Innovation Paradox – To the Edge & Back

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There are two types of companies in a rapidly changing world.
Those who innovate to stay ahead – and those who get disrupted.

For disruptors, the big companies become big targets.
Healthy enterprises innovate.

But how? Here lies an innovation paradox.

It’s often too hard to innovate the core.
– too much risk, too much process, too many stakeholders – too much rust to clean.

Typically, successful innovation happens at the edge of an enterprise.
With more freedom to move, Innovation is easier at the edge.

But if Innovation doesn’t return back to the core then it’s a side game for the company.
A distraction – no change, no impact, no purpose – no point.

It’s that distance – to the edge and back- which frames an innovation paradox.

Enterprises have more resources to innovate with but the bigger an enterprise, the harder it is to innovate. It simply takes more effort for an enterprise to innovate than it does for a start up.

Not only is the distance to the edge and back longer but the effort to gain traction is greater.
Change is not a two-dimensional problem for big companies You need to hack the enterprise’s immune system.

It takes executive courage to create change.
But the opportunity is greater.
There’s more to gain for an Enterprise.

The best enterprises will find ways to innovate like a startup – and also use their operating leverage to move the market.

Good executives see opportunity for external insight – they onboard consulting partners to re-imagine the enterprise and drive transformational projects.

Better executives find opportunities to revitalize their operation – they acquire disruptive companies and merge the potential disruption.

But the best executives will continually leverage their own assets and ideas – they build transport systems to the edge and back. They innovate frequently and they measure their innovation cycle speed.

These companies make innovation part of the culture. These companies stay ahead.
Their executives stay relevant. They are always innovating.

Tonight we’re proud to host 30 of the most innovative executives in Sydney at a think tank event in our Courage to Innovate series:

Invitation to the event series Courage to Innovate - by N5, Lexr and Experian

At this event, we’re asking the question – what does Generative AI mean for direct consumer businesses and how will it change your customer’s experience?

In a fast-changing world, our aim is to cultivate a free-flowing discussion.
There is no predefined destination – except dinner and drinks afterwards to continue healthy discussions. We want our guests to leave a little more informed and inspired to take a leap.

The themes of this event are:
Personalisation vs Privacy: How can generative AI strike the right balance between creating personalised experiences for consumers whilst respecting their privacy?
Branding and Authenticity: How can D2C brands leverage generative AI whilst maintaining their unique brand identity and authenticity?
Content Ownership and IP: How should D2C brands approach ownership and licensing of AI-generated IP? How do brands retain creative control?
Realtime Customer Engagement: Can generative AI enable D2C brands to provide real-time support and engagement and how will this impact satisfaction and retention

We’re looking for executives with the courage to innovate – change makers that can travel to the edge and back.

If you want to join us for the next event in the series and network with other change makers then get in touch with our team today.

Published August 3, 2023

Leaders in
Data & Digital


About the Author

Max Flanigan

Max Flanigan


Max is the founder of Noble Five – a leading consulting agency that helps clients transform digital marketing.

His work is charged with digital innovation and a passion for growth and his clients include leading Telco, Media & Technology brands.

With a background in news journalism and keen interests in law, politics, and economics, Max is an enthusiastic advocate for public rights, digital spaces, and a new era of connected society.

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