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Virtually all large companies, even those in old-line industries such as machinery and agriculture, have gone digital to some extent. But at many companies the efforts are falling far short of their potential. At one Asia-based conglomerate, for instance, digital initiatives have been popping up everywhere, and business units compete for the same digital talent. The company set up a digital incubator off to the side, but it has failed to spark interest with the mainstream divisions, and so creates great proofs of concept that never get embraced at large scale. As digital continues to upend most business operations and markets, traditional organizations like this conglomerate struggle to cope with the pace of change. Breathless headlines and countless TED Talks suggest that executives should be [...]
By Elizabeth Spaulding and Greg Caimi Google is widely hailed as one of the most nimble and innovative companies in the world. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t confronted its share of big company organizational issues. Its creation of Alphabet is a case in point. The company set out to compete more effectively amid constant disruption when it placed its well-established businesses (Google, Gmail, YouTube, Android, Maps) with Google and its more speculative businesses (Calico, Waymo, Nest, Google Fiber, GV, CapitalG) with Alphabet. The objective was to separate the more mature money generators from the company’s growth initiatives. The new structure would give each business the leeway to make decisions based on the contours of its specific market while discouraging the resource battles that slow [...]
By Ouriel Lancry “Quick, hire some data scientists!” “Let’s fix our mobile app!” “Let’s accumulate data—we will use it later.” When facing the threat of disruption, companies usually respond with a cacophony of digital initiatives—a mixture of big bets for the future and little bets that might yield a win to report on the next quarterly earnings call. These efforts won’t be enough to buffer the company from the next Silicon Valley upstart, but the company will “feel” more digital, at least. Half measures are the telltale signs of a company that lacks a digital strategy to steer it toward its long-term vision. In the first blog post of our series, we discussed the importance of developing a strong inner game—the culture, data analytics and [...]
By Greg Caimi and Elizabeth Spaulding When J. Patrick Doyle took over as CEO of Domino’s Pizza in 2010, the company’s shares had been stuck at around $9 for three years. It was time to shake up the business. Change started with accepting a simple fact: A tasty pie would take Domino’s only so far without a seamless delivery experience. Domino’s would need to rapidly expand its technological know-how—and fast. To get there, the company increased its software and analytics staff, which now accounts for half of the 800 employees at the company’s headquarters. It set out to create a best-in-class mobile app that would allow users to order pizza with a simple text message or tweet and track their orders in real time. And [...]
By Chris Brahm, Richard Lichtenstein and Elizabeth Spaulding Among the many clichés born of Silicon Valley’s start-up culture, few are as misunderstood as the notion of “fail fast”—the idea that a company should simply offer a new product or feature to the market and see what happens. While the spirit of experimentation is right, poor test-and-learn execution has been known to hobble a company’s fortunes for years to come. But just like social networks and search portals, the fail fast concept has grown up. Rather than introducing new products willy-nilly, companies are using technology to collect vast amounts of customer feedback in less time, extracting the lessons and errors from their trials sooner. These powerful test-and-learn techniques are helping companies get to the best answers [...]
What makes innovation programs succeed? Darrell Rigby, who leads Bain's Global Innovation practice, discusses how Agile innovation teams can help companies quickly pivot to take advantage of market opportunities. Read the Bain Brief: Agile Innovation
Darrell Rigby, head of Bain's Global Innovation practice, shared Bain's latest thinking on Agile techniques in a Facebook Live session hosted by Harvard Business Review. Read more: Agile Innovation
INSPIRED BY: Agile Innovation
With recent digital innovations, now is the time for organizations to rethink the way work gets done. Chris Brahm, a partner in the Advanced Analytics practice, discusses how digital technologies have increased the scope and power of process reengineering.