Andy Binns & Ellie Amirnasr: Paving a Path of Success for Corporate Explorers within Your Organization

Corporate Explorer
Andy Binns & Ellie Amirnasr Paving a Path of Success for Corporate Explorers within Your Organization

In this episode, Andy Binns, co-founder and Director of Change Logic, and an award-winning author who publishes articles on innovation strategy and execution in established firms is joined by an additional guest, Ellie Amirnasr, director of digital ventures at MANN+HUMMEL, who was a chapter author, alongside Andy, of Corporate Explorer Fieldbook: How to Build New Ventures In Established Companies.

Their work with this just-released 2023 book brings to the forefront the corporate explorer: the individuals within your organization that have the prowess to lead innovation. In this episode, we delve deep into these pioneers brimming with new ideas.

In this episode, they share:

  • What is a corporate explorer, and why are they so advantageous to your organization?
  • How you as a leader can create a culture that paves the path for success for corporate explorers to innovate
  • The recipe and ingredients that spark innovation within an organization
  • and the distinct stages of innovation projects, and what metrics to consider when deciding to continue funding a project at each stage

Episode Timeline:

00:00—Highlight from today’s episode

01:18—Introducing Andy & Ellie + The topic of today’s episode

02:34—If you really know me, you know that…

05:33—What is your definition of strategy?

08:30—Could you talk to us about your organization, qlair?

09:52—Could you define a “corporate explorer” for us?

11:20—What are some of the aspects that an organization needs to have in place to enable corporate explorers?

13:59—What are some shifts that leaders need to make to allow for corporate explorers?

17:53—Could you lead us through the stages of a new venture and how it relates to decision-making and funding?

26:44—What is the mechanism that makes it more likely to be successful if you state your goals and metrics at the beginning?

29.13—What is the biggest mistake you see corporate explorers make that you could advise them on?

31:14—How can people follow you and connect with you to continue learning from you?


Additional Resources

Book Website:

LinkedIn: Ellie Amirnasr, Andy Binns



Kaihan Krippendorff: Welcome to the Outthinker’s podcast. Plug into fascinating minds and breakthrough ideas that are transforming industries and the world. I’m your host, Kaihan Krippendorff, founder of Outthinker’s Networks. A global think tank comprised of corporate strategist innovators and entrepreneurs that shaping the future of business. If this describes, you join us at outthinker dot com. Now let’s dive into this week’s episode.

Andy Binns: The Corporate Explorer is the person who builds a new business from inside an existing corporation.

You can be quite small and still have this corporate explorer. And certainly, as you get larger you need these people who are going to find the future for you. They’re going to identify customer problems to solve, they’re going to run experiments about different ways to solve them, and different ways to commercialize the assets that you have. But they also tend to carry another mission in addition to being that sort of business builder. They’re also incubating a new culture very often.

You can be quite small and still have this for it. And certainly, as you get larger, you need these people who are going to find the future for you. They’re going to customer problems to solve, they’re going to run experiments about different ways to solve them and different ways to commercialize the assets that you have, but they also tend to carry another mission in addition to being that sort of business builder, they’re also incubating a new culture very often.

It’s something about the way they’re working that teaches the organization about something different they need to learn, particularly being more agile, being more learning focused.

That was Andy Binns, co-founder and director of Change Logic, an award winning author, who publishes articles on innovation, strategy, and execution in established firms. In this episode, we were joined by an additional guest Ellie Amirnasr, Director of Digital Ventures at MANN+HUMMEL.  She’s also a co-author alongside Andy, of a chapter in Corporate Explorer Field Book How to Build New Ventures in Established Companies.

As you heard in the highlighted clip, their work with this just released 2023 book, brings to the forefront the corporate explorer. The individual within your organization that has the prowess to lead innovation. In this episode, we delve deep into these pioneers brimming with new ideas, and we discuss what is a corporate explorer, and why are they so advantageous to your organization.

How you as a leader can create a culture that paves the path for success for corporate explorers to innovate. The recipe and ingredients that sparked innovation within an organization and the distinct stages of innovation projects and what metrics to consider when deciding to continue funding a project at each stage, ladies and gentlemen, Andy and Ellie.

