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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Bullock

Use 70-20-10 to maximise the innovation in your scale-up

I know from my own experience how important it is to maintain innovation when scaling up your enterprise. Just because you have built up some traction and made the transition from start-up to scale-up, it doesn’t mean the innovation is over. Quite the opposite.

However, innovation gets harder as more and more resources become focused on short-term growth and day-to-day operations. A commonly used model to manage a continued push of innovation is the 70-20-10 three horizons framework.

The 70-20-10 three horizons framework is based on resource allocation:

  • 70% towards your current business

  • 20% on developing new, already understood, opportunities

  • 10% on exploring entire new areas for the business

Create a team focused on radical innovation

A team that can successfully pursue radical innovation needs to be treated differently by the company:

  • Long time horizons. Innovating takes time and the teams dedicated to achieving radical innovation need to be given long time horizons with no short- or medium-term commitments. The ideal time horizon is around three years.

  • Keep them siloed. The innovation team should be siloed or ring-fenced from the rest of the company. Acting as their own start-up, they should never be involved in day-to-day operations. Staying separate will allow for true out-of-the-box thinking.

Innovation is hard, but it is also important. It can be challenging for a company to adopt a dedicated innovation team. It will appear as an expense on your profit and loss report without delivering any measurable revenue or short-term benefits. However, the key to success is to stick with it.

TAKEAWAY: A radical innovation team is a great addition to any scale-up. But it can be difficult to implement properly and to stick with it long term due to a lack of short-term benefits. If your scale-up doesn’t have this team, get working on this today.


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