Should large companies even try to be like startups?

This post is still very much a work in progress. Since the industrial revolution, if you were interested in a career in technology, large companies were really the place to be. Apart from the perks that come with working for a blue-chip company, the scale, breadth and depth of resources available to you meant that they had a virtual monopoly on innovation. However, over the past ten years, this changed. In many industries, scale stopped being an advantage. It slowly, imperceptibly at first, … Read more…

The importance of Strategic Agility

With agile software methodologies now firmly in the mainstream, it is difficult to find a software development organisation that does not claim to follow agile principles to at least some extent. For this reason, much of the discussion in agile and lean development conferences is now shifting to its applicability in the wider business world. In this post, I have a look at some of the business challenges that can be addressed through adopting strategic agility, and make some suggestions that may help … Read more…

Lean Enterprise – Lean Startup for Grown ups

We have already seen how Eric Ries’ Lean Startup established the language and a culture of predominantly mobile-app start-ups over the past five years. The reality however, is that most of us do not work in start-ups where business models are unknown, and regular pivots are required to find out what works. Instead, most people in the tech field are employed for companies with established and (normally) profitable business models, and business processes tuned to support those business models. These companies are often large, … Read more…

Frugal Innovation – Doing more with less

Frugal Innovation – “the ability to do more with less” is the title of a recent book by academics Navi Radjou and Jaideep Prabhu. This started off as a book called Jugaad Innovation (from a Hindi word meaning an innovative fix), examining innovation facilities in developing countries, but then found interest in developed economies as companies tried to adapt to consumers’ more spendthrift ways as well as an increased importance being placed on sustainable solutions. Frugal innovation as proposed by the … Read more…

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries – Four years on

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is the book that spawned a movement, and is widely regarded as the start-up manual of choice by would-be tech millionaires. This is the book that popularised the term Minimum Viable Product, introduced the term ‘to pivot’ and espoused the concept of validated learning as the main measure of progress for tech start-ups. However, notwithstanding its success, I feel that Ries’ approach could be a bit more nuanced. Agile software development lends itself very well … Read more…