Startup Institute’s Boston Program Director Rich Di Tieri brought a panel of experts together at Wednesday morning’s 8:30 a.m. NewCo session to talk about how large organizations can compete with disruptive business models to improve business outcomes. According to Di Tieri, when a company feels the pressure to innovate, they hire people and spend money in an effort to find a winning formula for innovation. But these efforts will fall flat unless the company changes its cultural mindset, departmental structure, and operating procedures.
Startup Institute offers personalized career mentorship and connections to people seeking to launch or advance their careers in the innovation space. Their NewCo panel included Allan Telio, Peggy Yu, and Tyler Sakats each of whom has experience working in both large and emerging companies and experience scaling businesses. One key takeaway is the idea that innovation must be protected to flourish. Larger companies depend on their key performance indicators and executives look for quick returns, but innovation can take a long time to develop and shouldn’t be pressured. As Yu stated, “it needs to be okay for an innovation engine to fail for two years, and it’s fine for the business.” Performance pressure stifles innovation.
The panel also touched on hiring strategies for companies in growth mode: “Hire one bad cultural fit, and it can tank the entire team.” And they talked about creating process for growing teams, suggesting that a good strategy is to layer corporate guidelines like an onion, developing process that solves only for current problems and is not future looking. While it’s helpful to get roadblocks out of the way to encourage innovation, the panel agreed, process can provide guardrails and direction, but should not slow the team down or impede critical and creative thinking.
This panel discussion took place during NewCo Boston, an annual festival hosted by MassTLC where 85+ tech companies open their doors and welcome the community in to learn about their vision and culture. NewCo is the brainchild of Wired Magazine founder John Battelle and is held in a couple dozen cities around the globe.
NewCo Boston is one of four signature industry-wide events MassTLC hosts throughout the year – the others include: Boston/TechJam in June, the Mass Technology Leadership Awards in September, and TRANSFORM in November. Check out our events calendar for details upcoming MassTLC events.