• DeepNovation

A decade of Steve Blank innovation and entrepreneurship


I would like to look at 9 key articles that Steve Blank has shared between 2011 and 2020 in the Harvard business review and that have inspired the world community of corporate innovation managers and entrepreneurs.


Interestingly, after defining the concept of "Lean Startup", Steve Blank analyze how this has been wrongly implemented with corporate incubators and bias toward adopting an entrepreneurial mindset at every level of large corporation.

1

February 2013 (by Ron Ashkenas)

2

May 2013

​3

October 2016

Why Visionary CEOs Never Have Visionary Successors

4

June 2017

Why You Can’t Just Tell a Company “Be More Like a Startup”

5

​September 2017

​What Your Innovation Process Should Look Like

6

​October 2017

​Why GE’s Jeff Immelt Lost His Job: Disruption and Activist Investors

7

February 2019

​McKinsey’s Three Horizons Model Defined Innovation for Years. Here’s Why It No Longer Applies.

8

​October 2019

​Why Companies Do “Innovation Theater” Instead of Actual Innovation

9

​March 2020

​A 5-Day Plan to Keep Your Company Afloat

As shared on a large corporation website: Link

"As the boss, your job is to create—and manage the chaos. And be optimistic. A pessimist sees danger in every opportunity, but an optimist sees opportunity in every danger.”


Illustration: Steve Blank (credit, Thinkstock)






Extract from Harvard business review with link to their website for full article


1 - February 2013 (by Ron Ashkenas)

Steve Blank on Why Big Companies Can’t Innovate

extract: "Finding a viable business model is not a linear, analytical process that can be guided by a business plan. Instead it requires iterative experimentation, talking to large numbers of potential customers, trying new things, and continually making adjustments. As such, discovering a new business model is inherently risky, and is far more likely to fail than to succeed. This is why companies need a portfolio of new business start-ups rather than putting all of their eggs into a limited number of baskets. But with little tolerance for risk, established firms want their new ventures to produce revenue in a predictable way — which only increases the possibility of failure. People who are best suited to search for new business models and conduct iterative experiments usually are not the same managers who succeed at running existing business units. Instead, internal entrepreneurs are more likely to ..., continually question authority, and have a high tolerance for failure. Yet instead of appointing these people to create new ventures, big companies often select high-potential managers who meet their standard competencies and are good at execution"


2 - May 2013

Why the Lean Start-Up Changes Everything

extract: "Favors experimentation over elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over traditional “big design up front” development. Although the methodology is just a few years old, its concepts—such as “minimum viable product” and “pivoting”—have quickly taken root in the start-up world. A business plan is essentially a research exercise written in isolation at a desk before an entrepreneur has even begun to build a product. The assumption is that it’s possible to figure out most of the unknowns of a business in advance, before you raise money and actually execute the idea. start-up: a temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model. Corporations have spent the past 20 years increasing their efficiency by driving down costs. But simply focusing on improving existing business models is not enough anymore. Almost every large company understands that it also needs to deal with ever-increasing external threats by continually innovating. To ensure their survival and growth, corporations need to keep inventing new business models. This challenge requires entirely new organizational structures and skills."


3 - October 2016

Why Visionary CEOs Never Have Visionary Successors

extract: "Despite Microsoft’s remarkable financial performance, Ballmer failed to understand and execute on the five most important technology trends of the 21st century: in search – losing to Google; in smartphones – losing to Apple; in mobile operating systems – losing to Google/Apple; in media – losing to Apple/Netflix; and in the cloud – losing to Amazon. For Microsoft to have tackled the areas they missed – cloud, music, mobile, apps – would have required an organizational transformation into a services company. And services have a very different business model. They are hard to do in a company that excels at products.One of the strengths of visionary CEOs is that they build an executive staff of world-class operating executives. When visionary founders depart, the operating executives who reported to them believe it’s their turn to run the company. Execution CEOs value stability, process, and repeatable execution. That’s great for predictability, but it often starts a creative death spiral. Creative people start to leave, and other executors are put into more senior roles, hiring more process people, which in turn forces out the remaining creative talent."


4 - June 2017

Why You Can’t Just Tell a Company “Be More Like a Startup”


5 - September 2017

What Your Innovation Process Should Look Like


6 - October 2017

Why GE’s Jeff Immelt Lost His Job: Disruption and Activist Investors


7 - February 2019

McKinsey’s Three Horizons Model Defined Innovation for Years. Here’s Why It No Longer Applies.


8 - October 2019

Why Companies Do “Innovation Theater” Instead of Actual Innovation


9 - March 2020

A 5-Day Plan to Keep Your Company Afloat




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