Bezos on innovation

Om Malik blogged about Jeff Bezos’ talk at the Wired Business Conference in New York and it makes a thought-provoking read. He says the Amazon founder talked about a lot of things covered elsewhere so he chose to focus on what he said about innovation and entrepreneurship.

The key lessons?
Innovation is hard in big companies because 1. they are small in the scheme of things and 2. they are necessarily long-term.
“You need a culture that high-fives small and innovative ideas and senior executives [that] encourage ideas,” he said.

Focus on the customer. Winning with the customer is more important that the stock price. Results will follow happy customers.

In tough times step up internal communication with your employees. With so many external inputs it’s important to ease employees concerns with high-quality internal communication.

Be stubborn. Be stubborn about the vision but flexible about the tactics.

The biggest pre-requisite for innovation is a willingness to fail. If you don’t have that, and aren’t prepared to think for the long term and be ready to be misunderstood for a long period, you should stick to incremental change.

He also contrasted errors of omission with errors and errors of commission: People overemphasize their failures when trying something new. Actually failure is not that expensive and it’s part of work.”

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