This week we gave a rapid fire talk at the 2012 Market Research in the Mobile World Conference on Harnessing Entrepreneurial Approaches to Drive Innovation in Market Research.
We shared three approaches that we see successful entrepreneurs using that industry practitioners and vendors could apply to drive meaningful innovation. While the audience today was specifically from the Market Research industry, these principles apply much more broadly across most verticals.
Here are the approaches we shared…how might these drive innovation in your industry?
1) What Has to be True?
Successful entrepreneurs ask “What has to be true?” rather than “What are all of the watch outs and barriers we need to address?” The difference here may be subtle, but it’s a mistake to underestimate the power of the shift in focus here. “What has to be true?” is an inherently more optimistic, forward-moving question. It drives positive momentum and action rather than negative energy and inertia. Successful entrepreneurs identify what must be true to develop, test and scale a new idea; and then they focus on making those things true. How might this apply to a change or initiative you are trying to drive?
2) Don’t Wait, Anticipate & Act!
Successful entrepreneurs don’t wait, they anticipate & act! We recently posted about the analog of the construction industry in Northern California — building flexible structures that can withstand earthquakes. There are significant shifts in nearly every industry in the world. These shifts will continue. Building for today’s challenges will leave an organization obsolete quickly, so anticipating constant change and building adaptable products, services, processes and systems is critical.
3) Garages Aren’t Just for Startups
Successful entrepreneurs often develop their organizations in the “garage,” but, Garages aren’t just for startups. Established organizations that are successfully launching new products or services; or adapting their business models embrace the concept of the Garage. They assign a dedicated team, give them the space (the mental/workload space and often, the physical space) to innovate against a specific need or opportunity, and provide the resources they need from the “main house.” In cases where the organization is re-inventing a core business model, they purposefully focus the task in a way that doesn’t need to disrupt the core business — by choosing a specific, small project or one account team among several, etc.
Of course, blindly borrowing any one approach from the world of successful start-ups would be short-sighted, and would neglect the reality of the challenges faced by established organizations. But, learning from successful entrepreneurs and challenging the paradigms and systems that hold an organization back from agile, relevant innovation and adaptation can be a powerful route to sustainable growth in an ever-changing industry.