The IRI conference attracts Leaders in Innovation from all over the globe to talk about everything R&D. While these companies span a wide variety of industries, many innovators were seeking solutions to similar problems. We chatted with Jim Euchner, the Editor-in-Chief of Research-Technology Management at the 2019 IRI Annual Conference in Pittsburgh about how big businesses can navigate a lean startup model.
Startups are different than large companies because their context is different.”
That context really speaks to where the business is in its lifecycle. A startup can take far more risks and is not beholden to customers, shareholders, and a staff to maintain a certain solvency at its earliest stages.
Established businesses are attracted to the lean startup model. They wish they could have the same flexibility, but there are many concerns about creating a new startup within an existing enterprise, explained Euchner.
When the startup concept is introduced into an enterprise, it’s often manifested as political resistance. But, as Euchner notes, it is possible to isolate the aforementioned issues. Don’t negate the concerns. They are legitimate and need to be addressed. For example, as he explains, “If people are concerned about cannibalization, be explicit about the business model you’re pursuing, and the risks associated with it.”
You can present the business model and figure out the risks by conducting some experiments. Once you have that, you can negotiate from a position of fact. There are reasons you want to grow a startup within an enterprise. Large companies have assets such as customers, staff, technical expertise, and channels.
“If you can leverage those capabilities, then you can create a competitive advantage with your startup,” said Euchner. “If you try to leverage them, without caring for those risks and concerns, it’ll crash and burn and I think that’s what most often happens.”
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