Dec. 17, 2020

How Big Businesses Can Innovate Like Scrappy Startups with Ben Yoskovitz

How Big Businesses Can Innovate Like Scrappy Startups with Ben Yoskovitz

When you think of innovation, businesses like banks and manufacturers likely won't come to mind. But as you'll learn in this episode, those massive businesses require a special mindset in order to get their customers to care. Innovation expert Ben Yoskovitz joins Katelyn Bourgoin.

When you think of innovation, businesses like banks and manufacturers likely won't come to mind. But as you'll learn in this episode, those massive businesses require a special mindset in order to get their customers to care. Innovation expert Ben Yoskovitz joins Katelyn Bourgoin to share:

  • How To Find Out What Customers Really Care About
  • Why Big Companies Need To Focus Small To Think Big
  • What It Takes To Have An Innovation Mindset
  • And So Much More

Ben Yoskovitz is a founding partner of the innovation firm Highline Beta. He is also the co-author of Lean Analytics.



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Ben Yoskovitz: [00:00:00] No user walks around thinking, "Gosh, I wish, Big Company could just make more money".  Nobody thinks that way, no consumer or user thinks that way.

[00:00:07]But it's how big companies think  and that's not a bad thing. It's the reality of working in and operating a large company. So we really try to focus big companies on reframing business problems into user problems. it's difficult of course, to give anybody sort of a playbook of how to future proof themselves, who knows what, you know, the world holds for us as we move, hopefully sort of post a pandemic, but who knows, who knows what, what comes after that? But I would say for, for.

[00:03:13] Small businesses. And I think the size of business and industry and these things do matter, but I think for smaller businesses, you know, there is this acceleration to digitizing. There's an acceleration to, selling online, providing both product and services in new ways. certainly there's a lot of rethinking about how you even have physical spaces and what those look like.

[00:03:35] And, and although I think we will. get of course get through COVID, you know, many, many things will have changed from that. So I think small businesses, I think we think a lot about. you know, digitization accelerating the speed with which we move online, whether it's for things like bookings or e-commerce or what have you, I think for bigger businesses, it's not dissimilar it.

[00:03:54] It's really just about, executing new things at speed, and figuring out the right model for. What we call growth innovation. so it's less about disruption, for me and thinking about, well, what ha you know, what happens if my business gets disrupted, although that that can and does happen, but more so about, about growth and where are those opportunities going to be?

[00:04:16] Customer, demands will change. Customer needs will, will change and evolve the way we deliver service will change. But ultimately for me, it's about innovating more and more quickly.

[00:04:29] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:04:29] I love that. Okay. So people may not be familiar with your company. Some people will, some people won't, but when I went on your website, I was greeted with a question and it said, where will the high growth businesses of the future come from? So what is the answer to that question?

[00:04:46]Ben Yoskovitz: [00:04:46] so I think the, the short answer is everywhere. the intent behind the question is really more so to challenge. bigger companies in how they think about innovation and growth. And again, so I think the term growth innovation is the right way of thinking about it. So big companies are they, you know, what we'd like to say is they've already won.

[00:05:08]cause they're big. and so where's the next grill it's going to come from you. Can't, it's very difficult to hockey, stick growth, something that's already enormous. And so where are those new things going to come from? Those new billion dollar businesses? So I think that's one. Way we think about answering that question is helping big companies grow beyond their core.

[00:05:28] I think the other aspect of that question and why I say that the short answer is everywhere. Growth opportunities will be from everywhere is because I think big companies are in fact getting better and better at building new things that can then grow and leverage their assets, but also startups. and our model is this hybrid venture studio model where we're helping big companies grow outside their core, sometimes building things in house, but sometimes leveraging the startup ecosystem as well, or building startups from scratch.

[00:05:55] And so I think opportunities are everywhere, and both big companies and, you know, effectively little companies, startups can capture that growth.

[00:06:04] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:06:04] Very interesting and exciting. And so tell us more about highlighted beta. Like what does your team actually do?

