Thursday, September 22

In the Company of One

Now here's a thing ...

I've recently experienced a very graphic demonstration of just how slow a large enterprise can be to adopt a simple, low-cost innovation.   (I'll mention no names, but you know who you are, insurance company X!)

So a provocation (a "po") seems in order ...

'What if you were you own company in your own right: A company of one?  Would you tolerate excess delay to implementation?

No.  I'll tell you exactly what would happen ...

- There's no way in the world you'd suffer ten or more naysayers to every good idea -- they wouldn't be there to naysay!
- You wouldn't need ten or more "specialists" to vet every idea, half of whom are unavailable to talk at any given time
- The facade of the business case would be present, but not dominant
- Gut instinct would have a place
- Change wouldn't strike fear into the workforce in quite so compelling a way
- Attack (improvement) would matter more than defence (preservation)

Is any of this instructive?   I like to think so.

Sometimes we have to act like we work in a company of one, to get things done.  If we want our creativity-inspired ideas to go anywhere, then we'll need to think small.

I've coached the sole ideas evangelist in the offending company to assume responsibility for what is, after all, a small, powerful, self-contained idea.  He plans to push it through, end-to-end, to see it realised.   This means constant effervescence, and the adaptability to do lots of different types of leg-work for himself.

But what's his reward?

Money?   ... Unlikely.

Recognition?  ... Maybe.

Self-satisfaction?   Yes.  It has to be that.

And perhaps something even better:  There's something wearyingly comparable about large enterprises and their take on "new stuff".  If he can push this through, with a smidgen of moral support from me, then maybe we have a model for evangelistic innovation, which would yield results in a hundred other UK  plcs.?

Fingers crossed.   I'll let you know.

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