Our first set of posts dealt with what we have called the DARE mindset. It was an introduction into what we have found to be the largest impediment for growth. With the right mindset and way of working you obtain one of the biggest requirements for innovative growth. But what is this process of growth all about? Is there some sort of logical structure underneath it?

Look deep into nature and you will understand everything better.”
– Albert Einstein

A closer look at the process of growth

When we took a closer look at the process of growth within organizations, we were struck by the analogy with the evolutionary process in nature. Large mammals take on a quest to travel – sometimes for thousands of miles – to find fertile grounds with enough food to give birth and to feed their calves. The herds look for sheltered spaces that provide security for their offspring to grow up to become young and strong survivors. The animals go to great lengths, sometimes risking their own lives, to ensure that the species survives and can adapt to new times to come. They initiate the conditions for them to thrive and to make sure that the newborns have a chance to survive. Initiation and creation take place in safe and fertile grounds. In our innovation practice we often call it a ‘Growth Lab’. And as we hear sir Richard Attenborough narrating further down the evolution, the growing up takes place somewhere else. The mammals often take off in large flocks, with belly’s full, to head back home. A journey full of pitfalls and risks. The weak ones will not survive and fall prey to predators.

In business language, growing up might be referred to as the scale-up phase. The offspring is taken out of the Lab into a journey of maturing and survival. Many fail to do so. Welcome to the endless graveyard of startups and corporate ventures.

Growth stages: scale up


In order to become more successful at corporate innovative growth we wrote our book DARE, mentioned in earlier blogs. The base structure of DARE is built around the key issues and questions that managers and corporates struggle with when trying to create the change needed to survive in the quickly evolving corporate landscape. The capacity to adapt to change and act rapidly. The ten questions are structured in a logical way and follow the evolutionary phases of creating the answers that you need to face today’s and tomorrow’s uncertainties. They follow the three stages of growth: Initiate – Create – Scale. Just like propagation in wildlife.

Initiate the innovation journey

‘Initiate’ starts with understanding what is happening around us. It is about situational awareness; trying to figure out how your organization is impacted and what your response should be. In this phase you are invited to challenge whether you and your team can lead and execute the way forward for growth. Do you ‘DIY’ or buy your way into innovative plays? If you marry up the external with the internal world you are bound to make up your mind and ambition for the future. The need for having a clear direction or vision to guide your ambitions and innovations. And to get things started, you will have to figure out whom to involve and decide on your base change strategy. The right DARE mindset is an essential ingredient that you need to follow through. Dare to change, follow your plan and involve the right people.

Create your new growth paths

‘Create’ deals with the process that puts the customer first in your transformation process. It explores the need for experimenting in ‘controlled’ spaces with a blended approach of design thinking, lean startup and an agile way of working. You need structured guidelines for organizing your innovation efforts in physical spaces called Growth Labs for validation and Growth Accelerators for scaling those initiatives. You must understand the rules of the game and create a fair (level) playing field for your corporate ventures. It all starts with putting a team in place, with the right skills and competences, and empowering them with substantial (C-level) support. Make an honest (organizational) assessment of your innovative power and to get the basics in order. And finally try to make as much as possible honest decisions, based on data and insights. Don’t let gut feel and intuition get the best of you.

Scale and mature your innovations

‘Scale’, the third phase of growth, refers to committing to innovative growth and daring to make decisions with drastic consequences. Scaling is making the next step in new markets – beyond the early adopters – in new customer groups and geographies. It is the further evolvement of adding more products and features to the current offering, inventing new business models, new business processes and, finally, adding new people to the team. A tough question for corporate innovators in this phase of growth is, ‘How do I embed my early growth initiatives in the existing organization? Do I integrate activities or keep them apart?’ It is also the time for substantial financial commitments. While in the ‘ideation’ phase a growth budget of €5K was sufficient, €50K was spent at the concept and creation stage, and a further €50-€500K was invested in developing and testing several Minimum Viable Solutions and optimizing the business model, the scale-up phase requires a likely growth budget of several millions.

In our next posts, we will focus on the first stage of growth, the initiate phase. Initiation starts with creating a good sense of awareness. What is happening around you? Have a look into the future. Surely, we want you to keep reading these posts, but if you feel restless and inpatient you can jump right into DARE and buy the bestselling book at beta.revelx.co/get-dare-at-amazon.

Introducing DARE: The Mindset for Successful Innovators in The Digital Age

Learn how successful innovators and business leaders realize growth with DARE – now Amazon’s #1 best-selling title!