fredag den 31. maj 2013

In Big Companies, Lean Is Only One Piece of the Puzzle

Excerpts from a Harvard Business Review blog by Maxwell Wessel and James Allworth  :

"Lean" is a mindset that can be applied in any situation — even those that are extremely capital intensive — to test as efficiently as possible, and iterate accordingly.

For that reason, the "Lean" mentality is one of the most powerful tools in the innovator's arsenal — in startups and mature corporations alike. But like disruption before it, the zeitgeist around lean has in some ways grown apart from the power and purpose of the idea. That has resulted in some misconceptions that can be counterproductive in the quest for innovation.

Perhaps the greatest of these misconceptions: The notion that, particularly in big organizations, the lean methodology alone will be enough to allow innovation to flourish.

If you ever ask George Kliavkoff about the seemingly insurmountable task of building a growth business inside of a multinational conglomerate, he always responds with the same three requirements; each extremely foundational in nature. Namely, George stresses the importance of:

·         An executive mandate

·         A creative structure

·         Patient capital

… to simply assume that these are present inside a large organization would be a mistake. Anyone who has operated inside a big corporate will tell you that for any project, you might have an executive mandate... or you might not. Even with such a mandate, it's tough to drag the people you want away from their existing (and safe, and profitable) projects to work on a new venture. And, as for funding, it can be just as hard to get a check for ten thousand dollars as it is to get a check for one hundred thousand dollars. No longer is the organization relying on gut instinct and a shared sense of purpose around delivering product value; instead, most large organizations rely on process controls to standardize operations.

But you how do you get there? You can't just ask for it. You've got to work to build it. What follows are some of the ways in which you can build that basis for you and your team to innovate inside the confines of a more mature organization — to secure an executive mandate, to give yourself the space to be structurally creative in your intrapreneurial endeavor, and to ensure that your capital is patient.

Develop a shared innovation philosophy.
A shared innovation philosophy can power the communication between you and your managers — it will help you position the need for a different process, what your project will demand, and secure that executive mandate to pursue the different sort of innovation you're after.

Go high enough. One of the most common mistakes potential innovators make inside large corporations is failing to look high enough for internal support in their pursuit of new businesses.
Whatever you do, do not fall into the trap of believing that your relative position in the organization should determine who it is you need to get to sign off. Unless you sit towards the top of your organization, your own manager will rarely be senior enough. And if you don't go high enough, you'll never ensure you get the creative structure needed to innovate.

Maximize autonomy. If you get the right people on board and appropriately represent why you will need a different process and a different structure than the rest of the organization, the last step is getting that patient capital.