DBC - "The Corporate Startup" by Viki, Toma & Gons

Druid’s Book Club


Quick Take: Heavy read (like a textbook), but a ton of great info on creating innovation in your business.


Longer Take:


“The Corporate Startup” is a thorough explanation of the why and how to create an innovation ecosystem with an existing business.


Here is a summary of the key points the authors use to set the stage for the book:



· A forever competitive advantage is not real. Innovation is essential for any business to experience continued success.


· Current business success can lead to hubris and blind spots.


· The skills needed to execute your business model are not the same skills needed to create innovation.


· Innovation defined: Novel Idea = Creates value for customers + Profitable business model.


· Truly integrating innovation tools and processes into your business structure (An Innovation Ecosystem vs. a separate R&D lab) is essential to create continued innovation.


The balance of the book covers the tools and processes that can be used to create an “Innovation Ecosystem” within an existing business. The authors go into enough detail that a decision-maker could use this as a step-by-step guide. Most businesses would never be able to use all the tools described here but reading through them provides an extensive toolkit to help your business.


This book is great, but it took some effort to work through it. This really is a textbook as opposed to a popular non-fiction book. But, if you are looking to increase innovation in your business this will be incredibly helpful.


Some of My Favourite Quotes:


“…successful established companies often get trapped by their previous success in a manner that limits their capacity to innovate.”


“…there is no statistically significant relationship between R&D spending and sustained financial performance.”


“…the capacity to change has to already be in place within the company’s DNA. The company has to be strategically designed to be changing, in advance of that change becoming necessary for survival.”


“…the practices that are needed to protect current advantages often run counter to those that are necessary for innovation.”


“One of the reasons innovations fail is premature scaling. This is when a product is taken to scale before the business model is validated.”


Albert Einstein: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”


“…because innovators are usually quite passionate about their ideas, there is a risk that they can take any signal they get as a sign that their idea is good.”


“Targeting the mass market with untested ideas is a recipe for failure, in public! The aspiration is for ideas to reach profitability or at least break even while still serving the early adopter market.”


“Corporate managers often talk about creating a culture of innovation. But what is often put in place are artificial practices that have no real impact on the culture of the company (i.e. innovation theater). … Executives are often frustrated by the lack of innovation in their company. And yet they cling onto old management practices…”

Druid’s Top Entrepreneurship Lesson: Innovation is essential for continued success, but the tools you need to successfully run your business are not the same tools you need to pump innovation into it.




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