One of my favorite innovation phrases that I always use on stage or in a CEO off-site is “think big, start small, scale fast!”
So I woke up this morning and came into the home office, and was thinking about the “start small’ part of that phrase. And quickly jotted down a list of small ideas.
- do small projects: too many innovation efforts get bogged down, bloated, and blow up due to big scope and size!
- celebrate small wins : not every innovation effort needs to be a home run
- learn from small failures: I love the phrase fail early, fail often, fail fast; you can do that better if your project is small
- scatter your team for small exploration: there is so much going on in so many industries that is so tiny but has huge implications, you’ve simply got to let your people explore!
- reframe the idea of small: put into perspective how small changes can have a big impact
- look for small winners: for example, there are tremendous innovations in manufacturing concepts with small manufacturers — learn from them!
- give a small bit: in an era of open collaboration and global insight, giving back some R&D can be a good thing
- seek small heroes: in the global economy, there is probably a small 1 or 2 person company who is doing exactly the cool, innovate thing you need. Find them!
- establish small decision groups: destroy committees; if there has to be one to make a decision, limit it to 1 or 2 or 3 people.
- focus on the power of small: one person can change a company, an industry, a country, a world!
Of course, my ideas aren’t original. The original concept of small perhaps came from the greatest advertising campaign of all time — for the VW Beetle, Think Small.
It’s a powerful concept. And while I was writing this post, I was looking for an image related to that campaign — and came across this ad from a small California design firm — one that extolls the power of their smallness.
It’s right there : “Small teams work best.”
In my case, the entirety of my career as a global keynote speaker, futurist, trends and innovation expert is that it’s me, and my wife, and a small home office that is plugged into a great big world. From here, I serve up insight and guidance to a vast range of global organizations, associations, CEO’s and leadership teams. Thinking big, starting small, scaling fast.
Perhaps the real secret to succeeding in a world where the future belongs to those who are fast!