silicon valley

  • Large companies like GE and Citibank have in recent years developed project-focused teams that act like startups.
  • “The Lean Startup” author Eric Ries has guided many of these programs.
  • These companies utilize “growth board” meetings to ensure the efficiency of entrepreneurial goals.

When former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt finished reading Eric Ries’ 2011 book “The Lean Startup” not long after it was published, he was so inspired that he soon made the book required reading for managers across the company and hired Ries as a consultant.

Immelt and Ries developed FastWorks, an initiative to implement Ries’ entrepreneurial ethos into GE, for the purpose of reinvigorating the company with the ability to quickly and efficiently pursue exciting ideas.

Part of this process was the development of “group boards,” teams of employees that would meet regularly and behave the way a board of investors would for a young startup. Ries explained in his latest book, “The Startup Way,” what these group board meetings entail and why they are now important elements of companies like GE, Citibank, and Dropbox.

It’s like creating a mini venture capital firm within the company

Ries wrote that the idea of a growth board is a simple concept: “In a startup, the board generally hears from company founders. An internal growth board in a bigger organization creates a single point of accountability for teams that are operating as startups.”

A group board has three responsibilities: Ensuring that the “startup” team is held accountable to goals, acting as the mediator between the team and the rest of the company, and to supply “metered funding” by setting restrictions on both time and money for specific projects.

Ries worked with David Kidder, CEO of the management consulting firm Bionic, to implement growth boards at GE. Kidder told Ries that the ideal growth board should comprise six Read More Here