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Smells Like Teen Spirit: Innovate During Puberty

The Internet has matured, and companies who were once start-up darlings in the late nineties are now stuck in a proverbial awkward phase. Like angsty teens grappling with the unwanted effects of adolescence, Internet companies in their teen years deal with their own unique set of challenges: balance sheets, run rate and payroll. And their parents (investors and shareholders) have no tolerance for that same pie in the sky thinking that earned them kudos as a charming and precocious toddler.
Keeping innovation alive during this phase in a company’s lifecycle can be especially challenging. At 17 years old,, is in the throes of its teen years and VP of Product, Susan Morrow has employed some out-of-the-box strategies to keep innovation front and center.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. How do you break out of your brooding teen mindset and instill the kind of behavioral change necessary for innovation?
  2. Why is it important to reconnect with the “Why” of what your company does – not the "How" or the "What?"
  3. How do you get executive buy-in to do something bold?
  4. What are tactics NOT to do if you want to shake things up?
  5. What are the competitive advantages of no longer being a start-up?



Heather Sundell, Creative and Editorial Director, Dotted Line Communications

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