Kaihan Krippendorff: Andy and Ellie, thank you so much for being here. I know it took us a while to schedule this and I’m thrilled that we finally get to have you on the podcast.

Thanks for having us.

Andy Binns: Thank you very much. Kaihan, really, really excited to be with you again.

Kaihan Krippendorff: So I want to start off with the same two questions. I ask all of my guests, and Andy, you’ve answered these before. Maybe you have different answers.

Ellie, let’s start with you. If you could complete this sentence for me, this is just for us to get to know you, a little bit more personally. It had nothing to do with your work. If you really know me, you know that.

Ellie Amirnasr: If you really know me, you know that’s I love to explore, to create, I love traveling. And the reason I travel is actually putting myself out of my comfort zone constantly and exposing myself to unknowns, because I think that’s how I learned the most, and that’s what I’m known for. Interesting.

Kaihan Krippendorff: What do you think it is about being in a different place that changes your mindset or your openness to learning or something? What do you think it is?

Ellie Amirnasr: I think when you are exposed to something that you’re not used to, or it’s out of your routine, it triggers something in your mind. Either it’s a survival mode, or something that helps you to explore new things, and try to figure out how to navigate through this new environment. I would say, it might be the survival mode that kicks in, and that you will try to figure things out, be more creative in terms of getting through the day in this new environment. And that’s what I really enjoy when I travel, because I don’t know things. And I have to figure things out, and sometimes it’s very creative what you do, and it’s completely out of your own routine.

Kaihan Krippendorff: Wow. Andy, same question for you. If you really know me, you know that.

Andy Binns: Well, if you really know me, you know how much I like to sing.

Kaihan Krippendorff: Wow. I guess I don’t know you that well. I didn’t know this about you.

Andy Binns: You know, if you’re my wife, you’re like, you’ve had enough, frankly. Most other people, one of my funniest things, is when it’s somebody’s birthday in a restaurant, and I start singing because I trained as an opera singer, and I’m very, very loud.

This happened in December, my wife’s birthday in a restaurant here in Gloucester, Massachusetts. And, yes, the restaurant broke out into applause. And then a woman came up and said, “It’s my birthday too, will you sing to me as well?” And then a waitress comes along and she said, “One of the chef’s is a pianist, will you come out and do some Christmas songs at the piano?” I enjoy that a lot. Ellie knows this.

Kaihan Krippendorff: Yes. Have you heard him sing before? Is that?

Ellie Amirnasr: Yes, Started his speech in Stuttgart, while singing, which I think people’s eyes were just like, wow. All of a sudden, everything went quiet and everybody wanted to listen more. I was like, speak more.

Andy Binns: So I gave them a bar of mozart on the grounds that I wanted to talk about Germany, and I don’t speak any German. But I sing German.

Kaihan Krippendorff: Yes.

Ellie Amirnasr: Can you sing it now one more time?

Andy Binns: What did I sing, on (singing in German)

Kaihan Krippendorff: Wow. Wow. We’re going to get into our topic of corporate explorers in a moment, but I would like to start us off with strategy. I ask this of all my guests, and get different answers each time.

What’s your definition of strategy? Let’s start with you, Andy, just to go in the other way.

Andy Binns: Yes. So like you, Kahani, and, you know, I’m at McKinsey, you know, very strategy, you know, that strategy is very important.

I don’t believe in strategy anymore. And, like, strategy is so over. And it’s over because it traps you into the fallacy of planning. The fallacy that you can map out the future in a series of predictable steps. Instead of putting you in the frame of learning. Right.

How do I do something to teach me what customers actually value? How do I frame up even a product launch as something that I’m going to discover and then iterate and build on? And this is really vitally important in this scale of change that we have in markets, the scale of disruption that exists. The number of different ways in which, you know, you can lose markets.

And there are too many examples of people screwing this up, you know, in the book Corporate Explorer, I talk about GE digital and their difficulties with that efforts in industrial, it’s to have things. Or by the way, Siemens did the same. Right. So you know, they were happy for GE to get all the attention for this, but seeing what they’re doing so.

You can look at Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs and their consumer bank. It’s the same story. Right.

People just making these big old bets on a great strategy because they’d heard, you know, younger versions of me and Kaihan to do lots of good analysis and all the rest of it. But turns out that you can’t predict the way the markets are going to unfold. And so I think strategy has become too much about planning, and I want to talk about business experiment fiction.

