We have come a long way from the idea that biggest is best. An increasing number of entrepreneurs are discovering opportunities in cheap-to-establish, technology driven business models; our graduates have become increasingly attracted to the development opportunities offered by emerging industries; and finally, only the nimblest and most agile businesses are capturing the attention of consumers. And these trends are only likely to become amplified after Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull recently announced a $1.1 billion package to fund Australia’s “ideas boom” over the next four years.
‘There are three key obstacles to innovation’
As the tables turn, it comes as little surprise that smaller businesses are already grabbing a significant market share from the hands of Australia’s biggest brands. But for two business moguls and their entrenched entrepreneurial thinking, none of this is cause for big businesses to start ‘bringing the curtain down,’ or wallow in pessimism. Jack Delosa, author and founder of The Entourage, Australia’s largest educator and community of entrepreneurs and Peter Bradd, founding director of co-working space, Fishburners and StartupAUS, have joined forces to launch The Entourage Beanstalk Factory.
Collaborating to bring entrepreneurial thinking to large organisations, their new venture has been specifically established to teach individuals to innovate within big business. An accomplished entrepreneur and high-profile investor, Jack Delosa is certainly not short of ideas to impart. Jack is a co-founder of MBE Education which quickly became one of Australia’s fastest growing companies and he has been listed in the BRW Young Rich List since 2014.
Jack tells Dynamic Business that there are three key obstacles to innovation in large organisations:
“The first obstacle rests in the DNA of the business itself. Is this a business that truly wants to innovate or is it just part of rhetoric?
“The second obstacle is the size of these organisations. Any change or innovation needs to be endorsed right from the top and carried out effectively throughout the corporation – in many cases this can take months or even years.
“The third obstacle is having models to ‘think into’. Entrepreneurship has given rise to incredibly effective models for problem solving, consumer connection and achieving product to market fit.”
‘Small businesses have the edge over big business’
According to Jack, we’re entering an era where small businesses have the edge over big business – unless they [large organisations] change their ways.
“Disruption usually comes from a grass-roots level, it’s not uncommon to hear of great innovations coming out of a garage. It’s when corporations lose a connection with their market that they become open to being disrupted by somebody who serves the consumer in a more convenient or cost-effective way,” he said.
So how can large corporations ‘change their ways’ to make themselves relevant again? Jack says good leadership and change management are two fundamental pillars that underpin how well a company can develop and deploy innovative projects.
‘We teach CEO’s and Senior Managers how to innovate’
Of course, the concept of the ‘internal training provider’ is far from something new on the corporate scene; but The Entrepreneur Beanstalk Factory has ambitions far beyond outdated video demonstrations and lacklustre activities. The venture will be leading by the example it’s team have already set.
Jack said “we teach CEO’s and Senior Managers how to innovate according to the consumer, marketplace and business drivers.
“The team inside of The Entourage Beanstalk Factory have built several highly successful entrepreneurial companies, and in doing so can train these entrepreneurial models to enable corporations to problem solve differently.”
‘The rise of the big, small business’
And the hunger is out there, said Jack. The shift in consumer loyalties and the increasingly dominant position of smaller businesses hasn’t gone unnoticed by the CEO’s and senior leaders of the corporate world. It’s got them stirring and their ears firmly spiked.
Commenting on the collaboration with Peter Bradd to establish The Entourage Beanstalk Factory, Jack said “we had both been continuously speaking with corporates who wanted to understand how to develop a more entrepreneurial approach; this was a big sign that not only was there a market demand but one that CEO’s and Senior Managers were already asking us to contribute to.
“We’ve had a strong response. We’re currently in discussions with several ASX20 companies, and several from the ASX200.”
So it might be that if large corporations succeed in achieving the level of innovation that has so far accelerated small business to the fore, we might not be witness to the demise of the big business but instead the rise of the big, small business. As Jack said, those that “move to stay relevant will flourish. History highlights what happens to those who don’t.”