Good morning! It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to speak with you today. I am very excited to be back in India. We have been here since 2005 and it has been a rewarding experience.We believe there is great opportunity for Intuit to help people and businesses here improve their financial lives. More than that, we believe India can help Intuit. We have learned a tremendous amount from the hundreds of new employees we have brought into the Intuit family. It is exciting to be part of such a dynamic market. It is full of both promise and challenges. It forces us to rise to the occasion and push ourselves in new ways. All of us here today, whether we come from a global company or a start up, share that same excitement.How we as a company have learned to adjust and grow as markets changes is what I would like to speak with you about today.
The only constant is change.The players are constantly changing as investors bidup new firms and business models to levels reminiscent of the last dot-com boom…There is a proliferation of new devices… 350,000 new Android devices being launched every day…people are standing in line to purchase new tablet computers as if it were a rock concert.Emerging markets hatching tools and technologies at an increasing rate. Nowhere do we see more evidence of this rate of change than here in India: By 2015, the wireless subscriber base in India is expected to be 1.486 bn.Mobile penetration is expected to touch 100% by 2015. With mobile internet usage witnessing a 15% growth quarter on quarter, it will truly be a mobile age. The pace of change we are experiencing is not evolutionary…. it is revolutionary.
And through it all, there is one certainty…As players on this stage, you will have to navigate this transformational growth. Whether you are leading a company, a division or a small start-up, you will need to develop strategies that embrace and take advantage of a changing world. Some of you may have it easy at first. You will start companies or join ventures that will be born in this digital age.But if history is a predictor, the platform you choose to bet on will become obsolete or evolve before you know it. You’ll quickly come to appreciate the joke that resonates in Silicon Valley:How was it that God was able to create the world in 7 days and 7 nights?Because he didn’t have an installed base or legacy technology to worry about.So the question is, how do you lead transformational change, and help an organization define it’s next phase of great?
At Intuit, we have lived the reality of change first hand. And in my talk today, I’ll use our story to help illustrate the lessons we’ve learned along the way.You see, in the Valley, we are one of the older kids on the block. We share a campus with Google, and before them, we shared it with Sun Microsystems, and before them, Silicon Graphics (or SGI).During the past 28 years, we’ve had to evolve our business through some pretty profound shifts in business and technology DOS to Windows From the desktop to the Web And now we’re being challenged once again to stay relevant and win in a changing worldTo set the context, I’ll spend the first few minutes sharing our story of transformation from a desktop giant to a connected services leader…But I’ll invest the majority of our time sharing what we’ve learned along the way that will hopefully help you as you embark on your own journeys as well.
Intuit got started in 1983. We were on the cutting edge… and yes – that’s what cutting edge looked like 28 years ago..Scott Cook, our founder, sat at his kitchen table and watched his wife curse as she paid their bills and balanced their checkbook. And he thought: there must be a better way. Quicken personal finance software appeared on the market – and despite enjoying 47th mover advantage – quickly became the #1 product on the market.From Quicken, we soon found that small businesses, in need of a simple way to manage their books, were adopting Quicken and that gave birth to QuickBooks used by millions of small businesses today.We then expanded into areas like tax preparation with products like TurboTax.All along the way, staying true to the original mission Scott founded the company on… to improve people’s financial lives.
Well the story is far from over, but I’ll share the lessons I’ve learned along the way and package it under the banner of “leading innovation and growth in a changing world”. You can consider this a story of what I have learned from the front lines, and so far have lived to tell about it.The gift for you comes in the form of a quote from a famous American writer named Mark Twain: “a wise man learns from his own mistakes, but a genius learns from others”…I encourage you to be a genius and learn from my mistakes, so you can avoid repeating the same mistakes, and can instead go forth and make new ones!
