There are many sources of advice out there, some with grand plans of radical change and others with the tempered wisdom of experience. Earlier last year Harvard Business Review published a blog article on Why Your Company Should Use the Kickstarter Model to Innovate, which treads a fine line between these two extremes.
Yes, the potential benefits of breaking down silos in large organisations are huge. Yes, those organisations have probably the tools in place to run competitive innovation marketplaces. There are immense implications for organisational design and innovation management if a company were to truly embrace such a different operating mode, and perhaps one day that mode will become the new normal.
Where the article falls down is that the picture presented is not visionary enough to make people sit up and listen. Michael Schrage correctly balances the article by including some discussion of potential implementation issues, but that unfortunately limits the ability to communicate the benefits of the vision.
You might think that the vision doesn’t need to be spelled out. Of course it’s going to be better, right? People working together in small collaborative teams with a healthy competitive attitude – how could we ever go back? As with any vision, if you ‘get it’, then it appears obvious. In any large organisation some people are going to get it, but most won’t. Most won’t envisage how revolutionary such a change could be. This reminds me of a continuous improvement technique called Single Minute Exchange of Die , which (if you believe the numbers) improved a Toyota production rate by forty times. How many people do you think believed that could be done? Would that ever have been given a chance if the opening pitch included a detailed discussion of the potential risks?
ideocial is about to provide a platform which that HBR blog describes – Kickstarter for companies. The trick now is to provide enough vision to win over those who are on the verge of getting it, and providing enough detail to those who will never be convinced by the vision alone.