Building the innovation engine, part 1

“You’re not the first to try this. Probably not the last one either.”

The head of the large department had put his feet on the table and leaned back in his chair. His role undeniably gave him an elevated position in the company, but he was also one of those I thought deserved that respect on merits.

by Pixabay

During the following hour he described in detail what he thought I had already gotten wrong about our organization. And thus what spoke against me succeeding in my new role.

It was no surprise. The rumor of his bearded manner had preceded him long before this meeting, but this was also his truth. Based on many years of experience, both from the company and from the industry we worked in.

For me, this became a first thorough description of how I needed to design my mission and organization to succeed. And what arguments I needed to get right before our roads would cross next time.

Our mission
To create new products and services, to achieve substantial growth within three years.

Our setting
A media company with roots from 1848, highly affected by the transformation in our industry. Under constant reorganization and thus with a cultural mashup from previously separate businesses.

Our financial target
€10 new million in sales, yearly.

This was two years before I stepped down in August 2019. By then, we had built up a business that solved many of the challenges with corporate innovation, but also had a few left to crack.

I document this for my own sake, to remember what I learned. But also to share what we came up with and hopefully help some of the ambitious corporate rebels out there.

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Photo: Pixabay

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