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Standardisation versus InnovationTechnology 3005 views
As businesses scale-up their operations they have to standardise on things like technology platforms and processes.
But where does that leave innovation - which is essential for companies to maintain their competitive edge?
Standardisation is all about minimising risk whilst maximising throughput. It makes sense, but it can lead to unwieldy systems that are like oil tankers when asked to make changes.
Compare this to small start-up companies, which change direction like a champion downhill bike rider. (If you don't know what this is like, see the amazing video below!) They try things out, often with little regard to the risks, which are small at this stage in their development.
The challenge is for small start-ups to learn some of the standardisation practices of the large companies (otherwise they'll remain forever small), and for the large companies to adopt some of the innovation techniques of the small companies, without compromising on risk.
For the large companies, it's not just about allowing time to communication and innovate (like Google). It's also about providing test-beds where ideas can be tried out in safe ways. Sometimes these will need to be client-facing - as long as you've got a good enough relationship with the client so that they know they're acting as beta testers.
For the small companies, it's about identifying the things you do that can be replicated and documented so that, as you grow, new people can slot in easily. It's things like this that will make you attractive to the larger clients.