A goal of mine is to elevate the human condition through improving institutional methodologies. Along these lines, it has been my experience that sharing can be more efficient, and more economical than hoarding.
Large organizations tend to fail at innovation. It’s no surprise, as employees of such firms have little incentive to go above and beyond the status quo. For their work they are rewarded with wages and sometimes stock options, which do not always reflect the effort they put in. It’s a contributing cause of why people choose to lead startups; when they do so, their business becomes their child, and the labor they put into it helps it visibly grow.
Part of the reason why capitalism has been so successful in creating wealth, is that in a healthy society, incentive is aligned with production. As this is not always the case for employees in an organization, sometimes an organization as a whole loses its spirit to innovate.
There is room for improvement with incubator models. As currently implemented, they can be wasteful. There is not much guidance on how money should be spent, and it is often squandered on services that don’t help teams succeed. Moreover, they tend to scare away true innovators, as a perversion of incentive can encourage startups to optimize for fast equity inflation rather than true value creation. This myopia leads to lost productivity, a distrust of the businesses by prospective employees and customers, and disturbingly, loss of passion for the company founders.
In 2013, I co-founded a university student innovation lab, “The construct @ RIT”, with the goal of creating freedom through reducing social barriers to accessing capital equipment.1)The Construct @ RIT Although the university was well equipped with multi-million dollar tools, they were sitting unused a majority of the time, simply due to politics restricting access to them.
By giving students free access to tools and mentorship, amazing gadgets were prototyped by self-motivated individuals, all without million dollar budgets. Some of them were even useful enough to be turned into viable products, though, establishing channels to do so at the time was beyond the scope of the planned project.
I hope to do this bigger; to create an organization that allows people access to three things;
- A welcoming community that helps break down the psychological barriers to taking risk, and is open and willing to share experience and wealth among innovative leaders.
- Tools and prototyping resources, and guidance to make effective use of them.
- A pipeline to help folks bring their project from concept to manufacture and distribution.
People who utilize the resources to their economic benefit, could pay a portion of their gains back into the organization as a royalty, or tax. It’s a simple philosophy of putting capitalism to good work, to benefit those with the drive to make their ideas succeed. By this method, less time is spent reinventing the wheel, and more resources can be dedicated to building good products, trust among customers, and establishing open channels for wealth creation.
Big organizations tend to fail at innovation, but it may not be inherent to the fact they’re big. It may just be that they have their hearts in the wrong place, and with an improved, responsible incentive philosophy, they may just as well become a pathway to success that works for everyone.
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