We analyzed 20 of the most innovative companies and around 100 of their enterprise size competitors, and the theoretical potential for enterprises to compete. As a result, we found three key reasons why enterprises fail:


Most enterprises underestimate entirely the investments necessary to fund innovation. When we look at one of the most recent innovative companies with just one product like Tesla, Cisco, Google, Facebook and so forth, they needed funding of about $1 Billion before they went public and became self-sufficient. All of these companies had only two risks: 1) to fail and shut down 2) to not return the funding to investors.


An established enterprise, when disrupting themselves has three more risk: 1) loosing a billion$ enterprise, 2) risking tens or hundreds of thousands of jobs, and 3) risking that general investors loose their investment entirely, which is different for the general stockholders versus venture capitalists. However – going forward, those risks also persist when they FAIL to be innovative and get disrupted by others.


Enterprises with more than 10,000 employees have a size that almost forbids to be innovative. Innovation is not only expensive but resource-intensive. Employees need to be at a healthy utilization rate for the company to be profitable and stay in business as well as sustain all kinds of downs and challenging times. How could a company inspire their teams to be more innovative while keeping its current performance? If the teams have time for innovation, they have not been fully utilized, and the company must focus on getting back on track and not derail. And if the team is fully utilized, there is no time to relax, meditate, get inspired, and think of new and industry-shaping ideas. Innovation needs to be managed as well, and it requires resources. Hoping for a lucky punch is a really bad idea. And dreaming of getting a free lunch… you know. Why does innovation work in a startup? Well, at least so far, it only worked in the initiation phase. What Intel, Cisco, Google , SAP did was ground-braking. But today 30 – 50 years later…? They ran into the same challenge. Like everybody else, they try fiercely to innovation – but we still wait for the outcome. And there is a chance they get disrupted from a startup that may have already been founded.


Enterprises with millions of consumers (B2B or B2C) are essentially out of touch with their target audience. They know only through questionable research what those users or consumers really want or need. The C-level of a global enterprise does not know what their customer’s pain points really are and what their dreams may be. The hierarchies, reporting structures, value definitions have no path for innovation to be happening. The experiences of top-level managers and the experiences of their customers are almost fundamentally different. The experiences of startup founders and the ones of their future customers, however, are well aligned or at least entirely understood – until they grow to an enterprise level. Microsoft executives get their laptops configured by their team. That way, they save the day it cost to get everything in order after buying a new machine. And on top of all that, the “customer experience thinking” is still seen as an esoteric luxury by most top managers as it is too hard to report on and to get it into the annual report in a way that it wows the investors.


In the past four years exploring the entire “Innovations Paradigm” based on our own experience building startups to billion-dollar companies and working with other startups that became billion $ companies we finally developed methods and tools that harness the innovation power of an enterprise by bringing new ways of thinking and new working models and cultural elements to selected teams.

The Innovation Challenge

Corporations of all sizes, older than 15 years are in jeopardy. It is NOT LACK OF INNOVATION as such, it is lacking the UNDERSTANDING HOW TO INNOVATE. TEST: Tell your teams to be more innovate. The response to the question may be: “Yes, we’d love to do that, but please teach me what I must do to be innovative”. Your team learned to handle machines, compile algorithms, develop strategies and business plans, how to sell and how to market, create a long term financial forecast or how to hire talents. They never learned how to innovate or how to create a disruptive business model. Most even set innovation equal to invention. The real challenge is:
1) We need to understand how one creates ideas in the first place?
2) How these ideas may turn into an ‘innovation’?
3) How do we know that those ideas are actually something the market will buy?
4) When do we invest in such an innovation and how much?
5) How do we organize an innovation process from idea creation to market success?

Not lack of innovation but lack of understanding how to innovate



Most businesses are seriously challenged and try all kinds of ways: Creating an innovation lab, investing in startups, trying to observe young innovators, hire teams to be creative and innovate – and all kinds of random actions in the pursuit of “finding innovation”. This already went on for decades with no serious success. Young businesses continue to disrupt entire industry segments. Whether it is the car industry, the taxi industry, the hotel industry, the mobile communication industry, the micropayment industry, the mobile payment industry, and on and on and on. Who is next: the insurance industry, the airline industry, the food industry, the waste industry, the ITC industry, the automobile industry, the mechanics parts industry, the legal advice industry…  Every industry will experience major disruption in the coming years. And this is NOT because some come up with some crazy ideas and think differently. 200 to 500 out of 1 million startups make it. So that is not much . But those 200 – 500 disrupt any available industry. And will not wait for anybody.


Each and every corporation has its own innovations paradigm. Most don’t even know. The innovations paradigm is the entire complex from idea development in an R&D center or innovation lab to successful market entry. Today this is all experimentation, trial and error. And we apply the mechanisms that we know to find out. Yes we need to think very differently – but not how we try today. Funny enough we need to follow age old rules:

  • We need to find out how ideas are actually created and processed
  • Once we understand how our brain works, we can apply strategies to use it.
  • We then will need to dive far deeper into our business ecosystem than ever before
  • And finally develop radically different solutions that unfold an ideal way for customers
  • Leadership in this entire process can make it a repeatable process so one can continuously innovate

Implementing such a “Innovations Paradigm” into the enterprise is far less difficult as it may look, yet it is not done over night and requires the buy-in of the C-Level. When anybody says we need to think like a startup, WE is all of the company. And the key driver is always the CEO – Startup or Global Enterprise. Carl Benz, Henry Ford, Robert Bosch, Graham Bell, Robert Noyce, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos were all young crazy entrepreneurs when they started. And many of that league are just about to get disrupted from people who think and act different – but that thinking is no secret any more and not unique.

You may want to join our webinar series of how to innovate and how to get your team to true innovation.