What happened to 10X?

changeI‘ve recently had discussions with clients and colleagues about innovation in organizations. Most indicated that while there are pockets of innovation going on, there isn’t much innovation overall. One asked a very insightful question: “What happened to 10X?” All of us knew exactly what he was asking—10X was many organizations’ shorthand for striving for breakthrough innovations. Between about 1995 and the recession in 2008, almost every company had some form of 10X initiative going on. This took many forms: 10X improvement in productivity, 10X improvement in customer value, 10X improvement in time to market. We realized we hadn’t heard much about 10X in a long time, and we began to wonder what happened. The obvious answer is the recession. During the recession, companies became so conservative that taking the risks required for 10X improvements was no longer part of the culture. Instead, 10% cultures have replaced 10X. Instead of making quantum leaps, organizations are content with surviving and doing just a little bit more—10% more. In fairness, there certainly are companies still striving for 10X, but they’re less visible, there seem to be fewer of them, and 10X thinking is limited to specific areas of the organization. How can we revive the 10X mentality? I’ll talk about that in my next post. Stay tuned.]]>

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