Dell: Solving the Innovation Problem
In the1980s and 1990s, IT firms were centers for innovation, but as they aged, they became much like their older predecessors focused more on quarterly results and limiting risk than on doing crazy, amazing things. This seems to be the cycle; a young firm rises quickly on a number of really risky ideas and then loses the ability to innovate and goes into decline.
One of that era’s best companies, Dell, is fighting this trend on a number of fronts in unique ways. The company’s efforts to go private were unprecedented for a firm of its size, and the effort’s success helped Dell get out from under the quarterly results rat race that so badly hampered its ability to take risks and innovate. But I became aware of another process underway at Dell last week, and it is equally interesting. This was a Dell’s Innovation Day event where, using a format similar to reality TV shows like Shark Tank that are focused on finding hidden talent, company representatives look for young, innovative firms to husband into success. The process also allows Dell to access the innovative talents that otherwise would be missed.
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NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT Review.