One thing that often gets lost as a company scales is the creative spirit that contributed to a successful start-up. It’s not hard for a company to hold onto its edge as an innovator if it puts into place disciplines such as creating an electronic system to track and follow up on innovative ideas that might otherwise get lost on sticky notes and whiteboards.
A surprising number of companies don’t put systems like these in place and would benefit from the guidance of experts on scale-ups so they don’t evolve into corporate bureaucracies. Quasi-public regional innovation centers like those in Canada can be invaluable in helping scale-ups grow without losing their entrepreneurial mojo.
Bringing together resources from both universities and government, they offer leaders access to advice from seasoned entrepreneurs in residence, extensive angel networks and programs to help with team- and culture-building. Outside of the regional innovation centers, programs like Creative Destruction Lab at University of Toronto and the Council of Canadian Innovators are also offering much-needed strategic guidance, but we need more of them.
The future of work potentially could be very bright for many people, including those whose jobs are being lost to forces like automation, but only if we embrace scale-ups in an organized way.
— By Ken Tencer, CEO of consulting firm Spyder Works and author of two books on business innovation, “The 90% Rule” and “Cause a Disturbance”