[00:06:10] Ben Yoskovitz: [00:06:10] sure. So, so there's a few parts to our business. there's a service side to our business, which again, is helping big companies. we tend to be industry agnostic, but we've done work in insurance and banking in consumer packaged goods or CPG, health, health space.

[00:06:28] But it's really about helping big companies identify new areas of opportunity outside of their core. So we're not necessarily in the digital transformation space or the incremental improvement or incremental innovation space. Although incremental innovation is incredibly important for big companies.

[00:06:44] We're in the. New markets, new business models, new products, arena. And so our job is to help big companies find those opportunities and then figure out how to create a, realize those opportunities either through internal innovation, where they'll put ideally small teams against those opportunities to try to build them out and see what they can do there or external innovation, which again, would be leveraging startups or.

[00:07:11]our venture studio, which would help them build external startups from scratch. And so there's a service component to the business that helps big companies do that. There's an accelerator component to our business as well, which is helping big companies, more effectively partner with startups. And then there's a studio in venture capital component of our business, which is investing in startups that we, help partner in with our corporate clients.

[00:07:36] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:07:36] and there's a lot, I want to unpack there before we get into the details of like how you help them spot these opportunities and how you identify which partners they might want to work with. Like, why does so many corporations need help when it comes to innovation? What are, what's stopping them from being able to innovate as quickly as they'd like to, or as effective?

[00:07:53] Definitely as they'd like to.

[00:07:55] Ben Yoskovitz: [00:07:55] So I think. What, what slows them down or holds them back is the thing that's made them successful up to this point. It's the fact that they're running large successful businesses, or large businesses. Sometimes they may not be as successful, which would accelerate the pace of a need for change. But nevertheless, they're running big businesses and they have large operations.

[00:08:18] They have many people, they have lots of customers and, and that's a, A positive thing. and it's also a bit of an anchor. And so it is in fact, the existing operation and the need to run that and usually focus on the efficiency of that business, squeezing as much value out of that business as you can, that holds big companies back from also exploring net new things.

[00:08:43] And that's usually. When they do in fact, get disrupted where if they're not able to explore new models, new types of customers, whatever the case may be some startup somewhere or startups somewhere, start to nip at their heels. Innovate faster, capture the imagination and attention of the market and start to grow much, much faster while a big company is, is holding onto what it has.

[00:09:09] So I think our job is to not again, disrupt or, take away from what they're doing, but it's to give them ways and options to do new things on the periphery of their core business.

[00:09:22] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:10:53] I want to spend a little time talking about the mindset that fuels innovation, because you've touched on this. But in what ways are bigger businesses thinking differently than these scrappy startup teams? Like when you think of what the actual people inside of the organization, what is it that you need to have that kind of like innovation fueled mindset?

[00:11:11]Ben Yoskovitz: [00:11:11] I don't know if you'd be surprised or not, but, there are a lot of people within big companies that are thinking. in a, in an innovative way, thinking creatively, I would suggest that many startups that have one, somebody inside a large company had that idea because they have access to all the assets that startups don't have.

[00:11:33] They see the customers, they have the data, they have distribution, they have marketing, they often have domain expertise. They often have technology. And so. I would suspect many, many startups that have grown, and, and, and one, and almost looked like they sort of came out of nowhere, somebody in a big company somewhere pitched that idea.

[00:11:52] And what what's lacking inside of big companies in many cases is the facility for exploring those opportunities. But it's, it's, it's rarely a lack of. Interest, if you will. And there are people in those big companies that are eager to grow and change things, but don't necessarily have the facility or the instruments or, the air cover to do so.

[00:12:15] Now having said that, I think. Founders of startups are a unique breed. It's a unique creature. when you start a company as a founder, you're all, you know, you're, you're a percent of a percent of a percent of the population because most people are not founders and don't start companies. So I, I wouldn't suggest that there are.

[00:12:36] Tons of founders equal to startup founders inside of large companies, but the creativity, the drive to build new things, to help their company grow and succeed absolutely exists within large companies.