Kaihan Krippendorff: I gotcha.

Yes. I love that distinction. Some of them have been thinking a lot about lately. It’s the difference between planning and preparation, and we’ll get into that Ellie, how about for you?

What’s your definition of strategy?

Ellie Amirnasr: I mean, listening to Andy. I actually questioned a little bit how I think about the strategy now. But For me, to be honest, the strategy is building blocks, that makes purposeful and valuable architecture, which in this case is an organization. These building blocks are a combination of choices and actions, that positioned organization within its industry and its segments to achieve their vision over the long term. You will always have the frame of the building, which is your core business, and you always have the option for renovation.

You can change the house of things that you’re doing. You can change the look inside or, like, the services that you offer through that organization, but the foundation, then the skills, and then the frame in the long term vision, how people see you will stay kind of the same. And that’s for me, a strategy is a combination of features, acts, decisions that brings a picture a visual purposeful picture to outside people.

Andy Binns: Right. I love that metaphor.

Kaihan Krippendorff: Ellie, we’ve already heard a bit of your background. Of course, I’ve met you already and read a lot about you, just to have our audience understand what you’re known for. You’ve done many, many things, but one thing that you’re known for within MANN+HUMMEL, is qlaire and what that has evolved into.  Can you just tell us what that is?

Ellie Amirnasr: Sure. Within MANN+HUMMEL,, as you said, like, I’m known for Qlaire, which is the digital solution for cleaner management.

MANN+HUMMEL’s Mission is to provide a solution for clean air, clean water, and clean mobility. They have multiple things that they do. They provide physical products for that. They provide services. And my role was to look into digital solutions for clean air management.

And that’s where in 2018, I co-founded, the first corporate startup of MANN+HUMMEL, focusing on that, this topic, it evolved to become a much bigger thing right now. And we’re looking at different aspect of clean air management solutions. But also, we evolved in terms of looking into digital solutions for clean air, clean water, and clean mobility. That’s how I gained the title of kind of a corporate explorer as well, because I had to get my head out. And it’s like, okay, I learned here, what can I find in the other location or in other industry, that MANN+HUMMEL has some foot in the door?

So internally, like co-founder, externally corporate explorer. Yes.

Kaihan Krippendorff: Great. Awesome. And, Andy, you chose Ellie to contribute a chapter on the hunter strategy.

I want to get into what that is, but just in terms of, like, laying out the definitional elements of this conversation. You would call Ellie, I assume a corporate explorer. And so my question, could you just define corporate explorers? Because we know a lot of people say, hey, we’ve got corporate executives or leaders. Entrepreneurs are the ones that do the innovation, then the corporations acquire those, and then they, you know, scale them, that there’s a symbiotic relationship. But you talk about this something in the middle. Who’s that?

Andy Binns: So for me, a corporate explorer is the person who builds a new business from inside an existing corporation. And actually, it doesn’t really matter what size of corporation. I was just talking to a company the other day that’s like five years old, and they have a corporate explorer, because they see a new opportunity to leverage what they’ve got in a different market. You can be quite small and still have this corporate explorer.

And certainly, as you get larger, you need these people who are going to find the future for you. They’re going to identify customer problems to solve. They’re going to run experiments about different ways to solve them, and different ways to commercialize the assets that you have. But they also tend to carry another mission in addition to being that sort of business builder. They’re also incubating a new culture very often.

Something about the way they’re working, that teaches the organization about something different they need to learn, particularly being more agile, being more learning focused.

Kaihan Krippendorff: Gotcha. So Ellie, having been in corporate explorer, being the corporate explorer, what is some of the aspects that an organization needs to have in place in order to enable corporate explorers? Like, what made possible for you and maybe had you done this in a different company and they didn’t have that in place, it might have been more difficult.

Ellie Amirnasr: Yes. That’s actually a very good question because there are a few key elements that you really need for this kind of setup to be successful.

One is definitely a sponsor within the organization, somebody that has high influence. Within MANN+HUMMEL, the CTU and the CTO of the company is the sponsor for that. But also you need a top management buy in. I would say the top management buy in can be in two ways. One is, like, they would completely give it hands off to someone, and then says, like, go ahead and do it. The other one is, which that’s the case in MANN+HUMMEL, which I actually really like, because it gives you some guidance.

