Founder and former CEO of ReevooView Author Profile
How can your growing business retain the good bits of a start-up's fearless mindset?
There’s no question that as you grow, innovation becomes harder - especially when the pace of that growth is fast.
At Reevoo, we have grown from toddler to teenage to adult over the course of ten years. Inevitably, we’ve had to recruit people with more corporate backgrounds - process and structure become important.
But how do you maintain that start-up ‘break things’ type culture?
Our aim is to have a blend of innovative, start-up types along with more corporate individuals. We find it creates a healthy tension.
To develop long-term sustainable revenue growth, we recognised that it was essential to keep innovating. We have used a number of strategies here, some have been more successful than others.
For example, we have tried the well-known route of creating a distinct R&D team. This worked well for a while, but we fell into the trap of our R&D team existing in an “ivory tower” and found it hard to effectively commercialise new propositions.
This led us to an agile hybrid solution - which has proved very successful. Our latest “Experiences” product has come from this.
Now there is no permanent separate R&D team; when we spot an opportunity, we pull together a “special forces” type project team made up of key individuals from a number of different parts of the business (e.g. commercial, customer, engineering, design and UX).
They are given a dedicated room and budget, and for a short period they focus on developing that new product or service - at speed, using the proven methods of lean innovation.
Once they have proven they have early customer traction with a “minimum viable product”, the team are disbanded and that very early product moves to “business as usual” to commercialise it. Those early innovation team members then become champions across the business.
I suspect that this hybrid solution will continue to work for some time, but inevitably, as it becomes too comfortable and routine, we will need to “break” it and look again at the next “way of working” that maximises creativity, speed and keeping close to our customers.
It’s why I love the creation phase of product and business building.
Maintaining The ‘Break Things’ Culture