Innovation Velocity: Lessons From Startups
Digital first players which are mostly start-ups have a significant advantage with the speed at which they are able to innovate. But how do they innovate so fast? Is there anything that other organisations can learn from them and apply to their respective business?
Most people are likely to reason that startups are able to innovate faster, thanks to their size which is relatively small compared to other organisations. But is that really the reason? Or are you using their size as an excuse? A lot of tech companies have a huge headcount and they also have multiple layers of management. These companies still perform at a fast pace simply because they have organised themselves for just that outcome.
Such organisations are quite clear in their expectations regarding things such as your attitude towards work and meetings. Basically, they are quite lenient in terms of maintaining work-life balance and rewards, as they have a culture of measuring your performance, and not hours worked. The problem with traditional companies is that the managers are sceptical of offering such leniency as they fear it will make people lazy. However, the reality is that the percentage of people who take advantage of this and abuse this freedom is rather small. Also, such employees are thrown out sooner or later. If you employ this policy of measuring performance instead of micromanagement, the majority of your employees will be in fact motivated to work harder for your organization.
So, you must strive to create a working environment which people find engaging. Remove yourself from the ‘here’s your payslip mentality’ and offer your employees value for value and show them in real terms that you care for them. You will see that if you do this, not only the employees but also top talent in the industry would want to work for your organisation.
Rent Buying instead of Build
Most of the traditional companies often thrive on legacy systems. The only thing that justifies the money spent on developing and maintaining them in working condition is that replacing these legacy systems is likely to cost much more.
It is understandable that you have these legacy systems at your end and replacing or reworking them will probably take years and there isn’t much that you can do about this fact. However, the one thing that you can do is to stop trying to build or own everything especially when it comes to new offerings.
If you notice closely, corporates have the habit of trying to make everything that they have at their end, compliant. They often take the support some certified technology marketed by the sales rep and end up customising their systems. Startups, on the other hand, think a little differently. They think like a common man who doesn’t grow or hunt his own food for example but allows others to do it for him. Similarly, digital-first players do not have the luxury of building and customising everything by themselves. Since they wish to scale faster, they opt for agile, lightweight, and scalable solutions that are easily available in the market to create their services and products.
So the next time that your organisation plans to create and launch something new, you need to think twice if it really needs to run on your age-old legacy system. Maybe a solution which can be set up in a short period will do the job for you and allow you to scale up faster. You always have the option of building your own version of the technology in future.
Very often startups are well funded even though they initially start out with a small team. It has been observed that venture capitalists are more than willing to invest in them. If it can turn into a reality, it can lead to huge profits.
However, sadly most organisations don’t wish to or can’t afford to invest in dreams, especially since budgets are a challenge. While they may have a lot of great ideas up their sleeves, the real differentiator is the execution.
However, when you have a clear vision for the future and the right stakeholders buy your vision, they would be more than willing to invest. So, you should try and create a vision for the next 5 to 10 years for your company. Figure out how and who challenges you, or what steps you can take to stay relevant even tomorrow in the market. Understand what domains you need to defend at any cost. Try all of these and they may be some of your innovative ideas will prove to be fundamental to your future.