[00:12:50] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:12:50] Right. I mean, I think you probably have heard this. I wasn't, didn't blockbuster put out a service similar to Netflix and then they killed it because they just didn't want to like be distracted from their core business. Is that a story you'd heard?

[00:13:05] Ben Yoskovitz: [00:13:05] Yeah, they, they, they did. And then if you read, Mark Randolph was the, one of the founders and the original idea person behind Netflix, if you read his book, which is awesome, he actually talks about blockbuster trying to acquire Netflix. And if I, again, I I'm pretty sure I'm right. At one point it was about 50 million bucks because Netflix was struggling and Blockbuster's like, Oh, maybe $50 million.

[00:13:31] And then I think blockbuster even walked away from it. So again, it's not for lack, you know, there are smart, hustlers inside of these large companies that want to figure these things out, but it's hard for a big operation to shift gears. It's hard for it to try new things and frankly, measure success in a different way than how you would measure profit and loss.

[00:13:57] And so just a lot of things have to go well or change, or be created inside large organizations to give them a shot, to create new things.

[00:14:07] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:14:07] Right. And so then what has to happen internally? So let's talk about like the fortune 1000 businesses, which you work with a lot of those, what has to happen internally in order for them to. Start thinking about innovating like a scrappy startup. Like what's the transformation that has to happen.

[00:14:24] Ben Yoskovitz: [00:14:24] I think there's a few, there's a few things that start to happen. many of them will be partnering ad hoc with startups and think to themselves. Okay. There must be a better way of doing this, or we can't only rely on external startups. Many of the fortune 1000 will have, corporate venture capital groups CVCs that are investing in startups.

[00:14:47] And again, so I think part of what happens with a big company is as they start to. See and, and, and get into the startup ecosystem more, they realize just how much is going on. And then they, they, they end up looking inwardly. So I think that's one of the things that happens with a lot of big companies, some of the things that have to happen internally, you're seeing more and more what we do, Paul sort of venture groups or venture, arms being formed.

[00:15:14] And, and these are sort of black ops like teams that are a little bit. Outside of the main business. Oftentimes, you know, when we were, when we were working out of offices, they would be in a separate physical location, for example. They would have a separate mandate around building new things and experimenting.

[00:15:34] And so, you know, there are structures emerging within these large companies that are giving them this sort of flexibility and capability of experimenting and trying new things. and so that's that that I think is, is, is happening more and more. But not so much as, you know, innovation labs or R and D and things that are important, but thinking about building new businesses and that's really the switch that I've seen, or for me as a signal, when a big company says, we have to create lots of little companies, might not be sure how to do it or how to structure it necessarily, but that's usually the switch for me that says, okay, you're ready to start trying these new things in a, in a more, creative way or a more, more of a growth mindset sort of way.

[00:16:19] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:16:19] Right. They're not just innovating on their core product, offering new features and services to existing customers. They're thinking about bringing something new to market that is maybe solving a completely different pain point or a new problem that is unrelated to their core business. That's interesting.

[00:16:34] so on the Highline beta set, you also say that. To innovate businesses have to start with a problem and they have to identify their customer's unmet needs. Now, this is speaking my language because this is the type of work that I talk about with like the people who come through my training all of the time.

[00:16:50] So like, tell me, like, what are these unmet needs? And more importantly, how does one go about identifying them?

[00:16:57] Ben Yoskovitz: [00:16:57] Yeah. So I think one of the challenges big companies have is that they have a lot of problems and business problems, right? So again, they've identified business problems. Usually a business problem looks like we would like to sell more X or we would like to make more money in Y or we would like to expand into a new market and.

[00:17:18] Very often they'll start as business problems because they can see all the data and they have all the experience in their business. And what that leaves out is does anybody care, you know, is there a user, no user walks around thinking, gosh, I wish, you know, big company could just make more money. I mean, nobody, nobody thinks that way, no consumer or user thinks that way.

[00:17:38]but it's how big companies think and, and, and that's not, that's not a bad thing. It's the reality of, of. Working in and operating a large company. So we really try to focus big companies on reframing business problems into user problems. And of course, you'll understand this where, you know, we can ship things in, you know, building things.

