What’s Startup Thinking?

Have you ever caught yourself daydreaming in a long and boring staff meeting about how much better things could be if there was a tool to make planning the meeting easier and more effective? Or what if you got your manager to see things your way about a new way to market your company? Guess what? You’re probably applying Startup Thinking without even thinking about it!

Enterprise scale business requires a management style that favours the corporate whole over the individual. The French invented a word that describes this and which the world has adopted—bureaucracy. It’s no surprise that this word emerged right around the time of the industrial revolution.

Typically, a more bureaucratic management style starts to take root and becomes an absolute necessity for stable growth when a company’s headcount climbs above 500. A well-functioning management bureaucracy is an absolutely critical requirement when you’re a 5,000 person enterprise.

Take the sales process for instance. When you’re a smaller business a certain amount of latitude exists for the sales team, say when you’re offering a customer a discount as part of the negotiation process to close a deal. As companies grow and sales departments become more structured, it becomes more difficult to offer a discount without first getting managerial approval—and for good reason. Cashflow and performance projections on a $500 million pipeline become a lot more complicated when discounting isn’t closely managed.

However, it’s precisely this management style that makes enterprise business so susceptible to startup disruption. Smart enterprise companies know this and invest in activities that are more closely tied to the spirit of the startup.

Think of Google’s 20% Time or 3M’s 15% Time. Other companies support innovation-driven ‘skunkworks’ divisions that operate without many of the bureaucratic restraints imposed on more traditional lines of business.

The drive for innovation fuels much of the M&A activity for larger organizations—and their preferred target? Startups. It can’t just be the awesome nap rooms and free snacks that attract corporate money to the startup scene. So what is it?

Talent. IP. Customers. Startup Thinking brings innovation to the enterprise.