How Companies Can Speed Up the Business of Business Building

New ventures often fail—but digital capabilities change the odds. By following a business-building playbook based on your company’s strategic assets, you can accelerate growth dramatically.

Mariana Mazzucato

As soon as you take innovation seriously, you start having to throw up in the air so many of the things we learn in mainstream economics: unique equilibria, representative agents, perfect competition. Indeed, the mathematics that we’re taught in mainstream economics departments mainly comes from Newtonian physics. It allows nice, smooth curves to be drawn where there is a maximum point (important if firms are … [ Read more ]

A practical guide to new-business building for incumbents

Five lessons for incumbents on how to build and scale new digital ventures—and increase their odds of success.

Jony Ive

The difference between an idea and a product is that you’ve solved the problems. When someone says to me, “Well, you can’t do this for these reasons,” all it means is that there are problems to be solved. If they can be solved, the idea transitions into becoming a thing. If they can’t, it remains an idea.

Fear factor: Overcoming human barriers to innovation

Worries about failure, criticism, and career impact hold back many people from embracing innovation. Here’s how to create a culture that accounts for the human side of innovation.

Teppo Felin, Alfonso Gambardella, Todd Zenger

Theories illuminate paths to value that might otherwise remain unseen. Managers and entrepreneurs who hold the flashlight of theory can avoid the streetlight effect—the human tendency to search only where the light already shines, where things are already evident.

Sheena Iyengar

So often, we tell people to do out-of-the-box thinking. Then we stick them in the room and tell them to brainstorm. Well, brainstorming is a great way to share the knowledge that’s in the room. But it’s not out-of-the-box thinking. Out-of-the-box thinking requires you to search far and wide for how different industries and different people at different points in time have solved for analogous … [ Read more ]

An Innovation Culture That Gets Results

This article presents some practical guidelines for executives seeking to design a high-impact innovation culture. It also outlines four areas of focus that offer a clear path for change, drawing on examples from leading innovators.

Reid Hoffman, Chris Yeh

When a market is up for grabs, the risk isn’t inefficiency — the risk is playing it too safe. If you win, efficiency isn’t that important; if you lose, efficiency is completely irrelevant.

Scott A. Snyder, Sanjay Macwan

Instead of just looking at new innovation opportunities through the classic lens of financial impact/ROI, organizations should be evaluating opportunities against a “triple bottom line” consisting of people (community/social impact), profit (financial return), and planet (environmental benefit). There is an opportunity to leverage impact investing metrics like Impact Multiple of Money (IMM) that combine all three lenses.

Intellectual Honesty Is Critical for Innovation

Here’s how to balance psychological safety and intellectual honesty for better team performance.

Adaptive Space: Shifting from Structural to Social Design

One of the biggest challenges facing organizations today is the need to be agile. To achieve this goal, leaders must seek a deeper understanding of the power of social interaction in furthering the flow of ideas, information, and insight. Michael Arena explains how building relational structures that foster 4D connections, discovery, development, diffusion, and disruption, can usher in the new, innovative ideas and concepts necessary … [ Read more ]

Accelerate corporate innovation ROI

Over the past 10 years, innovation has become a buzzword.

The use of the word has doubled during the earnings calls of S&P 500 firms and, according to the World Economic Forum, the top global corporate R&D spenders increased their investments in innovation by 10 percent in 2020. Yet, despite this frenetic activity, only 20 percent of CEOs believe their innovation investments generate value, according to … [ Read more ]

Francesca Gino

When we open ourselves to curiosity, we are more apt to reframe situations in a positive way.

4 Types of Innovators Every Organization Needs

Every company strives to be innovative, but most are missing key ingredients. How can you identify which ingredients your organization needs — and which employee styles can fill in the gaps? The authors’ research distills four key innovation styles that can lead to success — generators, conceptualizers, optimizers, and implementors — and explains how common they are across sectors. Then, they outline a four-part framework … [ Read more ]

Michael J. Arena

Most organizations don’t suffer from a deficit of ideas or human potential. What they lack is open and deliberate connections. Organizational leaders must learn to encourage the flow of these ideas by attending to the social interactions in the company. They need to build relational structures that encourage the 4D connections of adaptive space: discovery, development, diffusion, and disruption. Together, these 4D connections generate the … [ Read more ]

How to build a unicorn: Lessons from venture capitalists and start-ups

New data highlights five things incumbent businesses could learn from venture capitalists and unicorns.

Pat Connolly

When a company is organized around traditional silos versus customer needs, the products and services they make will reflect the structure and needs of the company, not the customer.

Gagan Biyani

Product creators like to think of what’s possible: They dream about how introducing their product into the market might change the world. This is an appropriate framing — as long as it comes with a bit of humble pie. New products don’t succeed because of the wide breadth of features they provide. Facebook isn’t successful because it allows people to build groups, host events or … [ Read more ]

Jane Davis

When you’re adding new features, the question shouldn’t be, “Is this potentially useful to someone?” Instead ask, “How does this contribute to our users achieving their goals?” It’s very easy to “value add” your way straight out of product/market fit.