[00:17:59] Isn't the, isn't the hardest. Challenge. Usually it's not really a feasibility issue for the most part. It's really a desirability issue. Does anybody care? and you know, in my own experience and startups do this as well, where they build things because they can, and then they look for a market or a customer and I've, I've been there and I've done that and I've made that mistake.

[00:18:20]and I think. The key is really understanding the user, having empathy for the user, finding those pain points and problems that they have, that you then realize you can solve. And. It's not that you're trying to go into a business. That's so radically different from your core. So you're looking for adjacent opportunities where you can still leverage your core assets, but in a new way.

[00:18:44] So it really does change from this inwardly focused view of businesses. You know, we're in the boardroom making decisions about how to solve business problems too. You know, I see blankets and getting out of the building and figuring out what users want.

[00:18:57] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:18:57] this is great. So can you give an example, maybe one that comes to mind where a company had, obviously this business problems other than they needed to solve from a revenue perspective or operationally, but then was able to identify. User problems and get the alignment. Is there one that comes to mind for you that you could share?

[00:19:18] Ben Yoskovitz: [00:19:18] well, I would say that, you know, if I can use an exempt, like an existing client as an example, so we do a lot of work with, RBC, Royal bank of Canada. and, a few years ago now they launched something called RBC ventures. So again, sort of this separate group, a little bit disconnected a little bit on the outside of the bank that w with the express intent of building new ventures, new businesses, and.

[00:19:44] If you look at what RBC ventures has done and some of the things they've done, you know, for example, they've built a number of businesses. They've also by the way, acquired a number of businesses as well in and around the, the home space. So the space of owning a home. and why that's interesting is because it's, it's, there's a connection to a core business, which is a mortgage business, of course, you know, RBC like all banks, you know, mortgages is a big component of, of their business.

[00:20:16]but mortgages by themselves are one touchpoint with a customer. and when you look at mortgages, you know, the, the, how you compete on a mortgage is on a rate. and RBC ventures looked at that strategically. They said, well, people who own homes or want to own homes have all sorts of other problems before we get to the mortgage, finding the right home, moving into the home, maintaining the home.

[00:20:42] Th th you know, you can imagine that customer journey, and so. That's a good example of saying, Hey, we, we have a big business in the mortgage space. we, it's not that we don't. We want to grow that business. Like every bank I would imagine, wants to grow that business, but we also want to find other user problems in and around the customer journey of the home buying experience that become interesting.

[00:21:05] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:21:05] I love that example. And, guests that I had on recently was Bob molesta and he tells this great story. He was in the. Condo development world years ago and discovered through his own customer discovery and going out and understanding the needs of his customers, that he really wasn't in the business of building condos.

[00:21:24] He was in the business of moving lives and they started looking at all of these adjacent services that they could offer to make the actual transition for their customers tended to be people who are downsizing, have a. Much more smooth transition into their condo and thinking about that holistic customer journey.

[00:21:43] And they ended up doing really, really well. I think they started the company during a recession and they outperformed all of the other competitors in their space because they weren't thinking about building condos. They're thinking about moving live. So it sounds like RBC is taking a similar approach.

[00:21:59] Ben Yoskovitz: [00:21:59] Yeah, that's a, that's a great example. I think it's just, it's just understanding what really matters to the customer. and if you understand. The problem. And let's assume you can solve the problem that very often creates incredible differentiation from whatever competition you have. so, and then, and, and that differentiation then gives you the right if you will, to acquire more customers and all of a sudden, all kinds of great things happen, whether it's lowering acquisition costs, whether it's growing market share, you know, whatever the case may be.

[00:22:31] But when you find that sweet spot of. Hey, I, I really understand what matters to my customer. And I can deliver a service that, against that promise or that pain point, all of a sudden that's, that's what drives growth. It's what drives growth inside of big companies. When they start to build new ventures and it's what drives growth for startups, we just, startups can build all kinds of technology.

[00:22:53]but if they don't understand the user and what the user's pain points are, they will fail. and so, so there's, there's real applicability there, whether you're inside of a large company or working in a startup.

