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Managing the New Venture

Every new project is an infant and infants belong in the nursery.

Innovative efforts, especially those aimed at developing new businesses, products, or services, should normally report directly to the “executive in charge of innovation.” They should never report to line managers charged with responsibility for ongoing operations. Unfortunately, this is a common error.

The new project is an infant and will remain one for the foreseeable future, and infants belong in the nursery. The “adults,” that is, the executives in charge of existing businesses or products, will have neither time nor understanding for the infant project. The best-known practitioners of this approach are three American companies: Procter & Gamble, the soap, detergent, edible oil, and food producer; Johnson & Johnson, the hygiene and health-care supplier; and 3M, a major manufacturer of industrial and consumer products. These three companies differ in the details of practice, but essentially all three have the same policy. They set up the new venture as a separate business from the beginning and put a project manager in charge.

ACTION POINT: Keep infant businesses in the nursery. Separate “infants” from “adults.”

Innovation and Entrepreneurship

* Source: The Daily Drucker by Peter F. Drucker

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