Ecosystem Spotlight: Spyre Group
Spyre was founded four years ago based on the observation that established organizations struggle to innovate. In other words, opportunities to significantly impact organizational outcomes that have a high risk of failure and lack of clarity on ROI have a very hard time to even get properly evaluated, let alone implemented in such environments.
We are four founders coming from Israel’s ecosystem, which has been dubbed “the startup nation.” Two of us have experience working in and with established organizations and the other two have had extensive experience working in and with startups. These complimentary backgrounds have brought us to the realization that if we could recreate what is in essence a startup ecosystem inside established organizations — similarly to how state-level and regional-level innovation ecosystems are set up — then this would allow organizations to actually innovate massively and successfully.
My personal background includes the envisioning and construction of just such a globally-reaching innovation ecosystem within the software division of HP covering 20,000 employees in dozens of sites around the world, so I knew this could be done.
Our passion and drive come from the impact we’ve seen such ecosystems have on the outcomes of established organizations and the amazing effect that taking part in such entrepreneurship ecosystems has on the individual employees of such organizations.
Spyre has worked with many leading global corporations (e.g. GE, Amazon, Microsoft, Nike, Unilever, and so many more). What are the biggest and most common challenges your clients face and why is it so hard for big companies to innovate?
The biggest and most common challenge has to do with the lack of outcomes of innovation investment. Anyone can do a hackathon. Anyone can go for the quick-fix of innovation theatre with creativity workshops and design-based problem solving. The biggest challenge is that 999 times out of 1000, opportunities that come out of such events don’t have the slightest chance of being delivered by organizational units as part of official work plans and at scale while leveraging the organization’s value delivery chain.
Innovative ideas are simply too risky, there’s too much uncertainty around their ROI and executives are too busy to learn how such ideas should be treated and follow through. Over the years, the most common complaint my partners and I have heard from innovation professionals is that they invest so much hard work into innovative opportunities — do their homework, validate, and experiment — but in the end, executives are reticent and do not “pull the trigger.”
This organizational pain is Spyre’s opportunity because we know how to comprehensively address it.
You started Spyre in 2017 in Tel Aviv, arguably one of the most advanced tech hubs globally. What can the rest of the world (but especially the US) learn from the innovation ecosystem in Israel?
There are many aspects to thriving innovation ecosystems. What always amazes me is the power of networking. When you bring together entrepreneurs, investors, and experts, what occurs as a result can be nothing short of magical. Entrepreneurship is an arduous experience, which most entrepreneurs embrace as part of their lifestyle. The best of them actually love what most of us refer to as “problems” because they realize that this is what makes them grow. Networks are a great way to deal with these constant problems. Being well connected to a network that offers you knowledge, support, and experience is a great power multiplier because it taps into an exponential phenomenon in ways that push projects forward linearly. It seems that because of the common experience of constant challenges, a sort of camaraderie and goodwill manifests in such networks and that makes a great positive impact.
Who is your dream client and what would Spyre do for them?
For those who are just starting, Spyre will guide them as their “innovation co-pilots” all the way to the creation of a thriving internal innovation ecosystem with high throughput and outcomes.
For those who are already systematically innovating, Spyre will at least double their innovation outcomes — guaranteed.
Our dream clients have a hunger to be successful in the future even though they are excelling in the present. There’s a palpable energy when you’re working with management teams that are committed to this goal, which is something I personally thrive on. Leadership teams shouldn’t wait for crisis or disruption to innovate, since by the time you realize you are being disrupted, it is usually too late to do anything constructive about it. Dream clients have management teams that realize they should be constantly innovating as part of their routine. In today’s rapidly changing environment, innovation management is essential to organizations — just like marketing and operations — and should be treated as such.
When disruption hits and your product line loses relevance, there’s only so much traditional marketing and operations will be able to do. If you have developed innovation management skills, you are much better equipped to handle the situation and may even avoid it altogether.
Your job is to help companies innovate. How do you stay on the cutting edge, i.e., what do you read, listen to?
Since our approach to innovation is blazing new trails in terms of tools, methods, and practices, my personal focus is on several well-developed areas that inspire me to look for analogies and effective techniques that can be adapted for the purpose of systematic organizational innovation:
- Entrepreneurship, as there’s a lot of material for entrepreneurs and startups that can translate almost directly to organizations with certain adaptations.
- Venture capital management, since this is where the approach of managing innovation funnels, driving gradual selection and results-based funding.
- Human psychology with an emphasis on influence, as implementing new stuff in organizations demands buy-in of both management and workforce.
- Community management, which is extremely important for the creation and maintenance of internal networks.
Where can readers go to learn more about Sypre?
They are welcome to visit our website at: www.spyre.group
We also have a free magazine called THE FUNNEL which focuses on the discipline of innovation management and is published in several languages around the world. You can access it at: www.thefunnel.community.
In addition, I just published my 2nd book: the first of a series called “How to measure innovation” that can be found here. It is a short, concise, and very practical guide to this topic that serves as an excellent primer for understanding this elaborate domain.