From Whence Innovation?

By Dean ~ January 28th, 2009. Filed under: Industry.

The excellent EDA Graffiti blog did something really interesting today.  Two guest bloggers presented different perspectives on innovation.  Lauro Rizzatti, the GM of EVE-USA asserts that small companies are the richest sources of innovation.  Meanwhile, Chi-Ping Hsu, Cadence‘s SVP of R&D, sort of takes the other side of the argument by suggesting that passionate people will innovate in any environment, but that larger organizations have the resources to successfully implement the new ideas.

I’ve worked and/or consulted at organizations that range from the tiniest startups to Fortune 500 companies.  While I completely agree with Mr. Hsu’s closing statement:

“The bottom line on innovation is that it is the people.  Large company or small company, innovators with management skill and market vision can make breakthroughs animate.  It’s the people.  It’s a personal thing!”

I still think that nimble aggressive companies will tend to drive innovation forward faster for several reasons.  Beyond Mr. Rizzatti’s assertion that:

“Startups and smaller companies can be more aggressive in identifying and responding to trends.”

I believe that startups benefit by not being constrained to “fit in” to an existing product line.  They do not have to worry about cannibalizing an existing cash cow product.  Startup companies have a passionate and dedicated sales team, so the product isn’t competing with other groups for share of mind with the sales force.  Further, the startup’s sales team has nothing else to sell.  They have to move the product.  Sales teams at larger companies sometimes focus more on what’s easy to sell, often to the detriment of the newer product.


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