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Unleashing the Innovators Offers a Template for Partnerships Between Startups and Established Firms

Michael Krauss

Jim Stengel’s new book, Unleashing the Innovators: How Mature Companies Find New Life with Startups, offers an explanation for the trend of digital startups toppling established players and what the latter should do about it.

Stengel, a former global marketing officer for Procter & Gamble, says, “Upstarts such as Google in its early days reminded me of what life must have been like in the earliest days at the biggest and oldest corporations.” He continues, “P&G, IBM, Levi Strauss, Target, Toyota, Wells Fargo and Motorola Solutions started with a dynamic founder, a brilliant idea and a determination to deliver something extraordinary and transformative.”

Despite these exciting beginnings, as companies grow, Stengel writes, they lose their original excitement, purpose and drive.

Why do these leading global enterprises lose their mojo? According to Stengel, “They become more concerned about how to maintain market share or survive in their space than about how to transform the world. In a word, they go from bold to old.”

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Michael Krauss is president of Market Strategy Group based in Chicago.