Once upon a time I was a member of (what I'll call) a commercialised start-up. We had spun out of a university faculty research project, & did an amazing job. We listed, stormed the market, made the most of our luck, & had great success. In retrospect we did well because we were intertwined with our customer base, sure, but also because our customers (& therefore the market) gave us a tremendous needle in our strategic direction. We were each close to the information we needed, & empowered to act on it.
Now I work at a small business unit of a big company. Our corporate colleagues believe they're close to customers, but I think they'd agree it's also challenging at times to be nimble & react to changing needs. I see elements of Hamel's 'make direction setting bottom-up and outside-in' & 'create a democracy of information', but honestly... how can a large company execute this & truly make it effective? How can they act like we did, with hopefully the same level of success?
My thought is this - many large companies, like our corporate team, have a central Corporate Strategy & Business Development team... so why not decentralised it? Why not have a CSBD individual on every team, no matter how small? Why not task them with 'embedding' themselves on these teams & helping their team act on information, bubble up information as necessary, &/or define & refine the their own local strategy as the need be? Why not use such a structure in a big company to facilitate quicker action, reaction, &, hopefully, more proactive action?
If each CSBD member then came back to a central conversation with their colleagues & leaders each week, wouldn't information not only stay with those empowered to act on it, but disseminate laterally as well as vertically? Wouldn't this tri-directional distribution of information drive superior alignment of individual & team efforts with the overall strategies, goals & objectives of the organisation? Couldn't it also promote & foster independent thinking & superior of ground roots projects within those individual teams' strategies, goals & objectives?
Why couldn't people overcome structure & help a big company become as nimble as a small business?