Fast Company Asks Alpha Software: Why Do Small Teams Make Better Tech Innovators?

Fast Company LogoStartups are often the big innovators these days, and it's not by accident. Fast Company recently asked Alpha Software CEO Richard Rabins to offer his perspective on why small teams and startups often drive the industry’s biggest innovations. In "3 Reasons Why Small Teams Make Better Tech Innovators," Richard draws from his own experiences as a successful CEO, startup founder, tech innovator and leadership council president to outline why small teams tend to innovate faster, and to suggest ways managers at large companies can take steps to foster innovation.

At first glance, small teams and small organizations appear to have an advantage over large companies when it comes to innovation. Richard explains that, while large teams often developer communication and interpersonal issues, small teams tend to give members a feeling of autonomy and shared success. He cites VisiCalc and IBM AS400 as two examples of small teams that accomplished great tech milestones. Richard includes data from a 2014 Gallup poll that offers clear evidence that employees in small organization have an advantage:

"According to Gallup’s 2013 ‘State of the American Workplace’ report, 42% of U.S. employees working at companies of 10 or fewer people felt they were "engaged" at work. That's compared with the 30% of employees at large companies who said the same."

CEO Richard Rabins

CEO Richard Rabins

However, Richard goes on to explain that although small groups have an advantage, managers at large organizations can take steps to encourage innovation by creating small working communities within their teams. He cites Jeff Bezos' "two pizza rule" as an example of a tactic one large company practices to foster small team culture. He also talks about:

    • the importance of picking the right personalities for a small team,

    • why communication across a small team is key to its success,

    • how managers can motivate and reward small teams much more quickly and easily than larger teams.

The article has received quite a bit of attention since it's release, with a large number of LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook shares. We invite you to take a minute to read the article and share your thoughts with Richard on Twitter at @rrabins

To read the full Fast Company article, click here.
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About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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