How to Sustain Innovation Speed

Innovations and R&D | Co-creation | Published 08. Aug. 16

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When it comes to innovation and speed, what can bigger and established companies learn from startups? Herman Welleweerd, Managing Director at Carthago ICT shares his ideas.


“Innovation is driven by the need for speed,” says Herman Welleweerd, Managing Director at Carthago ICT. Everything must be done quickly these days and even faster, if possible. “Business cases appear and disappear in what seems to be a continuous growing speed,” adds Welleweerd. As digitalization marches on, the need for speed increases, and disruptive and new companies like Airbnb and Zalando seem to thrive in it.

So, how can fast innovation be future-proofed and sustained?

Inspire, Let go, and Bring Together

Nowadays, it’s easy for individuals to start an Internet company, from behind the desk, and actually be successful. The operative word is “start” because as the business grows, a team or a group of individuals with different sets of expertise and skills will be needed to innovate. And there’s no way to control and arrange innovation, but leaders can manage the process and inspire creativity in people. When innovating, the leaders’ role is that of a facilitator and coach, especially if the team is knowledgeable, experienced, and creative.

The following encourages speed in innovation:

  • Cooperation, Learning, and Creativity – Make use of colleagues’ experiences. Employees must not be afraid to ask and work together in the most optimized way.
  • Agile/Scrum Method – Collaboration requires a period of brainstorming and interaction to produce a minimum viable product and eventually the whole product. The Agile/Scrum method, which works in short sprints, requires teams to deliver a portion of the product every two weeks (weekly for some). It’s about taking small steps towards the big goal.
  • New Digital Technologies – Technology is an innovation enabler and possibility-creator. It’s up to companies to see the opportunities it presents. As the world is moving towards personalized solutions, companies can leverage new digital technologies for co-makership with a company and/or with their customers.

Learn from Starters

“Established and successful companies may not always have the urge to be creative or trend-watch, and instead focus on the inside rather than the outside,” according to Carthago ICT’s Managing Director. He thinks it’s actually wise for established companies to ask startups how they see their business presently and in the future, “Established companies can learn a lot from the startups’ open mindedness, eagerness, creativity, and motivation.”


The biggest innovative changes can be expected in the field of business to consumer (B2C) and convenience will still be everything. The frenetic speed of development and steady emergence of new techniques, coupled with the rise of the Internet of Things and smarter use of Big Data, leave businesses with no choice but to evolve or die. Of course it’s the consumers that will experience the changes first, as innovation stems from their wants and needs, but businesses (B2B) will follow shortly, “So, even if your company doesn’t directly supply to customers, your customers or the customers of your customers might. So, every company must be alert and evolve to be able to facilitate their customers’ agility and success!”

Carthago ICT will be attending our 600Minutes Mid-Market IT event in The Netherlands on the 1st of June 2017 as a solution provider. 

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