They said, this is the structure. This is the framework that we have to go through or we are used to. And then they allow you to lead them up. They allow you to go figure out if something is not working. And listen to you and empower you and trust you to explore it.

And if you feel you come back, you come back with a proposal, and they’ll let you do that. And they guide you through this. So it’s not completely hands off because I definitely needed coaching. I don’t know everything in this world and definitely not everything about MANN+HUMMEL, MANN+HUMMEL,’s DNA, although I worked for that company for ten years, but still, in the top management, they know what Mann + Hummel needs and where they want to be.

They know everything about it. And I need the coaching from them to, like, Yes. We have been there this path. It will not work.
You can go try this one. This is a no no for us. It’s not fitting our strategy or our DNA or anything.

What really worked for me and for our team is having a top management that admits that they don’t know everything.

They listen to us. We have, at MANN+HUMMEL,, they call it filter value, which is like, f stands for focus, I integrity, l leadership, t, trust, e empowerment, and r results. And I would say, I experienced that very tangibly. The trust and empowerment that resulted in or resulted at the end.

Kaihan Krippendorff: And for listeners who are wondering why that spells filter,, why does it spell filter?

Ellie Amirnasr: MANN+HUMMEL, is a filter company, and their vision is leadership and filtration. And Filter is the bread and butter that they produce, and it fits well with the value they bring.

Kaihan Krippendorff: Gotcha. So let me ask you, Andy, you spend a lot of time coaching senior leaders.

Right. And you lay out that there are these different modes. There’s the core mode, and there’s the explorer mode, or the ambidextrous parts of the organization. But I would imagine that even if a leader says, yes, I want corporate explorers like Ellie building our future, there are probably some things that are automatic for them that they may not be aware of.

What are some of the shifts that management needs to make? In order to enable corporate explorers.

Andy Binns: You know, I’d say a couple of things. Firstly, with the clear exception of MANN+HUMMEL,, it’s almost never perfect.

Right. It is really hard. And one of the challenges is that if you’re going to be a corporate explorer, I think you need to get into is, you’re never going to completely win. You never have everybody’s full buy in.

You know, it’s a phrase we use, Ellie used it, and I use it too. But actually, you know, it’s not quite going to happen that way. Why? Well, because they’re living in a context as well. The results of the company goes up and down.

Their pressures of key customers change. The colleagues around them change. The board has different pressures and needs and requirements. There’s an activist shareholder out there. You know, there’s all of these different pressures that come down onto a senior executive.

And one of the things that as corporate explorers, or innovators, that we need to, I think, let go of is the notion of good, bad, right, wrong. We need to assume positive intention, and even when senior executives do things we don’t like, that’s not because they’re bad people. Right. It’s because they are making choices based on the context.

They’re right now. Does that mean you give up when you face an obstacle? Absolutely not. And indeed one of the chapters in the Corporate Explorer Field Book, that we just published this week is about how do you raise the stakes, raise the tension in conversations with senior executives. Because there comes times when you really need to highlight to them, that what they’re asking you to do, is going to fail, and going to be something that they are not happy about in retrospect.

And let me give you example of a real story I heard about six months ago where the executive admits they failed to do this. This is a bank in the United States, they did a huge amount of research into the idea of building a direct to consumer digital channel bank, you know, no bricks and mortar. And they did a bunch of research. And they said, wow, this is going be a really big growth vector for us.

Right. They didn’t use McKinsey, but they might have done writing, you know lots of fabulous charts about it. And the head of strategy, who told us the story, says he put together his plan and he went to the board. And he said, look, I just want a few million to get started and six months and we’ll see whether there is something there to do.

And they said, no. You are being too conservative. You need to act more like a starter. And here’s five hundred million, and I want the whole thing built it, in the market within a year.

And you know what happened. As soon as they got into the market, they found they couldn’t actually afford to spend, the even more money that was required in order to have the kind of consumer brand that it would take to win. That was knowable before they spent the money on the IT, architecture, that underpinned it and so on. Right.

