovative ideas that have been successfully implemented or better still, that have demonstrated business value. 5. Recognise that your business is changing and support it. 6. Formalise and optimise your processes so they become disciplines.

    7. Define an architecture (people, processes, systems) that can support your business today and accommodate your innovations into the future.

  2. Hi Michael,
    Great feedback – and you’re exactly right, the shear scale of what we want to do must not limit our ‘dare to take risks’ heritage.

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