Planning is the enemy of doing things

Context: The Bakery has accelerated 42 start ups to market in enterprises…. we see the same pattern time and again.

When you were a child you learnt through quick feedback loops. You touched the radiator. You go ‘ow’. You didn’t do it again.

When you were a child you learnt through quick feedback loops. You touched the radiator. You go ‘ow’. You didn’t do it again.

Now you’re all grown up in a grown up company. You learn by sitting in rooms, having meetings and planning when to do the very thing that will get you feedback.

Planning is the enemy of doing things.

Let’s take some of the big companies beat up by tiny ‘start up’ companies:

Blockbuster. Netflix
Hmv. Spotify
Borders. Amazon
The entire car industry. Tesla etc

How does that happen with such a mismatch in resources? The answer is in the radiator…

Startups learn quickly by doing. Big companies spend resources on planning slowly. They have long customer feedback loops engendered by a ‘make once, distribute to many’ Industrial age culture.

Planning is the enemy of doing things.

But how does this play out? Where does the money go?

WARNING. this actually happened ;-) It contrasts an FMCG company with a start up in a similar space. They both developed a spa service but went about it totally differently.

a) Big FMCG company approach — £1m investment 
Management consultant fees £800k
Digital company ideation £190k
Amount left to build the spa £10k

After strategy documents, meetings, opinions and models they had 1% left to build the thing!

b) Start up approach — £1m investment
Had a hypothesis. Hacked a prototype. Got feedback. £20k
Found highest order need. Iterated product. £30k
Started pop up shop to test service levels. £40k
Iterated until they found a product customers were using and actually wanted.£80k
Scaled product, service and testing over the next year.£230k
Employed a team to service initial 600k customers.£600k

So, for the same price you have a scaling revenue generating company!!!

The point here is that by definition new things are risky. Think about innovation budgets like an investor and de-risk the process by doing things fast. If you fail you will fail cheaper and quicker which beats failing expensively.

The trap is optimising for the planning not the doing.

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