Why Enterprises Need Startups: The Boiling Frog.

In 1975 a Kodak Employee invented the digital camera, his bosses made him hide it. Kodak went bankrupt (see note 1).

In 1999 Professor Clayton Christensen of Harvard coined the phrase ‘disruptive innovation’ in the context of tech startup companies challenging entrenched market leaders with less capital, time and resources.

in the last 10 years in particular tech startups have exploded globally due to enabling technologies that are converging on free to commence a company. Mobile and internet are pervasive and ‘software is eating the world’ is a widely accepted truth as industry after industry is disrupted.

Today, a privately held tech startup worth over $1billion are called unicorns, those over $100m are called centurions. This shorthand is needed because there are so many of them.

In 2015, the top 100 unicorn tech startups are collectively worth over $500 billion and most are 3-5 years old (see note 2). In fact the list is changing so fast with new entrants, capital raising and stock exchange listings that the list is updated constantly. Gone are the days when those lists were published quarterly by the old publishing industry giants.

In 2015, the total wealth creation and social impact of disruptive tech startups over the last 20 years is estimated by The Start Society at well over $3 trillion. Yes, trillion. T_R_I_L_L_I_O_N. Yikes!

The innovation temperature is rising globally, and most legacy industries don’t notice until too late. They call this the boiling frog syndrome, their refer mechanisms are not sensitive enough to notice their landscape is changing around them in a life threatening manner.

So the next time you bemoan the lack of innovation in your large corporate department, rather than just pointing at the problem, be part of the solution, help foster innovation and share big business problems with nimble startups by starting here: https://thestartsociety.com/join with a corporate intrapreneurs package and embrace open innovation. Kick your hackers/developers and hipsters/designers/UX experts out the door and help them transition from a world of enterprise IT to innovative intrapreneurs.

The worst thing you can do is not act. Don’t believe me? Google this: ‘boiling frog’. Good luck with that.

Pete Cooper is the Founder of The Start Society, a for-purpose grassroots independent organisation that helps tech startup entrepreneurs help themselves.

Need More?



  1. BRW article.
  2. CB Insights

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