While small startups aspire to grow into big businesses, big businesses often aspire to be more like a startup. To become more agile and innovate at greater speed. However there’s a critical evolutionary difference which will forever separate the two...

Startups can disrupt and pivot – because they don’t have an established business or proven revenue stream to maintain. As a result in the wider business ecosystem startups come and go – some succeed, while many fail. A small startup can afford to take greater risks and embrace failure, as compared to a large organisation the impact of failure has far less impact across society.

If you look back in time this dynamic becomes more evident. For every highly innovative large organisation, there were many others pioneering the way ahead of them. Before Facebook we had Friendster, Myspace, Bebo... before Uber there was Zipcar, Zimride, BlaBlaCar... and many others.

Which also highlights the common fallacy of “first-mover advantage.” Or in the words of Intuit founder Scott Cook on the success of Quicken – which launched with 46 competitors on the market before them – “we enjoyed 47th-mover advantage.”

So for intrapreneurs, the risk-taking entrepreneurs within established organisations, a different approach is required. The traditional singular company vision has become too simplistic for a complex unpredictable world. This shift in viewpoint helps explain why many leaders are struggling to adapt to industry disruption.

Instead of focusing on a singular vision of the future, what’s needed now is double vision. With one view on inspiring and guiding business as usual, the other perspective focused on a far more revolutionary horizon, seeking: What might business as unusual look like? 

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