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It is the best and worst of times for business. Venture-backed tech companies are disrupting the landscape with innovative solutions—and their growth is staggering. In 2013, 39 U.S. companies were valued at more than $1 billion. Today, that number has jumped 115% to 84 companies.

While many startups soar toward success, the enterprise faces ever-growing challenges. According to BPI Network, more than half of long-standing companies face a slew of roadblocks, from management-level politics and a change-resistant mentality, to siloes in operations and failing organizational structures. The need to innovate at the organizational level is paramount.

The key to a business’s bottom line seems to sit within the hearts of employees. A 2015 survey by Great Places to Work found that 89% of employees at IT companies look forward to their work day. What, exactly, are these companies doing differently?


Put your employees front and center. A well-rounded approach involves building a strong vision and culture that’s shared across the organization, encouraging a work-life balance, and helping employees feel connected to the impact they’re making.

Focus relentlessly on innovation. Startups are inherently innovative, and notorious for creating a workplace culture that furthers that trend. And enterprises get it: 79% of enterprise business leaders believe that innovation is helping newer companies gain a competitive edge.  But they still struggle to innovate and remain competitive.

Harvard Business Review suggests that in order to have a truly innovative company, create an innovation benchmark and meet it. Start from the inside out. First, cultivate a like-minded workforce who has a strong, shared definition of what it means to be innovative. Second, employ a comprehensive set of metrics that sets goals for your company’s strategy and measures progress and results. Third, designate trained leaders who can ensure that innovation is never marginalized. Fourth, innovate management processes—from financial to HR—to be more efficient. Your business will run like a well-oiled innovation machine.

Forge a more valuable value chain, starting with the customer. View from your customer’s lens to rethink your business model, and redefine how you can serve your customers. Master the art of the growth hacking. The essence of this out-of-the-box approach is transforming marketing for the modern consumer that spans from product ideation to point-of-sale. You don’t have to be a startup to be a successful growth hacker. It’s a way of thinking.

When the employee is happy, everybody wins—even your business.

Looking for other opportunities to grow your business?

Microsoft developed Dare to Disrupt, a disruption self-assessment tool, that helps today’s leaders identify what areas their organizations can improve to successfully embrace disruptive technologies.

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