Aug 23, 2009

Encouraging Innovation

Info Edge (promoters of and other online portals) CEO Sanjeev Bikhchandani blogs on the struggles of innovating in a large firm and how they are putting into place to facilitate innovation. Some excerpts:

First – ensure that there is an adequate talent pipeline at the second and third levels in every department within the company. Wherever required get high quality talent from outside the company. Basically invest in a talent bench.

When a new business starts - move some of the best talent there and give that business senior management attention. This gives everyone career growth while at the same time giving the start up business a real chance of success, without compromising on the prospects of the existing large business.
Reward for milestones other than revenue early on – remember that on a revenue comparison the older larger business will always outshine a new business.
If the system ensures that Business Managers use only revenue and profits as a measure of their self worth in a start up business in a large organisation they will be demotivated and probably quit. Celebrate innovations. Punish incompetence and lack of commitment – but do not punish failure.

When innovating on product within a large business – have small high quality teams and empower them. You need to ensure that you have the agility, focus and quick decision cycles of a start up – essentially have a many start ups within a large company.

Quite interesting, to note that innovation has to be done taking into account the needs of a smaller business. And the bit about not punishing failure. Punishing failure and tolerating inaction probably causes the most harm in large organizations.