In a sun-filled boardroom overlooking lower Manhattan, I was sitting with a group of chief strategy officers for part of our Outthinker Roundtable discussion. Professor George Day, leading expert on innovation and marketing, and faculty member at Wharton Business School, shared a concept about disruption that has been infecting my thoughts ever since.
Over one billion people are on it. While its future is still uncertain, it is already impacting most businesses, transforming journalism, and raising broad societal issues in its wake.
Last Wednesday, in a suburban New Jersey warehouse converted into conference space and a cooking show set, I joined 80 managers assembled to discuss their company’s strategy. We had helped design the two-day experience and were at the point in the flow of the off-site when we hoped we would hear some new, breakthrough insights.
“All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.”
The anger that fuels my mission today surges from a speech I heard a year ago, in Las Vegas, in a packed conference hall. The keynote speaker opened with the line: “I have come to believe that large organizations cannot innovate. They produce ‘innovation antibodies’ that attack new ideas.”
You have an idea that will generate new profits for your company and make you even more of a hero. You can already feel the pats on your back and the industry keynote speech you will deliver, humbly explaining how you did it.
The world seems to have suddenly discovered a nirvana of agile prototyping. Some call it lean or lean start-up, some use human-centered design or design thinking, and you may even hear reference to agile or scrum. Whatever the name, the core message is the same: stop trying to build an idea (a business plan, product, marketing message) to perfection. Instead, conduct small experiments with your stakeholders to learn and improve.
You’ve got the idea. You know it will work. If only you can move fast enough, keep up the pace of those younger, smaller startups. The opportunity should be yours but you worry that bureaucracy will slow you down.
Picture this scenario. A bomb has exploded. You’ve been working for the last two weeks in a remote part of Mongolia. Your boss promised this short-term assignment would prove your commitment and accelerate your career. But now, unsure of what happened or which coworkers were injured or how many hundreds of miles you will need to move them to get to a safe hospital, you’re not so sure you still want this job.
Founded by two Harvard Business School grads, Bundle Organics offers a line of organic prenatal juices made specifically for pregnant and breastfeeding women. I got a chance to ask the founders how they identified and built such a fast-growing business in this unusual “white space.” What they shared can help you find your next big growth opportunity.