Explorers Avoid Disruption

Herbert George Ponting and telephoto apparatus, Antarctica, January 1912

Barry O’Reilly writes that exploration is the key to avoiding disruption, but you can’t explore without explorers. Avoiding disruption is impossible without a great team.

Below is his five point plan for avoiding disruption. These steps are all good ideas, but it seems like something is missing. The team.

1. Support the culture of experimentation. The only failure is the failure to learn. Leaders are responsible for creating and defining this culture.

2. Don’t just set up a big project, make lots of small bets. Ramp up successes and limit losses.

3. Give your initiatives enough money to do something, but not enough to do nothing. Focus on frequent demonstrable value and validated learning before further investment.

4. Create co-located, cross-functional teams to explore the problem space with end to end responsibility for the product.

5. Continuously evaluate the performance of your initiatives and adjust the direction based on frequent customer feedback.

I wouldn’t climb Everest or venture to the south pole without an amazing team, even if my expedition had a good culture, or was well funded, or was responsive to feedback. I think the same goes for building great products and identifying new opportunities.

A company can stifle innovation by not doing any of these suggestions, but all of these assume you have a talented, motivated, hard-working team.

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