A start-up’s success is not gauged by earnings or quarterly reports; it’s measured by how well it identifies a problem in the market and matches it to a solution…But that’s not what life is like within a mature organization. When corporations reach maturity, the measure of success is very different: it’s profit.
Once a business figures out how to solve its customers’ problems, organizational structures and processes emerge to guide the company towards efficient operation. Seasoned managers steer their employees from pursuing the art of discovery and towards engaging in the science of delivery. Employees are taught to seek efficiencies, leverage existing assets and distribution channels, and listen to (and appease) their best customers.
Such practices and policies ensure that executives can deliver meaningful earnings to the street and placate shareholders. But they also minimize the types and scale of innovation that can be pursued successfully within an organization. No company ever created a transformational growth product by asking: “How can we do what we’re already doing, a tiny bit better and a tiny bit cheaper?”