The 4th Option Junto
#29—Dan Toma: Implementing, Managing and Measuring Innovation in the Corporate Startup

#29—Dan Toma: Implementing, Managing and Measuring Innovation in the Corporate Startup

Dan Toma is an innovation thought leader and the co-author of two of my favorite books on innovation. The award-winning book The Corporate Startup, (awarded "Management Book of the Year for Innovation and Entrepreneurship" by Chartered Management Institute and The British Library in 2018) and his latest, Innovation Accounting.

Dan started his career in entrepreneurship, being involved with technology startups across the world. Puzzled by the questions "Why are innovative products mainly launched by startups?," together with his team at the consultancy company OUTCOME, he focuses on enterprise innovation transformation. Specifically on the changes blue-chip organizations need to make to allow for new ventures to be built in a corporate setting.

A big proponent of the ecosystem approach to innovation, Dan has also worked with various government bodies, in Asia and Europe, helping develop national innovation ecosystems and implement national innovation strategies. Most noteworthy is his work in the economic aid program of the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Vietnam where he helped design and manage a nationwide business acceleration program and supported the capability development activities.

Dan was also featured on the Thinkers50 2020 Radar list of "Management Thinkers to Watch," while also being a member of the World Economic Forum’s working group on accelerating digital transformation.

In this podcast he shares:

  • Why the traditional financial metrics we use to manage our core business are inappropriate for measuring innovation.

  • While many people say things like “you have to measure innovation differently” or “we need to start measuring learning rather than revenue for innovation to work,” Dan gives us really tangible, practical advice on how to measure the right things.

  • He also argues that we should not be focused on big “moon shot” ideas and what we should be focused on instead.

  • __________________________________________________________________________________________

  • "There's a gap in the market. There's a lot that talks about employees.There's a lot that talks about customers, and then loosely we'll talk about them together. But what is the value? We went out and did some primary research, and we found that brands that do that really well in the U.S. is 1.8X faster growth rates. For a billion-dollar brand, it's a $40-million impact."

    -Dan Toma


    Episode Timeline:

    00:00—Introducing Dan Toma + The topic of today’s episode

    2:32—If you really know me, you know that...

    2:50—What is your definition of strategy?

    4:40—What got you interested in strategy?

    5:27—What are you most known for?

    5:56—Could you tell us about how Covid-19 has shifted companies' approach to innovation?

    8:59—What are some of the pitfalls of financial accounting?

    11:10—Can you give us an indicator or metric that can help us gauge how much we're learning?

    12:50—How do you measure a learning?

    13:30—What do people get wrong?

    14:50—What's the error in measuring innovation of "moon shot" ideas?

    16:00—What's something you've changed your mind about?

    17:13—Could you describe the framework you lay out in Corporate Startup?

    18:36—How can people follow, find and learn from you?


    Additional Resources:

The 4th Option Junto
The Outthinkers podcast is a growth strategy podcast hosted by Kaihan Krippendorff. Each week, Kaihan talks with forward-looking strategists and innovators that are challenging the status quo, leading the future of business, and shaping our world.