In order to ensure economic sustainability in the market, enterprises implement strategic innovations. As researchers note, entrepreneurs play a vital role in economic development (Phillips et al., 2015). An entrepreneur’s innovative activity is a type of work that consists of the development, implementation, and use of a new method or program. This is a whole process that includes searching for new ideas, developing a project, creating a business plan, launching a project, managing it, and promoting a new product or service. Innovation is also the introduction of new forms of business, as well as new financial instruments. Successful innovation improves performance and creates higher profits because the efficiency of the enterprise increases. For instance, financial costs can decrease while incomes can grow. Another possible benefit that can be a result of innovation is the increase in demand, because new or additional goods or services appear, which attracts new clients. New programs can attract new employees as well, which fills the staff with educated professionals. For this reason, it can be assumed that a firm that adopts innovation is ahead of its competitors and becomes the market leader.
There is no doubt that not every innovation can bring positive outcomes. Some researchers agree on the fact that implementing new programs is connected with taking higher risks (Morris, 2015). An important role, in this case, is played by the assessment of innovation risk and ways of responding to it. It is evident that this particular case is relevant to entrepreneurship because it describes in detail the new program that helps participants to execute their business ideas. The fact that the company focuses on online marketing also helps since “the rapid increase in the number of Internet users allows enterprises of this market to receive a profit” (Drobyazko et al., 2019, p. 6). Since the time of its creation, Adobe has come up with a number of interesting business solutions that have helped it to remain a competitive and successful company.
Application of Concepts
Globalization is destroying geographical boundaries and barriers between markets that previously held back business development. For this reason, the ability of companies to create while using fresh ideas from employees, partners, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders is no longer just a fashion statement. In fact, innovations are becoming the main driving force behind business development, increasing their efficiency and value. Among other factors, financial support is an important prerequisite for the development of innovative activities. Some managers see innovation as the most important way to accelerate company changes, allowing them to keep up with the changing economy and business environment (Lee et al., 2016). Leading strategy experts are moving beyond traditional product categories to be the first to propose innovation in business process organization, distribution, value chain, business models, and even specific management areas.
There are many hardships that can get in the way of the implementation of new entrepreneurial ideas. This Kickbox program allows the participants to seize the opportunity to make their business prosperous. The idea behind Kickbox is simple, creative, and proactive people at Adobe can be annoyed by all kinds of bureaucracy that prevent the next product from bringing profit. By distributing red Kickboxes to employees, the company provides an equal opportunity for everyone to create a product and test it for effectiveness. Therefore, the program suggests that in the case where the employees prove that their idea will bring positive results, they can count on receiving serious investments from senior management.
These red boxes are useful tools for stimulating the creative process. Before implementing it, Mark Randall tried to figure out what is holding the employees back from coming up with more interesting ideas that could change the company. The most popular answers included the lack of funding, bureaucracy, and the need to explain on paper what experiment each penny was spent on. This fact allows one to conclude that there are people in need of help in order to apply their business proposals. Support for innovative entrepreneurship should help the participants to overcome the financial and organizational barriers of the organization. According to the study, participants were encouraged to “utilize the tools within the red box to accumulate information, refine their plans and move as quickly as possible to create a mockup or prototype” (Dann, 2015, p. 7). In other words, it can help them realize their wildest entrepreneurial ambitions.
Raising funds for a project is an important task for every entrepreneur in opening a new business. The study by Davari and Farokhmanesh (2017) notes that “many small businesses and entrepreneurs need more financial and non-financial supports in early stages to avoid bankruptcy” (p. 437). Yadav and Goyal (2015) support this statement that entrepreneurs “often face a resource void for commercializing their innovations, and we find that external factors can play an enabling role in filling this void” (p. 5). From this factor, one can come to an obvious benefit of the Kickbox program as it provides an opportunity to collect and invest money in a start-up project.
The next considerable advantage of this program is that the creative flow can bring new ways to deal with the crisis. This year demonstrated the demand for new solutions in times of the pandemic, which have brought a number of difficulties for a variety of businesses. However, a crisis can provide an opportunity to implement ideas that have been postponed for a long time. For example, an organization can start to implement innovations in sales and customer service, as well as actively experiment with marketing tools. The Kickbox project provides employees with the opportunity to attempt their own business research, test ideas, and create scenarios in which their concepts can be used.
However, there is one considerable disadvantage of this program that should be taken into account. The quality of entrepreneurs and innovative activity should meet “the interest of program stakeholders, audiences, and governments” (Maritz & Donovan, 2015, p. 74). Therefore, not every project or entrepreneurial idea can get the same amount of tools and support. Another disadvantage is that participants have to invest a substantial amount of time and effort to explore their ideas. It came to the point that Randall was seriously considering changing the program. Nevertheless, this factor can hardly be considered a disadvantage since a thorough study of new ideas and projects will allow entrepreneurs to investigate them and create a variety of ways to implement them. Moreover, a complete examination of the idea can help businessmen to reduce the risk of possible mistakes in the future.