That was a moment where the corporate explorer needed to say no. They needed to raise the tension in the conversation and explain why it is that this was going to kill innovation. Well intentioned, same thing that CEO was perfectly well intentioned in terms of trying to capture, the market ahead of it’s, you know, maturity and all of these motivations, but the decision was poor. And it was based out of impatience, rather than learning. Because the trouble with senior executives, they’re used to being the top. They’re used to being the biggest in their segment of the market.

Right, that’s how they get to be incumbents for any length of time. And that bleeds over into how they do anything new. And it’s exactly the thing that they need to unlearn in order to be successful.

Kaihan Krippendorff: Yes. It seems like you’ve described two distinct situations or cases or stages, let’s say, and metrics have to be different leadership to be different funding has to be different. All of that has to be different. Ellie, maybe you could just help us because I know in your chapter, you’ve broken down some stages.

Maybe you could introduce those distinctions of the stages that a project might be at from, hey, here’s maybe an idea to, I feel comfortable investing five hundred million pull of trigger on this.

Ellie Amirnasr: Sure. I actually started smiling when Andy said that because very early on when we started, we had a conversation that the corporate executive told us, well, look, one of the biggest concern from startups is money, and they don’t have the safety, but when we are giving you so much money and you have the safety, so you should be faster than their startup. And I was just like, no.

You still have to validate the customer, the projects, and the willingness to pay, and the readiness of the market, and all of these things that comes on the early stage. That’s how I had to actually go out, not only, like, teach myself, but also come back with this idea of, like, okay, here’s how those startup phases or innovation phase that will fit in the cycle of business development works, we start with ideation, in startup world, we go with seed phase, and then we go with launching and then you go to growth and then you go to expansion. So can’t really shortcut, and because you have more money, and your founders or whatever have safety, jump to launch, and then have an app, and then expect a million dollar from it.

It doesn’t work like this. You still have to validate some hypothesis as early as an ideation, and that is not financial validation.

It is very, very much so non financial. And if you want to know how to figure out if we’re making progress or not, we need to look into some of the leading metrics, which is mainly activity based and non financial rather than tagging metrics, which is more financial based or even, like, you know, number of units sold or this much sales or revenue or gross margin, these are all lagging in the after launch phase. Before launch, you still have a lot of work to do, and usually you have to spend less money and evaluate and invalidate more hypothesis early on. And then as you get through this launch phase and then going to gross, you start spending more money to what we call it a cycle of validation, repeatability, scalability, and profitability, And then you can’t game it and then go to the last one before you go through the first one.

So when it comes to scalability, that’s where the most of the money needs to be spend, and then you have to be more smart in the dollar that you spend early on in the validation and repeatability phase. So that’s how we had to educate our self and explain it and then change the way we were doing innovation work, I would say exploratory innovation within MANN+HUMMEL.

Kaihan Krippendorff: So you’re not just saying, hey, don’t look at my revenue yet. Don’t look at my ROI. You’re saying, no, look at this other thing instead, which is a leading, to bring that to life for us. Could you just give us an example of one or two or three leading metrics that you track at the seed and launch stage?

Ellie Amirnasr: Absolutely. I think this is a good time to jump on the hunter strategy because it’s very, very depending on what type of business you’re going after. There is an interesting analogy from Christopher Yans, and I hope that I’m pronouncing his name right.

It’s called Hunter Strategy, and he says five ways to build a hundred million dollar SaaS business or digital business. It actually breaks it into animals and analogy. So If you are a hunter and you’re hunting a small animal, which is a mouse or a fly even, there is a different way of approaching that business because that’s kind of a B to C or business to consumer market, and it has a smaller sales cycle. So a shorter sales cycle, the consumer has a different decision model and decision making process.

And as your animal grows to rabbit, and deer, and elephant, the decision making process gets more complicated.

It’s more going to B to B. So there are more people in there to make decisions, deal sizes grow. The sales cycles grow from hours, which is for flies, and it’s a push of a button, to months when it’s an elephant because if it’s to get approved by the board. It’s like, you know, a budget of hundred thousand dollars or five hundred thousand dollars or something like that. And if you start categorizing your business first of all early on, like, I’m a B2C or a B2B, or, like, you know, this big one, like an elephant, then you start thinking about your business differently. You start thinking about what are the metrics that I need early on.

