The notion of creating an independent entity to manage, execute, and profit from innovation with little direction from the enterprise or cooperation with existing business units challenges some of the most deeply held values of corporate culture. It's difficult to accept that a successful, long-standing, highly respected, and deeply experienced organization has nothing beyond financing to offer its fledgling innovation division.
Over the course of discussing the ideas in this book with enterprise executives, we encountered enthusiastic support, but also objections, many of which influenced our approach to the innovation colony concept and the lean startup process itself. We've listened to executives bemoan the lack of entrepreneurial spirit among employees and their employees carp over lack of support for internal entrepreneurship, and we've concluded that a separate innovative entity is the best approach. We've watched enterprises throw all their energy into making incremental gains while smaller, leaner organizations redefined their industry. We respect the power of a great brand, stellar distribution, and financial firepower, but they're largely impotent in the absence of groundbreaking business ideas that have been developed to product/market fit. At that point, however, an enterprise's strengths can be brought to bear in a way that few startups will be able to match.
In the next several pages, we examine some of the most common objections and explain why the enterprise ...