Why this twice-acquired entrepreneur says an innovation lab is a terrible idea if you actually want innovation (and what he does instead)
The accidental innovation lab
With Intersect’s history, Crowe sees his biggest challenge as keeping culture evolving. Not only is the company growing – merging three small offices to one big one and adding headcount – but the dynamics of the company have changed multiple times. Even Crowe himself faced the change from entrepreneur to intrapreneur when the company he founded got acquired.
“We were 38 people when we were acquired by Symbility,” explained Crowe. “And the culture that got us there isn’t the culture that’s going to get us to 200 or 500 [people]. I pay attention to the types of people that are adding a lot of value to our company and the people who we’re not attracting – I want to know why. Because as you get bigger, the easy way out is usually the bad way out.”
The easy way out, for Crowe, is finishing something quickly just to tick it off a list instead of doing it in the right way for your company’s ethos. He gave the example of copying a standard policy instead of crafting one that fits your work style perfectly, but another comparison links to the idea of corporate innovation labs.
He wants to hire other intrapreneurs just like him, but said that putting them in an innovation lab would get them nowhere.