David vs. Goliath Innovation Smackdown

“Small businesses are nimble and bold and can often teach much larger companies a thing or two about innovations that can change entire industries.” - Richard Branson

In an article for Entrepreneur magazine entitled “5 Ways Small Companies Can Out-Innovate Big Corporations,” Steve Sponseller demonstrates how innovation isn’t just for the big guys. In fact, smaller businesses may have the advantage when it comes to innovation.

According to Sponseller, the innovative advantages of small businesses include agility, responsiveness to opportunity, collaboration, alignment, and measurement.

Why Innovators Love Open Offices

Open-design offices are everywhere. Do they really promote productivity and innovation?

In a recent article for the Washington Post entitled “Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is destroying the workplace,” Lindsey Kaufman says “no,” detailing the pros and cons of open workspaces–mostly cons.

The concept of the Bullpen is nothing new. For years, creative organizations have leveraged the collaborative benefits of shared workspaces. Marvel Entertainment, for instance, the self-proclaimed “House of Ideas,” elevated the Bullpen to legendary status.

How Evernote Innovates Like a Nuclear Submarine

Evernote was hatched to wild success.

With millions of users, other startup CEOs might have cashed their chips and moved to the next big thing. However, Evernote’s Phil Libin doesn’t have an exit strategy. Rather, his goal for Evernote is to be a 100 Year Company, that is, “an innovative company that people love that lasts for a century.”

Early on, Evernote graduated from startup mode, turning its attention to establishing management teams by drawing on talent throughout the organization.

Borrowing from management techniques practiced on nuclear submarines, Evernote adopted what Libin calls,

How to Motivate for Innovation

Everyone is an MVP in innovation culture. Because innovation is a practice done by people, and each team member counts. Treating team members as MVPs implies trust, respect, and the freedom to succeed.

Here is an easy way to remember what it means to be an Innovation MVP:

  • M is for Mantra. Each team member should know why he or she is here, in terms of value for the customer.
  • V is for Values. Each team member should share the same values in the quest to fulfill the mantra.
  • P is for Principles. Each team member should know what he or she is free to do, without permission, in order to fulfill

Is Work Chat Legit?

Back in the day of the AOL-Time Warner merger, a friend in one of the affected companies later recounted the painful experience attempting to use AOL chat for online business meetings. It wasn’t pretty, and the experiment left such a bad taste that any future mention of chat for business was met with resistance, or laughter. Not legit.

Then came Enterprise 2.0, with companies like IBM and Yammer providing secure collaboration solutions to the enterprise, including microblogging and chat.

Fast forward to now. Github, one of Fast Company’s most innovative companies, uses chat for everything.