Being “innovative” is all the rage nowadays. Companies big and small, tech and non-tech, are striving to seem innovative to employees and customers.
I’ve worked at such companies, and I’ve helped many product managers working at such companies through my product help calls. As such, I’ve seen companies that are actually trying to be innovative, and those that seem more interested in giving the appearance of being innovative.
So here are ten things a company can do to appear innovative than actually be innovative:
#10. Start using buzzwords, like “MVP”, “lean”, “experimentation”, “hypothesis” and “failing fast” without actually understanding what they mean or what they involve.
#9. Visit Silicon Valley a lot, and come back to share stories of t-shirt wearing founders and how everyone there uses Macs.
#8. Start sponsoring and hosting lots of local tech meetups.
#7. Change the office to look more “startupy”. Or better yet, build a brand new one with an open floor plan, sofas, “nap rooms”, and an Xbox.
#6. Offer lots of free food and unlimited sodas, and host “Pizza Tuesdays” and Wednesday afternoon NERF gun battles.
#5. Tell folks at company town halls that you’re embracing innovation. Just keep saying this. Over and over.
#4. Declare that “mobile is the future”.
#3. Enthusiastically share with employees the millions the company is spending to acquire hot tech startups and entrepreneurs (instead of investing in the existing employee talent).
#2. Declare “entrepreneurship” as a corporate strategy. Or better yet, start challenging employees to be more “entrepreneurial”. Make sure they put it in their professional development plans.
#1. Launch an innovation lab. It may not actually do anything real, but this must be done.
Do these 10 simple things and your company can look innovative too.
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