Big Companies, Visionary Leaders Set to Unleash Big Company Innovation

The popular perception is that most corporations are just too big and deliberate to produce game-changing inventions is a thing of the past. Scott Anthony says we are now on the cusp of a new generation of innovation, where a confluence of factors will make it possible for large companies to innovate on a scale never seen before.

Three trends are behind this shift. First, the increasing ease and decreasing cost of innovation mean that start-ups now face the same short-term pressures that have constrained innovation at large companies; as soon as a young company gets a whiff of success, it has to race against dozens of copycats. Second, large companies, taking a page from start-up strategy, are embracing open innovation and less hierarchical management and are integrating entrepreneurial behaviors with their existing capabilities. And third, although innovation has historically been product- and service-oriented, it increasingly involves creating business models that tap big companies’ unique strengths.

It’s early days still, but the evidence is compelling that we are entering a new era of innovation, in which entrepreneurial individuals, or “catalysts,” within big companies are using those companies’ resources, scale, and growing agility to develop solutions to global challenges in ways that few others can.

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