How to Innovate like a Start Up 101 (for those of us in big
Ann Thompson, The
Kristi Zuhlke, Knowledge
Tarrae Schroeder, Kelloggs
Kristine Greiwe, LYFT
Luana Nichifor, Proctor
Ann Thompson began the talk about her big company
background, at Proctor and Gamble. Then, switched to her life no at a start up.
The garage group helps enables corporates to innovate and grow like start ups.
Why should we care about start ups?
Uncertainty’it is the new norm, accept it.
Speed’faster speed to market wins. Gets faster
Insights’insights are the new commodity. The
question is what do you want to do with it.
Talent’getting talent is the new war. The
increase of those getting an entrepreneur degree has risen 550% over the past
What do startups do differently?
Operate with minimum resources. Most begin with
two or three people.
Get externally focused. You have to stay
externally focused to win.
Pursue multiple directions. Instead of getting
deadlocked on one direction, start ups are adaptive and pursue several
directions at once.
They iterate and pivot. Fast, too. They pivot
and adapt before corporate American sends a preview deck to upper management.
First question: What are the differences between how a
corporate team or a start up innovates?
Kristi Zuhlke: Start ups move much more quickly.
If I were to go back into corporate work, I’d launch and test things much more
quickly. You’d learn more, faster.
Decrease the time to learning’that is the difference.
Kristine Greiwe: On the walls of LYFT is a sign
that says Create Fearlessly; creativity is not fostered in a corporate meeting
room. I’d like my team out of the office more, as it fosters a more inspiring
Terrae Schroeder: The system is set up
differently. The goal in a large company is to not fail. Organizationally, the
rewards system and goals are different.
Luana Nichifor: We have five business units,
five markets; so the size can slow you down.
Second question: Can you give us some ideas that you’ve been
able to make a difference at a large organization?
Luana Nichifor: At P&G it can be easier than
at some companies. We try to apply start up thinking wherever possible. We
collapsed a 200-question survey to a much easier instrument.
Kristi Zuhlke: Find companies who you wouldn’t
find in the typical RFP process to find a company that will force you to think
Terrae Schroeder: If you get to the clear
insight, it provides courage to innovate. This clarity can inspire innovations
to move fast.
Kristine Greiwe: I am the first person to do
consumer insights at LYFT, but the brand team is hungry for insights and
consumer data. As a start up, we are resource and time constrained. The second
thing I borrowed from P &G is storytelling, bringing the consumer stories
to life. The way to do it is to get out of the office.
Third question: Have any of you had experiences in the
corporate world where you had to find an answer quickly’and the organization
used the data.
Terrae Schroeder: We are keen on developing the
Institutional Gut. Remember, you are a consumer. Internal intuition is
valuable. Google a question. Build trust in intuition.
Luana Nichifor: It is easier to grow and build insight
depth at an organization. Give them immersive experiences. We have so much
data, too much. We distill the data down to visuals the teams can use for their
power points, which helps a lot.
Final question: each of you on the panel have gumption, so what
is the role of personal risk and leading change.
Kristi Zuhlke: I left the corporate world for a
real startup. At P&G my manager encouraged risks. He’s the CEO of Levi’s
today. In corporate America you actually have a bigger parachute to take risks.
Lead. Take risk. Or, you’ll follow.
Luana Nichifor: There are rewards for risks.
It’s easier to start something for some people. If you encounter a Wow moment,
then you cannot say no.
Some general advice was conveyed in the open question and
In terms of trying to force feed a product,
listen to the market. Find the pain points. Solve those. Run test.
Some large corporations are open to working with
Start Ups to solve problems outside of accelerators and pure open innovation
Use your own network for research to move
Michael Graber is the
managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic
growth firm based in Memphis, TN. Visit www.southerngrowthstudio.com to learn more.