Masters of Scale – Reid Hoffman: Megan Smith – How to solve an impossible challenge
Faced with an impossible challenge? Don’t reinvent the wheel. Find someone who’s already solved the problem – and help those inventors keep inventing. Megan Smith calls that technique “scout and scale.”
She did it as United States CTO under President Obama (launching the U.N. Solutions Summit and a tech jobs tour). She did it at Google (acquiring startups to bring famed products to life). She did it as CEO of PlanetOut. And she continues today with her new company shift7.
Observe and learn
- Observing and learning from well-nourished families, providing practical solutions, and involving the community can successfully alleviate malnutrition in remote areas.
- Look for solutions to problems outside of your organization and be willing to learn from others to effectively scale innovation. Humility can be a powerful tool in any field.
Let the inventions continue
Scouting outside a company for innovators and working together can drive growth and lead to success. Half of Google’s products have come from outside acquisitions, highlighting the importance of collaboration.
Instead of building everything in-house, companies can benefit from acquiring unique talent to continue developing ideas. It’s important to let entrepreneurs keep inventing and put them in charge after acquisition.
Granting autonomy to talented individuals and letting them pursue their vision can lead to success in scaling a company. It is important to invite experienced individuals onto your team and allow them to lead the way.
Consider both the search and implementation processes when adopting new technology. The Wisdom of Threads technique, where a diverse group of people have an open conversation, can help discern if adoption is necessary. Upgrade systems with willingness and careful consideration for efficiency and cost.
Diverse opinions and perspectives
Including diverse perspectives in projects is necessary, but it’s also important to ensure selectiveness for efficiency. Improving tech IQ can lead to cost-saving solutions like open-source software and innovative programs such as TechHire for job training and employment.
Scaling existing solutions can tackle difficult obstacles.
Collaboration and partnership can tackle impossible challenges. Look for solutions and connect with those already doing the work to create expanded opportunities in overlooked areas and diverse talent pools.