Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The boss is no longer the Caesar


I came across this short but illuminating speech by Scott Cook, Intuit’s founder.

He gives very interesting suggestions on how bosses can help create a culture of innovation within an organization. Following are some of the gems from his speech.

“Boss’s role is not that of Caesar making decisions, but to put in a system where junior people can learn from faster and cheaper experiments, so that ideas can prove themselves.”

“Move decision making from politics and power-points to enabling ideas to prove themselves. Nothing enfranchises innovators more than this.”

He stresses that this approach can work in formulating government policies as much as helping companies launch new ideas/products. The examples in his speech amply demonstrate this.

You might think that in the digital environment, like for example in a digital agency, the culture of low-cost and fast experimentation is all pervasive. Nothing can be further from the truth than that.

Testing an idea with low-cost or no-cost experiments almost never happens. Somehow the mindset of ‘big campaigns’ with ‘big budgets’ always comes into play, even in the digital space. In fact, the client is a willing accomplice to this. But this big budget does not translate to bigger fees as far as agencies are concerned. Digital agencies, for the most part, live in penury when compared to their mainline agency cousins.

I guess, we are in the mesozoic stage of digital evolution in India. Let the dinosaurs roam.

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