Innovation Dilemma – Stay and Fight, or Quit and Run?

by Stefan Lindegaard

Innovation Dilemma - Stay and Fight, or Quit and Run?You are working in a big, global company. You are in charge of a fairly new venture-like unit that has been given the mandate to identify and develop new business opportunities that within three years should represent 25% of the corporate growth.

It is a great challenge and you have assembled a strong team that has built an interesting portfolio of seven projects of which three have begun generating revenues and one is profitable. The other projects require significant investments over the coming years.

The problem is that you do not feel you have enough top-down support. Your executives do not really understand what you are doing and they are not patient enough. More importantly, cash flow is tight and you do not get the promised funds forcing you to make serious cuts on your portfolio and perhaps even let go of some your team members.

The company has tried to develop similar innovation engines a couple of times. They all failed due to the above reasons. No need to say that the spirit is low around your team and your stakeholders…

What would you do?

Quit your job. You’ve got a great resume and you feel the company just don’t get it and thus they don’t deserve your skills and efforts. Times are tough, but integrity is important to you and you decide to leave the company.

Stay and fight. Enough is enough. The executives need to develop a better understanding on ventures and innovation. You stay and work hard to change the mindset of your executives. This is risky as they do not like being told what they do not know and what they should do. You can lose your job by doing this.

Keep the status quo. You get a fat paycheck and your executives do not pressure you too hard to get success. They might not know how to make this work, but they know it is difficult and they do not blame you. You just sit in tight and do the best you can under the given circumstances.

What would you do? If you choose to stay and fight, what actions can you recommend?

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Stegan LindegaardStefan Lindegaard is a speaker, network facilitator and strategic advisor who focus on the topics of open innovation, intrapreneurship and how to identify and develop the people who drive innovation.

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