Culture and Innovation

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

Culture and Innovation

Samsung execs want to change the culture of its 300,000 employee company. Samsung wants to be more entrepreneurial. They want that start-up feel - the flexibility, the innovation, the ability to react quickly to customer needs.

It is a challenge to change the culture of any business, let alone a global company with 300K employees. Remember that Mayer tried to change the culture at Yahoo when she arrived there.

The only companies that emphasize culture are Rackspace, Amazon and Zappos. And they have it built into the bricks and mortar as well as the hiring, promoting and peer review.

Tampa has two companies that help companies innovate; they add a startup department and an innovation center to the company. One is called Dabble Labs that will work with many industries. OccamMD only works with medical companies.

This is more like bringing Special Forces advisors to help you take care of a problem. It isn't changing the culture. Or making a permanent modification.

Tampa also has Thunderdome, which is where US Special Operations Command works with acadmia, local businesses and inventors to keep the military arm innovative and competitive.

Many companies are trying to be more innovative and more like a startup. Some of it is to be innovative and competitive; some of it might be to retain talent. And maybe a little has to do with company valuation / stock price.

It is a Big Hairy Audacious Goal to change culture in a global corp to be like a start-up.

In telecom, service providers could do this by trying more things (and failing at some). It works for Google.

No on asked for the Model T or the iPod or the iPhone. Experimenting allows for your company to find the next penicillin. [Penicillin was found by accident. Slack wasn't on purpose either.] Companies need more dabbling, more experimenting, especially in a time when you can analyze the results. Then learn from them and repeat the cycle.

This is part of the lean startup cycle. So a company doesn't have to go crazy; it just has to start with the experimenting, which will have to slog through years of meetings, politics and anti-brainstorming. It will have to allow for quiet time, reading, playing, being creative in a safe zone, and talking to customers. Not things that most companies do. (That's why many outsource it.)

Certainly the culture has to embrace experimenting and failing before it will actually work. So good luck to Samsung. [Samsung already made improvements to their sales channels.]


In thinking about the difference between telco and cable today, one big difference is that the cablecos don't compete and have an R&D arm, Cable Labs. Telco used to have Bell Labs but after Lucent plummeted, the telcos lost their R&D arm. Cable has had DOCSIS 3.0 and 3.1 while telcos wait for something better than VDSL2 (!)

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