The Innovation Catalysts

Over the past 7 years I’ve had the opportunity to help develop one of Intuit’s secret weapons for innovation at scale – the Innovation Catalysts. Recently there seems to be renewed interest in this program, and how we approached the initial development of our Innovation Catalyst community. So I figured I would post a link to the original HBR article. Click here to read about the Innovation Catalysts.

Although quite a bit has changed since this article was first written, the origins of the Innovation Catalysts are worth exploring. Since then we’ve built a sustainable community of passionate innovators, and many Innovation Catalysts have gone on to do amazing things inside Intuit and beyond. Send me a note if you’d like more details.

Intrepreneurship at Intuit

“Large organizations are necessarily focused on running the business and managing for continuity. That’s not always a bad thing, but it seldom leaves much space for new ways of working.”

– Vinay Anand

A great HBR article about a few things we do at Intuit to support innovation and entrepreneurship: Click here to read more at HBR.

  1. Make it easy to conduct the first experiments
  2. Add structure to unstructured time
  3. Support innovation, don’t control
  4. Value “Return on Intelligence”
  5. Create supporting stakeholders

Intuit CEO Supports Design for Delight – You Should Too.

Talking and thinking about design wouldn’t accomplish much if it didn’t show up in our products.

– Brad Smith

HBR just published an insightful article about the design-driven culture we’re building at Intuit, written directly by our CEO, Brad Smith. Aside from being an inspirational leader, Brad has been a true champion of “design” since his first days as our CEO. He not only supports our efforts to teach every employee the basics of our Design for Delight philosophy, he actually walk the walk himself by visiting real customers, answering support calls during tax season, and listing to customer complaints. CEOs can learn a lot from his example…

Click here to read the entire article at HBR.com

The Lean Entrepreneur

I’m excited to share the news that Brant and Patrick’s recently released book, The Lean Entrepreneur, just hit the NYT Best Seller list. Congrats guys! Brant and Patrick have been a huge help to our team at Intuit, and they mention several case studies in the Lean Entrepreneur. The book is filled with practical stories of lean startup success, as well as several worksheets you’ll find valuable. So check it out, you’ll love it.

Read the Book: The Lean Entrepreneur

Perspectives on Failure

Originally I wasn’t sure if I should be happy or sad when asked to present at a conference “celebrating failures”, but now I’m totally looking forward to it. I’ll be joining the likes of Chip Conley, Ben Huh, and Eric Ries, and I’m super excited to share the great things we’ve been up to at Intuit.

During the conference, the FailCon crew asked me a few quick questions about how we think about failure. Click here to read the full article: FailCon Interview with Ben Blank

“The same mindset, tools, and techniques which have proven successful to startups and new ideas, can be applied directly to sustaining innovation and daily operations. We’re already seeing a change in mindset, as well as improved results, so I’m optimistic we can do more in the future.  Embracing ‘decision by experimentation’ is changing the way we work at Intuit, and I’m excited to continue exploring this process in the coming months”

The 30-Year Old Startup

“When you have only one test, you don’t have entrepreneurs; you have politicians. When you have lots of ideas you have entrepreneurs.”

Scott Cook, Founder, Intuit Inc.

This month’s Forbe’s Magazine includes an amazing article by Bruce Ubin, highlighting Intuit’s innovation efforts. The article includes coverage of our totally kick-ass lean startup workshop, and one of the teams experiencing the event. I’m incredibly proud of all the folks working hard to make Intuit such an innovative company, and especially the teams mentioned in the article – nice work guys!

Read the Forbes Article: Why Intuit Is More Innovative Than Your Company

How to Launch Startups Insides a Big Business

Imagine you were just hired at one of Silicon Valley’s more innovative companies, Intuit, and you’re determined to make a big impression during your first few weeks on the job. As part of your new-hire orientation week, your team is challenged to create a bold new idea for the company in only 48 hours. You and are your team come up with an awesome concept, or so you think, and you begin to feel excited that you just might have discovered the next big thing. Then boom! You discover real customers aren’t as excited about your ideas a you are. It simply won’t work in the real world. You now have less than 24 hours to “pivot” to a new direction, to discover an alternate plan to success. No pressure.

If you’re ever wondered how soon you should introduce newly hires to the “real world” of innovation, the answer is immediately. During our 48 hour Lean StartIN workshop, we throw 40+ newly hired employees (recent college graduates) into the deep end of innovation. Diana Samuels from the Silicon Valley Business Journal joined us at Intuit to observe the new hires experiencing our lean startup workshop. As luck would have it, she joined the event just as teams were experiencing the most challenging stages of their customer development journey. Virtually all teams were discovering their initial assumptions were wrong, and were deciding what to do next…

Continue reading the full Article here: Intuit Creates Startups within a $17 Billion Business