Technology companies have transformed how we live, work and play. However, the roster of leading technology companies looks very different today than ten years ago. At each stage, from start-up to crossing the $10 million, $100 million and $1 billion marks, technology companies face the challenges of exploiting their core technologies, building out from that core, and finding new opportunities to achieve breakthrough growth.
As technology companies grow, they may fall into two traps. The first is the trap of their core technology: because it is the very thing fueling their growth, it can become management’s sole focus, leaving the company vulnerable to competitors’ innovations. The second is the trap of the next new thing: because an innovative idea propelled the company into existence and initial success, management may believe that only by innovating into new areas can the company maintain its growth.
The healthier middle way between these two paths is to develop a portfolio of R&D projects and innovation with a mix of incremental, evolutionary and revolutionary innovation. Incremental innovation builds on the company’s existing core technology. Evolutionary innovation requires the company to gain new technology competencies to move beyond the core technology’s limitations. Revolutionary innovation looks for leaps into technologies that are entirely new to the company – and maybe entirely new to the world.
With a portfolio of such opportunities, the balance of risks and potential rewards is critical. Another pitfall that can trap innovators is the safety trap, in which innovators scope out their projects and project the returns based on assumptions that seem safe and achievable. In doing so, they may overlook opportunities to make projects big and successful, and instead may condemn them to being too small to be worthwhile.
SmartOrg helps technology companies understand the mix of projects in their R&D and innovation portfolios. By giving the companies the tools to make credible comparisons between disparate projects, SmartOrg enables them to look for hidden upside potential in those projects and to rebalance their portfolios with the right mix of projects to meet their growth goals.
Portfolio strategy consulting
Development of project learning plans for upside exploitation
Portfolio Navigator enterprise software
Dramatic increases in portfolio value
Substantial improvement in projects moving to implementation, with higher ambitions for success
Quick termination of projects that won’t drive growth, freeing resources and attention for those that will
Significant increase in the number of new projects initiated