Hearst’s 5 Ingredients for Innovation

Large corporations are often accused of being slow-moving dinosaurs.

Philip Wiser, CTO of Hearst, states that the biggest problem, the lack of agility, is caused by misunderstandings within the organization. Often, these misunderstandings result from adhering to convention and restrictions within a legacy company.

Wiser recently spoke at the Digiday Innovation Summit about how large companies can build a product-development culture with an entrepreneurial bent. Here are Wiser’s key ingredients to changing the corporate protocol:

1. Customer Focus
While this may seem obvious to an entrepreneur, often these components are buried within a larger business. “In the past, there was a lot of capital and time requirements to build a new experience,” Wiser said. Customers were second to spending resources on engineering.

2. Cloud computing
Experiences are delivered to consumers in a matter of days at a marginal cost compared to a decade ago. “This forces companies to rethink how they work in product development creating experiences. … They can try small ideas and iterate.”

3. Data
Large amounts of data can be overwhelming. “With so much real-time data around what your customer is doing, you can focus all of your energy on validating the assumptions around that product experience,” said Wiser. “Walk in with an idea of the market, product concept, and a prototype. And build it before you go through all that deep analysis.”

4. Talent
Often at a large company, talent is right under your nose. “You don’t have to go outside of the industry to find a fresh way of thinking,” he said. “You can retrain elements of the teams inside of the company to go after new ideas.” Current skill sets within the company already fit within a product-development environment.

5. Agility
Wiser stated that one of the board members at Hearst shared his vision for an agile environment. Having the go ahead from senior management is key, and that allows for an innovative environment.

Rethinking Entrepreneurship from Digiday on Vimeo.

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