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Before I started working in innovation and product management, I worked in the corporate world.
I had the chance to spend time with great companies like SAP, Vodafone, IBM, Enea, and Microsoft.
I was really young and wanted to contribute to changing things, to build new and awesome projects and help the company grow. All those things you read in motivational articles on Business Insider. Yet I was greeted with processes, rules, delays, the “way of doing things”, plus colleagues and managers who were telling me that I don’t have patience, that I rush too much, that I need to wait.
This made me think that innovation does not work in the corporation, so I took the startup route: founding companies, designing accelerators, pitching, coaching, mentoring, investing, the works.
Fast forward through the next decade, I realised that I was wrong.
Join me for the next few paragraphs when I explain how I was wrong, how you can innovate in the corporation, and why we created this course for you.
How was I wrong?
I thought that moving fast, breaking things, creating new things, and launching new products is what innovation is all about. I thought the most important thing for innovation is to have unrestricted and unbounded creative freedom to take big risks and bring new products to market.
But that is not true; it’s just a small part of the story.
The reason why you have so much creative freedom in a startup is not because “this is how innovation happens,” it’s because you have no idea what you are doing yet.
You don’t know who your customers are, you don’t know what they want, you don’t know how much money they are willing to pay (if any), you have no brand, no employees, so you can basically do… anything. You do anything to figure out what works.
But as soon as “something works,” you start optimizing, putting processes in place, creating rules, and shaping a “way of doing things” that sometimes can cause delays.
Basically, growing startups begin to act like corporations already do. When they fail at doing this… the startup usually fails as well.
So I realised the processes, the rules, and the way of doing things was not bad. Instead, it was essential for making a company work well. The thing that was missing was a way of innovating in this setup.
How you can innovate in the corporation
Corporations are huge innovators, they are actually the companies that scale it and spread it to larger audiences. Let’s not forget that Amazon and Apple are corporations and also the biggest innovators around.
In an established company, most of the hard part is already solved: there are resources, a pool of customers, well-trained professionals, defined processes, and an infrastructure that works.
Corporations can easily borrow techniques that have already been validated by countless startups and use them to improve on their flow. As an employee in a corporation, you can easily use know-how from smaller companies to do a better job and have a bigger impact in your company and your career.
The hard part is figuring out how to adapt those techniques and knowledge to work in your company and for yourself. How to integrate them with your processes, your company brand, the legal constraints, and internal politics. We cover the basics of how to achieve this in the innovation course.
Mindlessly copying what startups do will lead to the same results startups have: 99% failure rate. You can see that in the failure of many corporate accelerators, internal incubators, and other one-to-one projects.
Why we created this course
One of the challenges that I faced when joining the startup ecosystem in Eastern Europe was explaining to each and every new entrepreneur what the purpose of a pitch is, how to do it well, and how a great pitch is very different from a great startup.
We had to do that BEFORE we actually could start working on the things that will grow the startup, and that is why I wrote about pitching to be able to scale this initiative. We had to invest in these people before we could work on the return of investment for the startup.
Today, corporations find themselves in the same context. The biggest issue we see right now is the big gap between what can be done and what people in companies think can be done. There is a strong need for a common vocabulary, a basic understanding of corporate innovation processes that work.
Innovation brings results. This is crystal clear and well-known. The problem is there’s a gap in the market between what can be done and what we know to do. It’s like education: we know well educated people get bigger salaries and lead more comfortable lives, but very few parents can afford to pay out of their own pocket for their kids to learn to read and write. That’s why the government usually ends up doing it for free.
It’s the same with companies, not many can afford to pay for basic innovation training, that doesn’t deliver immediate results or positive impact on productivity even if it’s a good decision in the long term. That is why we made this course and why it is free.
We put a lot of effort into it and included some of the most valuable experiences we gained in 15 years of work in startups and corporations throughout the globe. This is our investment in growing the community and pushing things forward for the good of all of us. And we are doing it without being paid for it.
If you believe in the same thing we do, we ask the same of you: sign up for this course, assimilate the knowledge in it, and do it without being paid for it.
No matter what you choose, focus on practice!
There’s no shortage of articles, books, podcasts, and even courses about innovation and all its components. Unfortunately, most of this content is general advice that’s not really actionable. Most people don’t relate to it because it doesn’t meet their need for practical advice.
Plus, reading bits and pieces means you’d also have to make the time to put the pieces together by yourself.
But who has time for that kind of a puzzle when you want to learn something useful and apply it tomorrow?
If you’ve read this far, you already know innovation is important or at least care enough about the subject to see how you can get better at it.
So here’s what we included in the course to help you make progress fast:
- You’ll get 11 lessons delivered to your inbox every 3 days, for free
- You’ll learn everything from key innovation concepts to how to apply them right away
- You’ll receive exclusive bite-size knowledge, guides, and templates we use in our own work (tested in real life projects!)
- You’ll have our full support about your questions and innovation challenges!
What this course is for
The point of the course is to help you start testing these ideas in your daily work. Only reading these emails won’t make you an innovation champion, just like reading an art manual won’t make you a painter the rank of Picasso. But practice might!
If you’ve ever felt like you could do so much more if only you had the tools and concepts to work with, I know how you feel. That’s why we’re doing this.
So how about it? Will you join us for the Introduction to corporate innovation course?
Me and the WiseUp team promise to help you make the most of it!