The author of this article starts out stating: “… a growing group of business leaders is worried that companies are too concerned with short-term profits, focused only on making money for shareholders… Too many CEOs play the quarterly game and manage their businesses accordingly, … But many of the world’s challenges can not be addressed with a quarterly mindset.” There is ample evidence that this is true and that it is to the detriment of long-term business viability.
Instead of viewing innovation as a collection of various processes, methods and tools, the author makes a strong case for viewing it as a complex, integrated system that needs to be designed, built and operated as such. This system needs to balance the competing needs of the operational business units and the strategically oriented corporation as a whole, of the quarterly demands of wall-street and the long-term vision of other stakeholders and society. At the center of this system is the Portfolio of projects the company is working on.
Amazon is better at innovating outside their core than Google or Apple. Amazon successes – AWS, Prime, Echo, Go, etc. – outshine Googles attempts – Nest, Glass, Robots, self-driving cars etc. This is the conclusion reached by the author who lists several reasons for Amazon’s relative success:
- Amazon leads with customer needs.
One of the most discussed topics in innovation today is how to get large companies to behave more like startups when it comes to pursuing transformational or breakthrough innovations. There are books written on Lean Startup, conferences on Incubation and Entrepreneurship, classes on agile development and ‘test and learn’ approaches.