Today, I'd like to popularize a term that I feel is super important, because I believe it's the missing link to corporate innovation today.
Venture thinking is, first and foremost, about people and their relationships—not products, processes, or money. It's all about people. Building a venture involves people figuring out how to create value for other people (users) in sustainable and scalable ways. At the early stages, it might be just an idea or perhaps a prototype, certainly not a product yet. We might not have funding yet, but it’s already a venture—a group of people on a mission to solve a problem that matters. They don’t know how yet, but they are venture thinkers. Venture thinking is both an attitude and a stance. Venture thinkers understand they want to get from problem to solution. They know they have to pave their way, even though there is no process for it yet.
Now, there are many product teams in large organizations that exhibit this kind of venture thinking! And, as organizations with the best intentions, we want to help our people succeed. But what usually happens in large organizations is that they come up with some sort of process with quality gates and milestones, all of it comes nicely packed in agile, lean startup, and design thinking terms.
But it's still what it is. It’s still process.
However, venture thinkers need to own the process. They need to put all their creativity into getting from problem to solution. Large organizations need to withstand this ambiguity and exhibit a lot more venture thinking than we are seeing today.
But can you still help your teams somehow? Of course, you can!
Listen to the true problems at hand! Are your teams getting the data they need? Do they get to meet the people they need to talk to? Help them with knowledge, with resources, help with marketing and sales, but stay away from process as much as possible. Process kills autonomy and creativity. Without creativity, there is no Venture Thinking.
Listen to the true problems at hand and help get roadblocks out of the way! No process needed.