Over the past decade Innovation has become just another corporate buzzword in some big companies for many of these folks in high positions. The true innovators are often cast out as not fitting the culture with their risky ideas. Others see this and keep a low profile or are too scared to be the high nail so they cover their butts with getting “buy-in” from everyone else in the hope that they won’t be held personally responsible for failure.
We, at Inventolabs, strongly believe that small businesses and startups have become leading-edge adopters and innovators in technology because they are not chained to big, legacy business systems and processes. “Innovation depends on a vibrant community of practitioners and researchers working in community to advance the frontiers of knowledge and practice.”– ‘Creating a Culture for Scholarly and Systematic Innovation in Engineering Education’ the American Society for Engineering Education.
Below are a couple of considerations that prove our belief:
Small dedicated teams: One of Jeff Bezos’s rules of thumb inside Amazon.com is that teams should be able to be fed by no more than two pizzas. The mistake many large companies make is that they think a new venture is like a mini-version of the core business, one that needs to be staffed with representatives from corporate functions like legal, quality assurance, and so on.
Key people inspire the others: In large corporate environment decision makers tend to be rather business managers, far from technology. Even those who have strong technology background are so stuck with business administration and cannot keep up with the latest trends and achievements. On the contrary, small businesses and start-ups are typically run by technologists and visionaries, who not only provide business leadership and technology guidance, but also keep up a spirit of innovation.
Proper selection of tools: large companies are often stuck with certain tools and platforms, that narrows down technology area. On the other hand, smaller businesses and start-ups can take advantage from wider range of technologies, thus adding value to the entire product development process. Variety of open source platforms and vendor solutions, available for start-ups under different SMB support programs (like Microsoft Bizspark) can not only leverage development process, but also eliminate reinvention.
Knowledge sharing vs Knowledge Management: the weakness of Knowledge Management is Management. Even by applying most advanced tools and most toughest policies, it is hardly possible to efficiently manage knowledge and experience, due to the nature of IT. Through code and process components documentation require too much efforts by skilled programmers, whilst considered as a ‘dull’ job. As a result, Knowledge Management process often turn into useless bureaucratic impediment and in fact, organizations must re-invent. Alternatively, small organizations with true team-based structure can efficiently share knowledge. People are encouraged to take part in weekly knowledge workshops to share knowledge, thoughts and ideas. Flexible resource sharing between teams enable us to temporarily assign the owner of the code/process component to integrate those components into the system.