On July 23, LPK’s Vice President, Managing Director, Trends Valerie Jacobs and I welcomed attendees of New Co Cincinnati (part of a larger global entrepreneurial series) to LPK for our presentation, “Thinking, Acting and Working Like a Startup.”
We brought our startup mentality to our corporate reality and live-presented all of our slides via #NewCoLPK and Valerie’s Twitter account. This way, anyone could have access to all of our insights and refer back to them via our hashtag for the presentation.
THINKING, ACTING & WORKING LIKE A STARTUP
Everywhere we look, corporations are trying to inject the experimental and disruptive attitudes of the startup world into their businesses. Having spent the last couple years developing business innovations for LPK ranging from process hacks to game-changing spinoffs, we felt well-positioned to share some of what we’ve learned so far about bringing the startup mentality to the corporate reality at NewCo’s Cincinnati event.
THERE ARE NO SECRETS
A fundamental difference between corporations and startups is their level of secrecy. While corporations legally protect their competitive advantages through IP and confidentiality agreements, startup culture is much more open-source. Consider the ways you inadvertently act secretively, and how you share more of your knowledge with your community.
YOU DON’T KNOW S#!T…
No matter how creative or open-minded you think you are, there are lots of assumptions and fixed thinking that will prevent you from unlocking innovation. As you try to disrupt your business, consider new opportunities outside of your category where you won’t be weighed down by past experience.
DELEGATION IS DEAD
In the corporate world, established processes make it easy to delegate different parts of the work to teams. In a startup culture, you have to roll up your sleeves and do the prototyping yourself. No one else understands your (half-baked) idea better than you do. Only then can you start to get suction behind your ideas and pull more people into these projects.
WOOING, WINNING & WOWING
Managers who shift from a traditional role in their company to one focused on experimentation need to be prepared for ambiguity and lost forms of feedback. With the satisfaction of winning new clients, meeting revenue projects, and delivering great service gone, innovators need to find other metrics to keep them motivated from day to day.
THINK PORTFOLIO, NOT PET PROJECT
People in corporate roles usually have time for just one or two personal initiatives, and they end up forcing these pet projects into situations where they don’t make sense. Instead, try to develop a portfolio of ideas so that you can stay open to which one provides the most value or helps you advance your career. This positions you as a person with lots of great ideas rather than someone pushing their agenda.
WHAT’S YOUR FORTUNE? WHAT’S YOUR GLORY?
Once you understand which of your ideas have the biggest potential, you must ironically scale them way down to small, incremental experiments as you learn how to optimize them. This creates a unique challenge for measuring your progress against traditional metrics like sales or profit. By building additional metrics, you enable small experiments to be seen as more meaningful. Shout out to the Innovator’s Hypothesis for providing the original insight behind this principle.
WE DON’T HAVE ALL THE ANSWERS.
Most talks on innovation will polish up their most refined insights and anecdotes, leaving behind all of the leftover mysteries yet to be understood. We’re here to say that we don’t have all of the answers and that only through sharing as a community can we all grow.
We had a great conversation with our audience after the presentation, and a couple of new principles emerged. First, don’t be afraid to be a cover band: sample the work of others that have already been published to work faster and get more done. Second, anyone with an idea needs to become a salesman (whether we know it or not). Every time you tell someone about your idea, it’s an opportunity to hone your pitch and figure out what resonates.
LPK Vice President and Managing Creative Director of Trends Valerie Jacobs’ trend work is grounded in a strategic approach that incorporates research, analysis and translation of data into actionable strategies for consumer brands with the nerve to keep up. Follow Val on Twitter at @futureglimmer or email her at email@example.com.
LPK Trends Director Michael Roller’s commitment to creative work is guided by over 10 years of experience in the industry. An avid homebrewer, he uses socio-cultural ideas to narrate his beer recipes and label designs, taking a more holistic approach to create relevancy every day. Talk subconscious responses to design with him at @rollermt or firstname.lastname@example.org.