Five Times Steve Jobs Reminded Us That Innovation Isn’t Just for Startups

It’s something we hear all the time, “run your nonprofit or your billion dollar company like a startup.”

The startup craze has major corporations taking away walled off spaces for their senior management in an effort to create more collaborative areas. I’ve heard of companies adding relaxation rooms and ping pong tables to appeal to the younger workforce.

Before completely uprooting your entire organization, first you might think about implementing some of these ‘startup’ values that will help your organization become more adaptive, efficient, fun-loving, honest, innovative, optimistic, and passionate.*

Hire the A-Team

Steve Jobs - Hire Smart People

Finding a team that is as passionate about your mission as you are is first and foremost. We ask every prospective Cerkl employee what they are passionate about. A potential candidate’s answer tells us if they will be a good fit or not. Passion is principal to Cerkl’s mission of increasing engagement.

If you expect to keep A-players, you need to make sure your structure, culture, and mission give them the agency to grow and be successful.

Act Fast & Often

Steve Jobs - Successful Entrepreneurs Require Pure Perseverance

Working with nonprofits, I often hear the phrase, “we tend to move very slow around here.” Then how to do you expect to create real change?

If you identify a decline in membership, a decrease in giving or reduced event attendance then you are already behind in finding a solution. Using the aforementioned excuse only hinders your potential problem-solving development.

The only way to ensure continual growth and traction is to act fast and often.

Create a flexible path

Steve Jobs - Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.

Having a vision for the future is important but understanding that the path to get there must be flexible is just as important.

Your current vision of how a process should be developed should not be your final iteration. If you are not constantly making tweaks and adapting to change then you will never be able to succeed to your fullest potential.

Think about things in a new way

Steve Jobs - Some people ask, what is it? others ask, what can I do with it?

The phrase, ‘it’s just the way we’ve always done things’ is absolutely paralyzing for the growth and innovation of your organization.

The question should always be, “what does success look like for this decision / this event / this application?” If that success can be achieved by taking a shorter, more efficient, and possibly more risky road – why wouldn’t you take it?

Don’t limit yourself by choosing only from the options in front of you. This principle is quite literally the beating heart of innovation.

On that note…It’s not called failure

Steve Jobs - Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes.

We don’t fail, we learn. This one was hard for me to grasp when I first started working with Cerkl. Studying entrepreneurship in college, I can’t begin to express the number of times I heard professors, staff, and even students use the phrase, “fail fast.”

This can be paralyzing when you are moving at hyperspeed. Within every decision, action or situation there should always be an air of curiosity. How can we make this process more efficient? How can we make this better next time? What did we learn?

Bottom line…

We have much to thank our innovative forefathers for. Looking into their successful empires you can easily see their startupesque qualities of creativity, curiosity, passion, drive, and innovation never diminished – even after massive growth.

Implementing these strategies utilized by the coveted group of entrepreneurs will help you focus on developing growth, and creating new opportunities for your organization.

At the end of the day, what does success look like for your organization?

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