[00:23:04] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:23:04] Absolutely. Okay. So now let's get into the meaty stuff. So let's say that, you know, that you want to look at doing some form of innovation. You'd really don't know what the opportunities are in your space. How do you go about identifying customers' unmet needs or identifying problems? Like where do you start?

[00:23:23]Ben Yoskovitz: [00:23:23] there's a few places you can start. We, we think of this as sort of a phase of discovery, and, and you can sort of attack this from a whole bunch of different angles. You do, you need some kind of starting point, whether it's a market you want to go into or are you like, Let's say a user group or a persona, of a customer that you want to, you know, create more value for or attract to your company.

[00:23:48] You may have a thesis around the future of something, whether that's your industry or something else. So you need some kind of starting point ultimately for the way we think about a discovery processes, regardless of your story point, you, you have to work through. Mostly what we see in lean startup methodology or design thinking methodology or jobs to be done methodology without being a zealot about any process.

[00:24:16] It's really about starting to do customer research, primary research, talking to users, learning what their pain points are starting to put early scrappy, sacrificial concepts and prototypes in front of them. You know, all the way. Trying to figure out what really matters to users from, and I use this term desirability before.

[00:24:39] It's a bit of a design thinking, you know, structure of the desirability, feasibility viability. So you're really trying to understand desirability. And so whether you're starting from a business problem and you need to reframe it, whether you're starting with a thesis around the future of something, whether you're starting with a user group that you think might have unmet needs that you believe.

[00:25:00] You could, solve for it. Doesn't really matter. As long as you go through the right process of doing that discovery work. And again, that usually starts for the most part with, you know, secondary research, understanding the market. Do you know doing your homework, if you will. And then talking to talking to people.

[00:25:18] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:25:18] Right. And so you mentioned you're talking to people, then you're getting some scrappy low-fidelity mock-ups in front of them trying to see how they interact. Like what stage would you say. What are the signals that you're onto something like, at what point do you go? Okay. Like, I feel like they're resonating with this.

[00:25:34] We should be putting more energy into this.

[00:25:37] Ben Yoskovitz: [00:25:37] So, I mean, it's a, it's a great question. The answer of course, is it depends, on a number of things, you know, what, what are you doing? Is it B to C is a B2B, you know, if it's, if it's B to C and let's say it's a new product or building, you could, you could go quite far with the validation work you can do.

[00:25:57] Pre-orders for example, you could. You could do transactions online and then refund people because it's not real. For example, you can, you can start to get things to a fairly quantitative state. If it's B2B, we often like to try to secure letters of intent from businesses, not hundreds of businesses, you know, a handful of, again, it depends on.

[00:26:21] How enterprise it is, you know, the thing you're working on or whatever the case may be. So you're looking for some quantitative signals, but you're also looking for qualitative signals and you will never have. Sufficient data necessarily to make a decision, whether to commit or not commit there's, there's a certain amount of instinct and intuition that plays into it.

[00:26:42] Now having said that it's not as if you go through a process of doing this discovery work and then say, well, I think I've got it. You know, I've got some data, I've got enough, you know, qualitative signals that we should go do this, and then you put $50 million into it and do it. So your, the whole process is one of.

[00:27:00] Relatively small, depends on what you're working on, bets and experiments along the way. So we moved from a discovery process to what we call a venture validation process, which, you know, maybe we're building a minimum viable product at that stage, but it's still small and experimenting the whole way. So we're really trying to increase.

[00:27:21] Cycle time inside of these, you know, iteration time within these large companies. So they don't just say, okay, let's go make an enormous bat. You'll go into, you know, development for a year, spend a ton of money on it, then launch it with a huge marketing campaign and then realize we made a mistake. So it is about iteratively increasing the fidelity along the way.

[00:27:40] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:27:40] I love that. And you have hinted at what I think might be part of the answer for my next question. So what mistakes do you see these teams making when it comes to validating ideas and then bringing them to market? Like, what are the typical mistakes that they could overcome if they were to have more of a process?

