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Published on: 30 November -0001

On being nimble - what bold incumbents can learn from unicorns.

After spending 20+ years in the world of large corporations, Arun Sinha, IRG100 participant 2022, moved his career to grow start-ups, both as an investor as well as an advisor. We had a conversation on how large organizations can infuse a bit of the well-known and aspired entrepreneurial skill of nimble adaptation. This would be much necessary to drive innovations in the era of stakeholder capitalism.

As marketing evolved, many CMOs are now the stewards of growth. The way corporations and start-ups collect data and how they define their growth strategies is much the same. What differs is how nimble they act upon their insights and strategies. Let’s take two well-known concepts and explore the how.

Competitiveness. A new entrant might not feel as threatening for a large corporation as it does for a small start-up. Nor would it feel as much a proof of the potential of the business model. It’s the mindset and the way data is interpreted that make a start-up more adaptive and responsive. This means the perception of a company is relative to its size. To be as nimble as a start-up? Step out of the ivory tower, make yourself smaller, and be humble enough to take signals as seriously as start-ups.

Collaboration. A nimble start-up would consider a new entrant, a successful player in an adjacent market, or patent from a competitive player to be much more of an opportunity to collaborate. Time to align, worries about cannibalization and fear of experimentation all stand in the way of acting nimbly as a corporation. See if you could drop one or two of these nimble-killers.

Today’s world is changing too fast, and challenges for society are too big to be left to a slow traditional corporate mindset. Surely, the cost of failure for a start-up is not as high as it is in a large organization. Still, anyone’s ability to test and learn is so much better, faster, and cheaper nowadays.

Inspired by Arun Sinha, IRG100 participant 2022, advisor and Global Chief Marketing Officer.

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