It early on to validate the hypothesis if your idea will work for a B to C might be just building a landing page, put like, you know, click for a demo, preorder it, or something like that, and measure those click rates even without having a product. Sometimes, minimal viable product is just a landing page of the idea of the product that you can push the button in a liked What is the readiness of the market to actually take that product? When it goes to a bigger size animal, it comes to like number of customers you visit, number of a proposal you maybe submit to them or number of pilots, the customer’s letter of intent, for example, or some of these things is the example of the leading metrics.

It really depends on the hypothesis that you want to validate. Is it product based? Is it business based? Is it market based?

We even went to an extent of the marketing. Everybody thinks that, well, marketing, actually, I learned that marketing is not just banners and trade shows and everything. Marketing is actually science, to be honest, because people get their information in different ways. And from different channels, not everybody gets it on LinkedIn, not everybody gets it on Google, sometimes is a traditional ways, sometimes word-of-mouth.

So we had to run that experiment with all these three ventures that we had, cleaner, clean water, clean mobility, where do they get their information from? We called it marketing voice of customer. And then based on that, put our metrics of, like, how many, for example, in water, was trade shows, in mobility it was magazines, and in air was Google. So it’s completely three different things.

Again, still simple, similar sized animal maybe, but then our metrics was completely different in terms of measuring our marketing.

Andy Binns: What this sort of be elephants, etcetera, metaphor does really nicely is it says, look, What are you trying to build towards? What does success look like? And then work backwards from that to understand what you’ve got to measure in order to understand whether or not you’re on track. Now that requires our corporate explorer, a few things. One of them is to be bold enough to say what it is you’re trying to achieve. Because if you’re not clear about that, and if you think you can just kind of fumble your way towards it, you’ll never have that end goal defined.

And therefore, you’ll never have the lead indicators telling you whether or not you’re on par. Right. And it’s the repeating conversation, which is why my energy level may have gone up because I’m like, oh, no, I have this conversation so often because they’re fearful of seeming to be accountable for what it is they’re going to put out there.

Yes. But in our company, if we say a number, that’s going to be a goal that we’re going to be responsible for. And I understand this point, but the alternative of just never saying a number, never declaring what it is you’re trying to achieve, is you look like you’re not accountable, and you never have a way of measuring yourself, or others understanding what you’re trying to do. So you actually deny yourself legitimacy when you do this.

So you’ve got to raise attention. You’ve got to actually put yourself out there and risk things. And this is where corporate explorers are like entrepreneurs, if you will. Right. There’s something at risk in the world of the entrepreneur.

Yes. Your livelihood is at risk. Your house is at risk. Your earning some risk. As a corporate explorer, your career is at risk because you’re in a social system where everybody knows whether you exceeded or failed.

And so this tends people to hold back all safety. That’s the wrong choice because if you’re never accountable, if you’re never transparent, it’s really, really hard when you face problems because people don’t know the cause of those problems. They assume it’s you. And they assume that you’re somehow being deceptive.

You deny them something that they can recognize that gives them a way of evaluating your performance. And that’s just never good.

Kaihan Krippendorff: Gotcha. If I just pull on that a little bit, what is it that stating a measurable goal what I want to achieve up front? How does that change how people interact with you or how leadership treats you or how the organization supports or doesn’t support you?

What is the mechanism that makes it more likely to be successful if you stated up front, what you’re building, and what successes?

Andy Binns: Ellie, do you want to jump in?

Ellie Amirnasr: Absolutely. The approach that we’re trying to take is the one step at a time.

Trying to break that bigger goal that we have, to smaller set of goals in different stages, and then try to break them into some of the actions that we have to take. I always like to think this way. I’m swimming towards an island. Okay.

I will survive if I take a breath at a time, and swim that direction. But if I always keep my head down and don’t come up and look at my direction, either I might mislead and then just like, you know, go in a different direction and completely miss my target, or there might be a ship coming in front of me blocking my view. And I have to pivot it at just how am I going to go to that target or to that island?

And that’s why I said, like, one step or one breath at a time, I will walk through that goal, but every now and then I come up and see, is there any roadblocks, am I still on the path? If I’m good, I do it. If not, I strategize and go around and then try to go back on track where my ultimate goal is.

