Corporate Entrepreneurship: Digital Acceleration, the Silicon Valley Way

In these days, when teleworking, virtual events and online classes are the new normal, many sources talk about the era of “fast-tracking digital transformation in companies“. So, building on the last post on the startups ecosystem in Silicon Valley, the challenge is: what can established business learn from that ecosystem?

Based on my past experiences on big corporate digital transformations, during the first stages of digital transformation corporations realize the value of test & learn, and keep on building solutions based on customer insights, many of them with agile teams. But how can escalate everything in these established corporations? Sure, they are not like startups, free of many limits (an example, in the upper picture the first server from Google, homemade with Legos in 1996). Thinking in terms of the Silicon Valley way, we can propose to internalize that ecosystem for established business:

The opportunity is accelerating those innovation efforts, with a systematic of business growth. With “agile” internal teams, similar to startups, but inside the company. This is a controversial proposal, with some detractors when not properly coordinated. But with the right sponsorship (CEO and Board levels) and coordination, it can be a source of competitive differentiation. These internal cross functional startups require the support of different functions, as well as the executive guidance of a “growth board”, similar to the venture capital role for growing startups.

For example, Eric Ries explains the success of GE: it is possible to transform the culture of a big established organization, and to drive its long-term growth. In Europe, BBVA has evolved its scrums into digital factories, where 33000 employees are already organized with agile methodology techniques.

Although each business is different, the first question is key: Where should your organization begin?

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