The term ‘innovation’ is one that has been thrown around and used in many different contexts in recent years. To this day, people still have different interpretations of the term, and different opinions of who are truly innovative and why.
Indeed, many subscribe to the popular notion that innovation comes about when you get a good idea. Which is true, to a certain extent, but it’s far from the whole truth. The companies that have proven truly innovative and been able to consistently deliver innovative thinking and execution have done so because they’ve made innovation a fundamental process within their companies. It is the lifeblood of their organizations – it impacts the way people think.
Convergent Thinking Through Scaling
When companies become big, they tend to encourage their staff to think convergent: how can we focus our operations to do things more efficiently. This is typically the result of an effort to scale your operations, which is or will have been the focus of many bigger corporations (scaling is how you become big in the first place).
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Some companies, however, realize that there are some drawbacks to this, as it encourages your company only to think in terms of limitations. Whenever a new issue comes onto their radar − market entry by new competitors, more strict regulation, etc. − it’s seen as an issue rather than an opportunity. Therefore, some companies do a complete 180 and encourage their people to think divergent, and constantly think about how they can utilize various challenges to their benefit.
Challenges Facing Startups?
Startups typically have very divergent thinking within their organizations. They have to; otherwise they have little or no opportunity to challenge the established market leaders. This fundamentally different way of thinking is one of the key reasons why many startups time and time again have overthrown established market leaders; they see things differently and they act swiftly. So when new regulation comes along, they look at it as an opportunity and end up designing a new service or product that takes advantage the new conditions in the market.
So how can big companies ever deliver something new and innovative? Feel free to provide your thoughts below.
My own take: for big corp’s to collaborate with the smaller companies. Embracing a model where you have the best of both worlds: the convergence of larger companies that have the resources to back it up, and the divergence of smaller companies that can more quickly adapt to market moves and create new products and services around those.