A tanker isn’t a speedboat

By Gijs van Wulfen via linkedin.com   Article

My Single Best Tip for Big Company Innovators

You’re company is like a tanker. It’s successfully moving steady on the same course for quite a long time, trying to master operational excellence in its core business. It has made procedures for everything and organized itself to keep focus and control. A big company is a world in itself. You as innovator are aware of the changes in the world around you. You feel the urgency to change and you see lots of opportunities for new products, services and business models. You just want to move at high speed. …

Now as innovator you can fight this risk adverse culture, as a kind of modern Don Quixote fighting windmills. Or you can accept it. Only when you accepted it, you can deal with it in a big company. A tanker isn’t a speedboat. So my single best tip for Innovators is:

Pick the Right Moment!

The right moment to get support for a break through innovation project in your company is when doing nothing is a bigger risk. When the people steering the tanker know that they have to change course soon. These now-we-really-need-to-innovate moments often coincide with incidents, like:

  • Three continuous quarters without any growth in turnover;
  • A competitor just introduced a great new product, that envies everyone;
  • One of your biggest clients just left;
  • A new competitor entered the market with a revolutionary business model;
  • You just lost three tenders in a row for a big assignment.

… An effective innovator in a large organization has to act with the patience of a hunter. You cannot wait too long though. You know completion of the innovation process in a big company takes at least 18 – 36 months from idea to market introduction.”


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