Lean Startup rocks. If you’re starting a new business you should read Eric Ries’s book. If you work for an established business, and want to innovate, you should read it. I’ve just been listening to a webcast with Eric Ries, Patrick Vlaskovits and Brant Cooper. They were talking about Lean Startup, and how to roll Lean Startup out into bigger organisations.
“The Future’s going to be the same as today. Right? “
Eric said something that struck me hard. That big companies (and the people who work in them) fundamentally believe – “The Future is going to be the same as today, right?”.
As humans we need to have some dependability and predictability in our lives. That’s why people work in a big organisation isn’t it? They get security, structure and stability in exchange for their labour. The trouble is, in the new normal, it’s not like that any more.
“Even when they saw it coming, they couldn’t do anything to stop their own extinction”
Just five years ago, Nokia and Blackberry (then called RIM) were the kings of the mobile phone industry. Today, they’re both in their death-throes. Apple launched its first iPhone in June 2007. By 2011 they were the largest mobile handset vendor in the world (by revenue) having shipped 100 million units. Nokia has recently been bought by Microsoft. Blackberry has canned 10,000 people in the last year. They’re both toast. Even when they saw it coming, they couldn’t do anything to stop their extinction.
Successful today no longer means successful tomorrow. Start ups are disrupting and fragmenting established industries by using new technology. The barriers to entry are very low. Dropbox gauged whether people were interested in its product just by getting people to sign up on a website. They knew they had a product people wanted without writing a line of code, and they had a queue of early adopters ready to buy when they launched.
“No one knows where the next upstart startup is going to come from”
So the security and stability of a big company, is illusory. They can’t count on the future being the same as today. That’s why today’s buzzword is innovation. No one knows where the next upstart startup is going to come from, but if you don’t innovate, they’ll eat your lunch and eventually they’ll eat you.
That’s pretty scary (unless you’re the one doing the eating). So it’s no wonder those firms want new ways of working that need more agility, the ability to turn on a sixpence and to change direction if it turns out that no one wants to buy their killer new product. In a big company that’s hard to do. I’m talking to you, Microsoft.
What’s this got to do with time management and teams ? Well we believe that time management is right thinking about the past, present and future. And these are three distinctive skills, that you can learn. Innovation is understanding that the future is going to be very different to the present, and it’s not one big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey wimey stuff.