Startup Thinking Isn't Enough: Connecting the Dots Between Learning and Doing

The value behind StrategyHack’s core mission has long been to train enterprise marketing teams how to think like a startup. This means crash courses in lean and agile strategy development & deployment, customer value thinking, the Marketing Fundamentals Canvas, etc.

One thing we’ve struggled with is the end-game -- what to do with an engagement after we’ve put the marketing & strategy teams through the StrategyHack curriculum.

We’re beginning to answer that challenge with the StrategyHack Community (coming this summer) as a way for program alumni to remain engaged and learning from top thinkers across industries. It’s going to be awesome, for sure. But should it stop there?

We’re beginning to think the answer is no.

From thinking to doing

Innovation pro Tero Hottinen from Finland has some interesting ideas in his recent article, Working Like a Startup is Not Equal to Working With a Startup. He posits that simply thinking and operating like a startup isn’t enough to encourage the innovation necessary to “turn the huge stage-gate vessel into an iterative and agile Proof-of-Concept machine.”

For a primer on the stage-gate process, click here.

He also states that the first step toward working like a startup is recognizing the need for “new ways of working and an open mind toward initiatives that may seem totally bizarre.”

While this is true, I believe there are a few steps that need to be taken after that in order to prepare a team (or a global organization) for the task of effectively working with the startup community to achieve the kind of innovation that has the potential to re-engineer existing value propositions and position an enterprise to create new, exciting initiatives that drive real value for its customers.

Teaching them to fish

That’s where training comes in. It’s absolutely possible to re-wire the minds of managers and executives to begin thinking about business challenges differently.

Once that has happened, a large organization is much better poised to be successful in finding and partnering with startups, as well as in navigating the potentially awkward road map that ultimately culminates in successful collaboration.

To that end, StrategyHack is making moves to expand our own value offering by not only training enterprise teams how to operate fast and lean -- just like a startup -- but also by helping organizations learn to identify potential partners in the startup community.

Note: we’re not talking about match-making or brokering relationships. There’s no way for us to know exactly what specific early-stage company is going to be a perfect fit for an enterprise organization or is going to be fully able to contribute to a collaboration.

What we are talking about is teaching executive teams how to effectively interface and integrate with the startup community and begin to ask the right questions and look for the right indicators that a particular startup (or group of startups) is a good match.

More on that soon.

If this sounds interesting, drop us a line to find out more!