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Business Start Ups / Entrepreneurship

Forum for Dynamic Innovation at Columbia Event January 10

The last few years have seen a resurgence of what Steve Blank and other startups folks call ‘innovation theater‘.  On January 10, I’ll be chatting with Steve and transformative CEO of HarperCollins, Brian Murray, about what comes next. You can read about the event details and register at this link.  Under the heading the ‘Forum for Dynamic Innovation,’ we are bringing together people across the university with an interest in how... read more »

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Growth insights in a 45 minute Facebook live session!

No Powerpoints, no notes, just the team at Harvard Business Review, terrific and astute questions from viewers and a white board.  Check out this free Facebook Live session that has already garnered over 132,000 views. In more news – For those with an interest, our Mastering Corporate Entrepreneurship OnLine course is now in beta – let us know if you would like to join as registrations close next week. And it is already looking... read more »

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Preparing for the 8th Annual Drucker Forum

A few years ago, I started attending the Global Peter Drucker Forum, which has become a real who’s who of management conferences.  It takes place each November in Vienna and features luminaries and thought leaders from academia, business and consulting.  This time out, I’ll be facilitating a panel discussion with Tim Brown of IDEO, Sarah Armbruster of the very innovative Steelcase, colleague Julian Birkinshaw of the London Business School and... read more »

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What a startup can learn about customer needs from a medieval practice

In a recent article over at Fortune, I explore what Transferwise, a fast-growing new startup has rediscovered:  an enduring customer need that is currently featuring in the migrant crisis, Hawala.  The practice of Hawala originated centuries ago when traders were concerned that they would be waylaid by bandits along their routes of travel.  So they worked out a trust-based practice in which a party in one location would receive a payment, and a trusted... read more »

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Now in development: Mastering Corporate Entrepreneurship On-Line

What if you could take teams of people or individual contributors with an innovation mandate and have them go through a state of the art, hands-on and very applied journey through the essence of innovation in the convenience of an on-line format? Part executive development program, part coaching program and part real-time learning, the vision for Columbia’s new Mastering Corporate Entrepreneurship Course is just that. It’s been a huge project... read more »

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Corporate entrepreneurship’s latest incarnation-the virtual startup

In this insightful blog post, Steve Sokol runs through the pluses and minuses of being part of a startup within a large corporation, what he calls a “virtual startup.”  The pluses are many – a salary, funding and office space among them.  There are also some minuses – having to play nicely with corporate systems and staying within the rules of protecting the brand are some. What I found intriguing... read more »

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Workers of the World…upsides and downsides of the on-demand workforce

In an article that appeared the other day on CNBC, reporter Cadie Thompson mulls over the effects of all these on-demand companies that make their money by connecting people with tasks to be done or resources that in a previous era would not have been connected at all.  While some enjoy the flexibility and control of the on-demand environment, for many other workers the unpredictable, precarious earnings they generate can... read more »

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Why the failure of Google Glass Might be a Boon to Google

It’s official. The nerdy glasses with augmented reality and all kinds of image capturing technologies have been pulled from the market. Already, the pundits are dissecting what went wrong. It is indeed a juicy story, with hints of mad scientists hard at work in a secret building that most Googlers didn’t even know about, an affair between one of the staff on the project and Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin, and... read more »

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Lightsquared and dirty rotten cheaters!

At Columbia's School of Engineering, I was very pleased to attend the Armstrong lecture given by Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs.  He gave a fascinating talk about Qualcomm's founding, how it emerged from a previous company called Linkabit and how he views technological progress.  It was both interesting and inspiring to hear from someone whose innovations have profoundly changed the world. Among the points he made during the Q&A portion of the... read more »

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An application of Discovery Driven Planning by one of Mac’s students

Mac teaches Discovery Driven Planning in his entrepreneurship classes at Wharton, and received the following story about how one of his students applied DDP: Mac, I took your MGMT 802 class earlier this year.  I'm working for a start-up in D.C. this summer, and I wanted to share with you how incredibly helpful the DDP process has been. The founders are in the process of raising money and had built... read more »

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Fascinating application of discovery driven planning to social ventures

My dear colleagues Jim Thompson and Ian MacMillan have just published a fascinating description of their work on social entrepreneurship, entitled "Making Social Ventures Work".  It's a neat usage of discovery driven planning in an entrepreneurial setting.  Here's how it starts:   In recent years, we’ve all experienced considerable volatility—financial breakdowns, natural disasters, wars, and other disruptions. It’s clear we need new approaches to the world’s toughest economic challenges and... read more »

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Sagantia Innovation Boot Camp - Kick Starting Innovation

Sagantia is a UK based technology and product development company that I've been studying as part of the research for a new project.  Among the many interesting things they do is run an innovation boot camp (click on the link to download a case description), which has many characteristics in common with other innovation sessions that I have organized myself.  It's got a lot of similarities to the driving organic growth and... read more »

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A Sample DDP for an entrepreneurial business

While looking for something else, I ran across this post which provides an outline for an entrepreneurial business using the discovery driven planning framework.  I know many of you are always keen to find additional examples and applications, so I thought I'd provide a link.  read more »

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Brilliant reflections on skunkworks

Ah, skunkworks.  Those small, agile units beloved of large organizations looking for the Next New Idea.  I've written about them in the past – and outlined some of the pitfalls of setting them up and expecting great things to happen without having some way of re-integrating them back to the core business.   I ran across this really interesting blog post this morning that adds a lot of rich texture to... read more »

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Top Ten Reasons Not to go Public

A reporter recently asked me about the downsides of a firm going public – why might it not be the best course of action for them?  Here are my "top ten":   It is a major distraction from the business of serving customers and meeting customer needs. Leadership teams today have to ‘recruit’ the right kinds of shareholders – activity which has nothing to do with actual business wealth creation... read more »

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