Startups are in the exploration phase and change to the exploitation phase when they become mature businesses. It can be a costly mistake when they are unwilling to switch back when needed.
MORE IDEAS FROM The ambidextrous mindset: how to balance exploration and exploitation
Great innovators are known for risk-taking and experimentation. But optimising needs a different skill-set that relies on refinement and efficiency. It is then rare to find people that can innovate and optimise.
A typical story is that a founder launches a startup, successfully grows it through the initial stages, then gets replaced by a more experienced CEO. However, the best results are produced when exploration and exploitation coincide.
The key to success is to balance exploration and exploitation.
Many organisations focus on the exploitation of their historically successful business activities while failing to explore new territory to improve their long-term success.
Similar to the way you need both exploration and exploitation in order to foster innovation, you need both open loops and closed loops to produce great work.
First, you create open loops to cultivate your creativity; then, you close those loops to increase your productivity.
Hot streaks are also known as 'career-defining periods of unusual success' and this has been observed in almost every domain such as Einstein's "Miracle Year" of groundbreaking discoveries to director Peter Jackson's box-office-smash Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Digital leaders don’t have to do everything themselves, but they must be able to spot the areas of their organization that need improving. Moreover, they need to be able to hire and develop the best talent to not only fill roles but also drive the business forward to greater success.
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