Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Do Corporate Skunk Works Need to Die?

Successful entrepreneur, Stanford faculty member, and lean startup guru Steve Blank has written an intriguing blog post titled, "Why Corporate Skunk Works Need to Die."  Blank argues, "But as successful as skunks works were to the companies that executed them well, innovation and execution couldn’t co-exist in the same corporate structure. Skunk works were emblematic of corporate structures that focused on execution and devalued innovation."  He argues that companies today must master the art of continuous innovation.  Innovation and execution must be enacted together in organizations.   He explains, "To start it requires board support and CEO and executive staff agreement. And recognition that cultural, process and procedure changes are needed to embrace learning and experimentation alongside the existing culture of execution."  I would agree with Blank that companies must stimulate learning and experimentation.  I do wonder whether that can be done by those who have their heads down focused on daily execution.  It's easier said than done, in my experience.  Blank promises future blog posts with more details on how innovation and execution can co-exist side-by-side in large organizations. I'll be looking forward to those writings. 

No comments: