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Innovation Imperatives: Lead by Example with a Start-Up Mentality

At the current churn rate, approximately 75% of companies listed on the S&P 500 today will be replaced in the next decade.1 The pace of change is accelerating. The future will be littered with underperforming companies that did not effectively evolve to meet it.

To avoid the fate of the majority, companies will need to deliver better results from innovation. But innovation as we’ve known it no longer offers a competitive advantage.

What will it take to compete and win in a dynamic, digital world? We’ve identified 21 innovation imperatives to help you prepare, equip and evolve to compete and grow in the 21st century, and here's one of our favorites. This imperative highlights how critical expanding the scope of innovation beyond products.


Lead by Example with a Start-Up Mentality

Foster an entrepreneurial attitude through leadership example

While many large, mature organizations try desperately to act like a start-up or foster a culture that encourages thinking unbound by traditional business barriers, most fail miserably to capture true entrepreneurial spirit.

For public companies, the goal is often to deliver 5-7% growth to pay dividends. As a starting point, this is a comparatively low bar that may itself stifle bold thinking. Instilling an entrepreneurial essence takes just one simple, but elusive capability: leadership. Leaders must share information, promote inclusion of ideas, empower managers, and not only encourage risk-taking, but even more importantly, not penalize failure.

So often companies talk of their desire to celebrate failures or learn from mistakes – a simple tactic that any company of any size can employ that would change the culture overnight – and yet very few can actually do it. Start-up entrepreneurs by comparison often try, fail, try again and reinvent themselves en route to greatness.

To realize growth rates that are on par with many smaller or start-up companies, employees must be allowed to suspend consideration of how new ideas will be funded, approved or moved through the system – something that is counter to any corporate mentality. Leaders must recognize this reality and lead through action to change this restrictive dynamic.


Stay tuned to learn about additional innovation imperatives, including:

Data First
Digital Operations, Skills and Processes
Beyond Product Development

Discover all 21 Innovation Imperatives for the 21st Century here

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