Elements of the Program
Employees can attend an additional two-day course that will provide them with useful new skills related to customer service and engagement measurement. Then they get a red box, which included instructions explaining when and how to use the contents. In addition, it contains a ballpoint pen, two packs of stickers, a timer, a notebook for ideas, a chocolate bar, and a $10 Starbucks gift card. Most importantly, the box contains $1,000 in innovation funds that employees can spend without having to report expenses to their boss. The box contains everything a starting entrepreneur might need. The main idea behind this initiative is that Randall believes that people can surpass any expectations in the case where they are supported and trusted. Therefore, employees are allowed to be the general directors of their ideas and monetize them.
Another substantial feature of Kickbox is its motivational value. Aside from allowing independence, free thinking, and financial support, it also provides a stimulus to pursue ideas. The process is entirely self-controlled; however, the contents of the box also include checklists. They help employees to advance further in the development of their products. The motivational value is in the fact that after completing all levels, the innovator receives another reward. It includes a blue box that helps to move forward on the journey of creating a new business concept. Therefore, employees are driven to continue thinking, which improves the innovative entrepreneurial environment in the company.
Another vital feature of any innovation in organizational management is also the dependence of the result of their implementation on the qualities of the leader. The ability to organize and support the entire process from the beginning to the end of implementation has a significant impact on the outcome of the program. The fact that the Kickbox program removed the requirement to report expenses may create negative results in the case when the employee decides to use the financial support in another way.
While having trust in employees seems like a good way to build a connection between the boss and the worker, sometimes it can be exploited. For this reason, it would be useful to add a simple report system in order to ensure that the money is spent on business projects. In this way, there would be no doubt that the organizational capabilities of Adobe Systems are sufficient. In addition, it is worth mentioning that despite the fact that many application and product suggestions were born from the Kickbox program, no projects were created officially by Adobe. Many ideas were approved by the company but were not popular among the customers. A variety of creative and new concepts have not gone viral, as was expected. One of the participants mentioned that “finding the supply of creatives did not prove too much of a challenge, but it was harder to find enough demand with the consumers” (Dann, 2020, p. 9). This factor means that while supporting a creative flow of ideas seems like a brilliant idea for the company’s development, it would be difficult to choose one project, among others. In addition, aside from getting Adobe’s permission, it is vital to attract potential customers, which can be more difficult. The fact that no projects from the Kickbox program received further recognition and funds means that its effectiveness is yet to be proven. The reason for that is the amount of money the organization invests in providing these boxes to innovators. Therefore, it is doubtful if the Kickbox project paid off.
In this day and age, many business owners understand that start-ups are important to the economy and job market. Mark Randall believes that trusting people is the key to innovations; that is why he created this program in order to help his employees with this matter. In conclusion, it would appear that this program is undoubtedly innovative. However, it would be difficult to determine whether it was successful until Adobe begins to create commercially successful products from the ideas of Kickbox participants. Currently, the issues of controlling the funds and choosing the best projects remain relevant for managers and creators of this program. Until then, the organizational capabilities of Adobe still need further work. Fortunately, both Randall and Wadhwani are considering making changes, despite being pleased with the initial results.
Nevertheless, it is evident that the creators of the Kickbox project managed to create a good opportunity for their employees to experiment with their projects. It improves the innovative entrepreneurial environment in the company and enhances the flow of ideas, which is essential for the company that wants to stay afloat in the market. Information technologies and artificial intelligence will soon critically change the economy and the world. Nowadays, it turns out that those companies that support start-ups and provide financial investments are laying the foundations for a new economy. The fact that Mark Randall decided to implement this support project demonstrates that the organization understands the apparent need for new ideas. Even though the Kickbox project still needs improvement, it provided the substantial groundwork for innovation.
Dann, J. B. (2015) “Kickboxing” at Adobe Systems. Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies.
Davari, A., & Farokhmanesh, T. (2017). Impact of entrepreneurship policies on opportunity to startup. Management Science Letters, 7(9), 431-438.
Drobyazko, S., Hryhoruk, I., Pavlova, H., Volchanska, L., & Sergiychuk, S. (2019). Entrepreneurship innovation model for telecommunications enterprises. Journal of Entrepreneurship Education, 22(2), 1-6.
Lee, C., Hallak, R., & Sardeshmukh, S. R. (2016). Innovation, entrepreneurship, and restaurant performance: A higher-order structural model. Tourism Management, 53, 215-228.
Maritz, A., & Donovan, J. (2015). Entrepreneurship and innovation. Education Training.
Morris, M. H. (2015). Entrepreneurial intensity. Wiley Encyclopedia of Management, 1-5.
Phillips, W., Lee, H., Ghobadian, A., O’Regan, N., & James, P. (2015). Social innovation and social entrepreneurship: A systematic review. Group & Organization Management, 40(3), 428-461.
Yadav, V., & Goyal, P. (2015). User innovation and entrepreneurship: Case studies from rural India. Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 4(1), 5.