Want to be a Corporate Explorer? Advice from Our Corporate Explorers to Watch

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Corporate Explorers are the new heroes of the corporate world who turn disruption into opportunity. They are part entrepreneurs, using innovation disciplines to jump-start cutting-edge ideas, and part change leaders, capable of creating internal support for investment. Here are some pieces of advice directly from Corporate Explorers and Change Logic Co-Founders in our Corporate Explores to Watch interview series.

Kenji Tateiwa– “My advice would be to find a career goal where you strongly believe in that goal and you’re passionate about it.”

Federico Spagnoli– “The principle of dreams, reality, and determination, is like a formula of success…I want to remove the idea that if you work for an incumbent, your ability to innovate is outside that organization. I believe if you find the right sponsors, you do your homework, you are persistent, I think there is a great opportunity to innovate. Innovate where you are.”

Yoky Matsuoka– “I cannot emphasize enough of how important it is that this organization is growing straight out of the CEO of the company because everybody needs that level of commitment, and the buy-in, and the top down to say, ‘I know this is unrelated. I know that’s a lot of money, but I’m deciding to do this.’ And only the CEO of the corporation can do it. And in many ways, so then they’re not stuck with any of the individual business goals. And I think that’s an important part. So commitment and trust.”

Sarah Carvalho– “You need to get ‘out of the building’ to find ways to disrupt markets.”

Dr. Sebastian M. Jackisch– “Don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

Federico Spagnoli– “Start small. Show some initial results, and then this idea of thinking bigger and really starting to build on your long-term vision.”

Yoky Matsuoka– “Make sure that the mission and goal are aligned to the company’s core mission as well. I’ve noticed that large companies’ core mission may be slightly different from what they’re trying to go into as an application area. If it’s different enough, and when things get tough, whether it’s a budget cut or whatever may happen, you are always on a chopping board. And the chance of getting chopped when you’re a smaller branch that’s not as connected to the tree trunk, it’s much larger than if you are the tree trunk.”

Charles O’Reilly– “There has to be genuine support from senior management at the corporate or, at least, the divisional level. Corporate Explorers should look for companies with ambidextrous leaders who understand the value and need for exploration. Trying to do this within an existing business where all the metrics and incentives are based on continuous success won’t be helpful to people who are willing to try new things and fail.”

Andy Binns– “A Corporate Explorer must have personal leadership and commitment. And a commitment to solving a customer problem… they have a passion for addressing a need that they see in the world and doing something productive about it.”

Michael Tushman– “No amount of fashionable business techniques can substitute for a lack of emotion. One needs to spark the fire of the imagination in the team to drive innovation.”

Click here to dive deeper into our Corporate Explorers to Watch series >>