Thursday, 6 October 2011

“Think big, start small, fail fast, scale soon”

The concept of “Think big, start small, scale soon” is not new in terms of management and leadership education; however the concept of including “fail fast” seems to have been a new addition to this common mantra.

It sounds great, but how many people actually understand it, or more to the point have taken the time to think about understanding what it could mean to them, to their situation or application.  A quick poll suggests to me: not many!

So I thought I would share my ideas on the interpretation of this mantra in my context of building my company’s social business brand and strategy.

So the components that I am looking at are as follows:

  • Think Big
  • Start Small
  • Fail Fast
  • Scale Soon

“Think big” – this is the easy one I believe, the concept of churning out ideas, whether they are unique (side note: are there really any “really” unique ideas anymore or just variations of a theme?) or variants of someone else’s idea.  It all starts with an idea!

“Start small” – is also easy, although most people who are good at the first tend not to be the executors of the second.  Start small for me is the concept of moving the idea from just theory, off the paper and into a proof of concept, pilot or just executing on the idea to start testing the waters.

“Fail fast” – I am not suggesting that you need to fail to be successful, actually to the contrary, that if you can avoid failure then surely success will come quicker.  But in that same vein, let’s consider the concept of experimentation, if you are starting small, in a practical sense, and learning on the job (as is the norm nowadays) then the key is to hit the challenges and find the solutions early on, whilst you still have an opportunity to adapt with minimum effort and/or cost.  Failing could be considered synonymous with learning in our experiential world – the concept of ironing out all the glitches before moving to the next step…

“Scale soon” – Once you have identified the idea, started off on your journey, identified the pitfalls and possibly even approached a “go”, “no go”, then the time comes to take your idea to the next level, be it a product or solution to market, a concept to process production or an initiative live in your organisation – the next steps are to capitalise on the original idea to meet your objectives.

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