Kaihan Krippendorff: Got it. That’s a beautiful metaphor. Very clear. Andy you’re about to respond to that?

Andy Binns: Yes. It’s the whole thing. What’s my ambition? And what are those incremental steps that are all about learning to find out how I’m going to get there. And, you know, you may also discover the ambition is not possible. Or it’s bigger than you thought.

But the alternative is you fumble your way towards an ambition. And in a corporation, you’re much more likely to undershoot to go for safety because surely if I just do a little thing, people will fund that for me. There’s less of an ask. It doesn’t sound so crazy.

It’s also less consequential. It attracts less interest, and it misses the opportunity, which is, you know, frequently as we know one of the challenges that corporate innovation has. So this notion of ambition coupled with the experimentation approach, I think he’s extremely powerful.

Kaihan Krippendorff: Yes. We had one CEO on. He talked about the castle on the hill. You got to build the castle on how that people want to start climbing toward.

So I’ve got so many questions that we’re not going to have time for because we’re reaching the top of our time with you. I want to close with two questions. The first one is At the end of listing this podcast, there is a leader who’s saying yes. We need to make this change.

There is an employee saying yes, I am a corporate explorer. You’re going to tell them something right now, and then a month or two from now they’re going to think, wow. I would have made a big mistake, but I listened to that podcast. What’s the big mistake that you see their leaders or corporate explorers making and what advice can you give them now to help them preempt that?

Andy Binns: The big mistake is they start with an idea, not a problem.

Start customer problem to solve, rather than with your great idea that you think is like fantastic. Ideas are addictive. We human beings love to see possibilities. We love to develop ideas.

They’re really great. But if they become disconnected from problems in the world, things that people need to get done, you’re always going to be in this catch up mode. Of trying to fit the idea to the world and the problem, the market, the customer. Start with customer problem, obsess about what it is the customers are actually trying to get done and what stands in the way today.

And if you can solve those problems, that’s unlocking all of the creativity and all of the possibility all books that you write, Kyle, become so much more fabulously valuable because I’m starting from the right anchor point.

Kaihan Krippendorff: That’s great. Yes. And you’re seeding that idea in rich ground because there’s actually a problem. Thank you. How about you, Ellie?

Ellie Amirnasr: I second what Andy said, but I also would tell a corporate explorer, they are to fail. And celebrate the learnings.

In corporation, we avoid failure, and that’s the risk of keeping zombie projects going and going and going. And don’t want to admit, and then we have to learn that failure is not having a negative swipe with it. If it has for you, call it learnings, and then dare to learn, put yourself out there, go explore to be able to create something new.

Kaihan Krippendorff: Love it. Thank you.

You’ve just saved people a lot of future heartache and improved their chance of success. How can people continue to follow each of you and learn from you? Certainly, they should run out and buy the Corporate Explorer Field Book. And we can’t see here, but Andy’s holding up a picture.

I had a chance to contribute one chapter to this as well. It is amazing. Just the depth and practicality and breadth of the content that you cover in each of these chapters. So definitely that, what else should people do to get your support along their explorer journey.

Andy Binns: The corporate explorer dot com or find me on LinkedIn, Andrew j m bins. Or come to one of my concerts. No. It’s just trick.

Kaihan Krippendorff: Right. You’re out for concerts. And Ellie how about you?

Ellie Amirnasr: Yep. You can find me on LinkedIn and Ellie Dot Amirnasr so easy to reach.

Kaihan Krippendorff: We’ve got lots of podcasts and videos of you as well, so there’s great content out there for you. Lovely. Well, Ellie and Andy, thank you so much for the work you do and for packaging it in such a useful form for us and taking some time to share it with us here. It’s great having you on.

Thanks, Kaihan. Thanks Ellie!

Ellie Amirnasr: Thank you so much. Really enjoyed the conversation.

Kaihan Krippendorff: Thank you to our guests. Thank you to our executive producer, Karina Reyes, our editor, Zach Ness, our audio engineer, Jack Tipper, and the rest to the team. If you like what you heard, please follow, download, and subscribe. I’m your host, Kaihan entrepreneur. Thank you for listening. We’ll catch you soon with another episode of Outthinkers.