Startups are often seen as a natural source of industrial innovation. Many are based on new concepts and usually the reason they exist is to bring new ideas to life.
But, according to the book’s authors, traditional and incumbents are turning this upside down as innovation increasingly serves as the fuel for digital transformation and growth.
“Corporate Explorers: How Companies Beat Startups in the Innovation Game” The story of a new type of entrepreneur. These are people who have developed the ability to drive new thinking and, importantly, business opportunities from within companies and global corporations. These “intrapreneurs” do this by combining the vast resources of established companies with the quick-thinking and fail-fast mentality of startup CEOs to reverse the process of technological disruption.
I had the opportunity to speak with one of the co-authors, Andrew Binns. Learn about this new breed of corporate leader, where companies can find them, and how to ensure they have the tools and support they need. success.
What is Corporate Explorer?
According to Binns, corporate explorers are a term that three authors, including Stanford professor Charles O’Reilly and Harvard professor Michael Tushman, refer to people who have the ability to drive this change.
Within companies, leaders often feel the urge to implement processes and systems, he says. “That’s good; not here. They see passion and commitment in themselves…and that’s what corporate explorers are like.
“If you want to drive innovation within a company, you probably need to look for people who are a bit of an outlier. They see things differently and can be rule-breakers to some degree.”
That explains what you might think of us as corporate mavericks, people who do things differently. Another trend identified by the author is that they tend to be long-term employees, often with the company he may have been with for 10 years or more. this makes sense to me. After all, if you want to take things apart and make them new, it’s easy if you know what you’re dealing with in the first place.
Another important factor is that they need to be able to generate buy-in. they see it as an opportunity. ”
A recurring example of this book is Cherrisk, a disruptive and ultra-lean insurance product sometimes called “the Spotify of insurance,” launched in 2018 by the 200-year-old Austrian insurer UNIQA. Christian Curtis, who was involved in the launch of .
Binns told me:
“He asked himself what Spotify would do: How would online platforms rethink the value proposition of insurance?
“And he pitched this to his manager and over the months of many conversations and building support, he went before the board of directors and the CEO and said to them, ‘Subscription, I We want to pay claims within two days without any questions…and this is now extended to nine European countries.”
How do companies identify and support company explorers?
According to Binns, the first thing to do is make sure your company culture is one that attracts explorers. It doesn’t necessarily attract them there. As we have explained, it often happens that they are already there and have been there for a while. It is intended to be provable.
Egos, multiple layers of middle management, and the expectation that employees simply “do their job” and avoid destructive thinking can all be barriers on a potential explorer’s path.
“Is there an invitation for the explorers to move forward, or must they fight their way and give up?”
After that, patience and discipline are required as the idea may not come to fruition immediately and may require several layers of design, testing, and proof of concept before the value becomes apparent.
Explorers need space too. “We need to have sufficient separation from our core business to ensure autonomy without denying us the access we need to grow our business,” he says.
The book states that when Kurtisz was ready to present his idea to senior management, their immediate reaction was that they should give him a large sum of money to get started immediately. I’m telling you.
“He said to them, ‘No, give me some money. I’ll come back in six months and show you what I’ve learned,'” Binns said.
“So he teaches them what it means to be part of an experiment: a small amount of money to de-risk an investment before committing. You either under-commit or over-commit before you do.”
What challenges come with empowering enterprise explorers?
The main challenges organizations face as they try to adopt a culture of innovation include rigid organizational structures and the fact that everyone already has a job that is expected of them and not much time to spend on other things. Includes facts.
“Large organizations have inertia,” says Binns. It doesn’t discourage innovation by being malicious, cunning, or sabotaging…it’s just doing what it always does. ”
Overcoming these problems is often an organizational challenge that requires overturning established practices and breaking traditional chains of command.
Binns told me, “I think we need to create a space for more employees to think about how to do their jobs better, how to innovate.
“It doesn’t take a lot of time and it has a lot of benefits. It often helps us rebuild relationships with our customers and think about how we can really add value. That’s a good thing in and of itself.”
There is no doubt that innovation is more important than ever. As business, society and the world at large face unprecedented economic, political and environmental challenges, new ways of thinking are needed to drive change in a sustainable way without repeating the mistakes of the past. It is clear.
We’ve grown accustomed to seeing great things from start-ups, especially among them a new ethos focused on sustainability and social justice, but multinationals and giant corporations make the difference. It’s clear that we have the resources to do so.
Whether or not they have the will to do so remains to be seen, but books like this are important in explaining the steps to be taken, and I would recommend them to anyone interested in the future of business and industry.
you can click here Watch the full webinar conversation with Andrew Binns on more aspects of driving innovation with enterprise explorers within large companies.