[00:28:00]Ben Yoskovitz: [00:28:00] deciding when to make those big bats, I think is still a challenge for companies because. They know scale and they live in scale every day. And so, you know, working with something that has 10 customers or whatever the case may be just, just doesn't matter.

[00:28:17] And so, you know, they are always eager to put the foot on the gas and that's, that's a difficult balancing act. And I w I would suggest startups are not in a dissimilar place when sometimes you see startups raising. Enormous rounds of capital to grow at all costs. And you wonder, did they, do they really have, you know, what we call product market fit or are they just hoping they'll grow into it someday?

[00:28:37] So I think, you know, that's one of those, which is when do we make big bets to start really scaling things? I think then, you know, for big companies, the cycle time, you know, the iterate, the iterations that we can go through, you know, what experiment do we run? How do we build something? How do we. Ship it in market to test it, learn from that.

[00:28:57] So that build measure, learn cycle that we'd be familiar of inside of lean startup, I think is always a little bit slower than startups. There's regulatory, there's legal, there's security things that do have a tendency to slow big companies down. And then it becomes a question of just, does it slow it down so much, unfortunately, that we're not going to get enough iterations of things through, we're not gonna be able to run enough experiments to really crack the nut, or is that, you know, for lack of a better term, the price we pay for doing this within a large organization, but it's still fast enough to get to a place where we can learn to get to a place where we can start to leverage the big companies scale and then really grow things.

[00:29:41] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:29:41] Right. And it sounds like, I mean, if, if their typical process is, do a bit of validation and then go off behind closed doors for a year and then launch something with a huge budget, it sounds like the speed of iteration, even if it's slower than, you know, maybe some of their potential, startups that are nipping at their heels, it's probably still a lot faster than what is traditionally happening inside a company.

[00:30:02] Ben Yoskovitz: [00:30:02] Exactly. You know what, honestly, to me, it's one of these things where it's all relative to where you came from and the experience you had before. And so, and so big companies really can't move as quickly as startups because startups can move for the most part, particularly early stage ones with, you know, arguably reckless abandoned.

[00:30:23] Now startups mature that slows down bigger companies that are still startups, you know, will move slower. They have customers, they can't piss them off. They've got, you know, tech stacks that they can't just muck around with. So, you know, as you grow the speed with which you can experiment does slow down, but it's still relative.

[00:30:42] What a big company does. Almost no experimentation, for the most part and suddenly is iterating. You know, every month, for example, whatever, whatever the case is, it it's, it's, that's a radical shift. And so as long as they can keep that pace of learning up to a reasonable clip, to make decisions about doubling down on something or killing something, which also within big companies is very difficult for them to do.

[00:31:08]then they have a shot at really. You know, solving the problem of, you know, what, what do users really care about? And did I actually deliver something that solves that problem? And can I actually build a business against that? So it's speed. But relative speed.

[00:31:22] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:31:22] I think that that's so true. I remember when I was first starting Mike tech company, the thing that was thrown around a lot was Mark Zuckerberg, quote, like move fast and break stuff. And I feel like that can be great. But at the same time it gives like startups. License to just sometimes make really poorly informed decisions.

[00:31:38] Just be like, I'm moving fast. I'm breaking stuff. As opposed to actually doing the proper discovery needed to make sure that they're working on the right things and moving quickly in the right direction.

[00:31:48] Ben Yoskovitz: [00:31:48] Yeah, agree. So this is true for startups. It's true of corporate innovation. It's not, nobody should feel like a headless chicken. Running around like a lunatic. If that's not, if that's what it feels like, it's, you're not going about it in the right way. there is method to this madness. there are lots of ups and downs.

[00:32:07] There's lots of twists in the road, whatever sort of analogy you want to use, but it's not complete chaos. It's really. Meant to be controlled chaos, and the methodologies around innovation, you know, lean startup, design thinking jobs to be done. They apply for startups. They can apply to large organizations as well.

