It’s not direct competitors that keep the folks at Intuit up at night; it’s all the startups they don’t know about, according to Intuit innovation catalyst Bennett Blank.
The financial software company describes itself as the “30-year-old startup” and Blank says for the last six years it’s been trying to instil startup values in its employees through its Design for Delight program.
“There’s lots and lots of pressure from all different angles for established players like Intuit,” Blank says.
“In general, being in tech is extremely challenging because it’s changing so rapidly. We like to say it’s not the company’s market competitors that keep us up at night, it’s the kid in a garage outside Stanford that could be about to launch in 30 days.
“Which is why we’re trying to turn Intuit into a company of 8000 entrepreneurs.”
The program is based on three principles that Blank says can apply to startups and businesses of all shapes and sizes:
1. Deep customer empathy
“We try to understand the customer by observing them in the real world,” Blank says.
2. Going broad to go narrow
“This is about helping people to employ many solutions until they dive onto the final solution that actually works: brainstorming until they settle on the final option.”
3. Rapid experiments
“We’re out there developing experiments in the wild, showing those products. And figuring out through those experiments how to learn new things about the customer.
“There’s no success, no failure, just the experiment. Seeing what you learn.”
Of the company’s 8000 strong workforce, there are 200 employees that are known as innovation catalysts, specifically trained to help instil Design for Delight values in their colleagues.
“We have a rich tradition of entrepreneurship that gives us a head start from other corporations,” Blank says.
“We’re somewhat unique in that Intuit has been around for 30 years or so and our founder is still active.
“One benefit we’re seeing from Design for Delight is we’re able to react much faster to other companies.”