[00:32:24] So there is method to this madness. and, and then again, with bigger companies, it's just a little bit harder. It's a little bit harder because you have this infrastructure, you know, we at Highline beta believe that if you can, if you can figure out how to solve a problem. in the right way for a user or a customer or a customer segment that the scale that a large company has is a legitimate, unfair advantage.

[00:32:50] If you can leverage it. Successfully startups don't have that. They solve a problem. Then they have to raise capital. Then they have to grow. And that has all kinds of, implications. if you, if you go down the road of, of raising capital and, and continuing to do so, a big company doesn't have those same ch they have different challenges.

[00:33:07] They don't have those. They already have lots of customers. They already have lots of distribution. They have, you know, data is a great example. They have lots of data. If you're, if you're doing AI work and you're a startup, you have no data. if you're a big company you have, now you have to get access to it.

[00:33:23] And all of those, you know, there's, there's hoops to jump through, but if you can solve a real problem for a customer and you have these assets that you can then leverage, you know, we believe you can build businesses that can scale faster than what startups can do once you figure it out.

[00:33:40] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:33:40] That should make so many teams feel really optimistic. And I think you're so right. Well, they face these challenges that might limit the speed. Once they actually get the wheels moving, they can just accelerate some. Much faster. okay. So with that in mind, what would you say is your number one piece of advice for corporate leaders that are looking at needing to move into a new space or wanting to move into a new space?

[00:34:01] If you had to kind of narrow it down to that one kind of starting piece of advice, what might that be?

[00:34:06]Ben Yoskovitz: [00:34:06] Yeah. So I think for me, the, the advice is try it, which I know that sounds a little silly, I suppose. But what I really mean is take three people a hundred days, give them the air cover. They need to do a, I'm going to say whatever they want. I big asterisks on that, but hopefully people understand what I mean.

[00:34:28] Put up, put up methodology in place, put some guard rails in place. Take three, four, five people cross-functional team. Give them a hundred days, maybe 200 days and tell them to try to build a business. And I wouldn't go after the company's biggest problems. Right? So don't go after those core things that have to get done that are on a one-year roadmap with a one year or two year budget, go after something new, do it relatively quietly.

[00:34:55] Don't make a ton of hoopla about it and prove that you can execute this new approach to things this faster approach. And learn and just learn, learn, learn, learn, learn a ton. Yeah. And then see if you can figure out how to scale that model after. So I know that's a few things strung together, but.

[00:35:12] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:35:12] though. That process is golden.

[00:35:14] Ben Yoskovitz: [00:35:14] Yeah, it's just, just, you know, I, I often I've I say this to big companies, like give me three people in a hundred days and the permission to go do a bunch of things.

[00:35:24]and let's see what, let's see what comes out the other side, and then we'll learn from that. And then we can figure out, is this a repeat, can we ultimately come up with a repeatable, scalable model for building new businesses or ventures inside of a larger organization, but don't start there sort of from the bottom up.

[00:35:41] With this black ops team, just try it. so a lot of things have to fall into place to pull that off. but, but when you, when you make the ask relatively small, you might just be able to pull it off.

[00:35:54] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:35:54] That's fantastic. And so Ben, if people want to learn more from you and more about the work that your team at Highline beta is doing, where should they go?

[00:36:02] Ben Yoskovitz: [00:36:02] Yes. So by all means visit our website, Highline you know, find me and my email address has just been at Highline, People can reach out anytime they can find me and the company on LinkedIn on Twitter.  reach out and happy to share more with, with anybody that has questions or wants to keep chatting.

[00:36:20] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:36:20] awesome. , thank you so much for joining us today.

[00:36:23] Ben Yoskovitz: [00:36:23] Thanks very much for having me.

Katelyn Bourgoin Profile Photo

Katelyn Bourgoin

Host of Customer Show & Founder of Customer Camp

Katelyn is the founder of Customer Camp, a training and research firm that helps growth-ready product teams to get inside their customer’s heads so they can market smarter.

Ben Yoskovitz Profile Photo

Ben Yoskovitz

Founding Partner

Ben Yoskovitz is a founding partner of the innovation firm Highline Beta. He is also the co-author of Lean Analytics.