But then, all else was open to questioning.And what quickly became apparent to me was to lead innovation and growth in a changing world, there were 3 questions as leaders we all must tackle:First, how do you align & mobilize your team around a new vision?Second, how do you build a culture where innovation thrives?And third, how do youplace bets on today vs. tomorrow?I’ll share my perspective on each of these questions, and share some examples of what we learned as a result
So how do you align & mobilize your team around a vision?First it begins by defining what a vision is designed to achieve…In my simplistic view…If a mission defines why you exist as a company…why you wake up every morning…Then a vision defines what it will look like when you achieve success…your end state
It is critical to define a vision that inspires action, and is so motivating that it serves as a cause greater than any one individual can achieve alone…Let me share an illustrative example of the power I saw in a clear vision by observing a middle school soccer practice…Tell the story of Devon’s soccer practice…So as a leader, how do you formulate your vision?
Well, there is no one right answer, but for me, here’s what has worked so far.Begin by listening...In my first 100 days as CEO, despite having been in the company for 5 years, and having led our 3 major business… I went on what I called a listening tour.I talked with our employees, our top investors, our customers, our industry peers, and our board of directors… I asked them three questions:What are Intuit’s greatest underleveraged opportunities?What are the greatest risks or challenges that Intuit faces?What is the one thing I could do to screw it all up in my first year as CEO?What I heardwas invaluable. It helped me understand current views about our company and crystallize themes that emerged. It also showed our key stakeholders that I believed our future as a company needed to be built with their input in mind.
Upon completing the listening tour, we also engaged the Institute for the Future, a think tank that works with Fortune 500 companies as well as the government.They helped us look ahead to the future and then map back to the present…They had a completely different perspective because they were looking from the outside-in and saw the world differently than we did internally.Together, these sets of inputshelp me formulate a vision for the company…But along the way, I also learned another important lesson…the importance of communicating it in a way that all could remember.
It was once said of JFK that he was more than a great communicator…he was a translator of dreams. In May of 1961, he called for a nation to commit to the goal of landing a man on the moon and bringing him safely back to earth before the decade was out.An inspiring message for an inspiring mission. A single idea that motivated a nation to a decade of work.People want to be a part of something much greater than themselves…and it is our challenge as leaders to help define that vision.
While I would never claim to be JFK, I did borrow from his techniques…And in 2008 as we celebrated our 25th anniversary in a company-wide broadcast:I talked about our wonderful story of successes. I shared the insights from my listening tour. And I set the burning platform that we would need to make changes if we wanted the next 25 years to be as bright as the last.We called it the next phase of great.And it included a one page game plan to win. You could boil it down simply to:The fact that we were committing from that day forward to Connected servicesAnd that we would embrace three major trends…social, mobile and globalIt became a mantra. It was easy to remember and repeat in every meeting you were in. And it became our vision that everyone could understand.
So to summarize the lessons we learned in mobilizing and aligning a company around a new vision…It begins with choosing an angle in the wind… picking a spot on the horizon, and through discovery-driven planning, making adjustments to get there.Listening to key stakeholders, as well as getting an outside-in perspective…including other’s in the shaping of that vision.Then boil it down to something memorable…make sure that your vision is easy to recite and crystal clear to every member of your team.
Which takes me to the second question we must tackle as leaders:How do you build a culture where innovation thrives?Not many companies benefit from having a genius at the helm … in fact to paraphrase Warren Buffet…He once said that he invests in great businesses that monkeys could run, because if you wait long enough, eventually one will.So how do you create a structure where change thrives, and innovation is becomes the key to growth?
It begins with coming to terms with the role of a leader in this process The truth about leadership, as Peter Drucker once said, is that the bottleneck is always at the top of the bottle.So the important lesson to learn as a leader is that we lead, not with the answers that we give…But by the questions that we ask…
We set up an environment where everyone’s job is to practice innovation.To do this, we defined 3 guiding principles…Teams no bigger than two pizzas can feed.Moving from idea to rough prototype in front of customers in 6 weeks or less…Pepsi endcap/display anecdote.And celebrating failure as a necessary pathway to success.
One of the best examples of this customer-driven strategy comes from right here in India. We wanted to find a way of helping farmers in India improve their financial lives. Our premise was that since mobile phones were so widely in use, that the phone could be a way to deliver solutions. Step one was understanding the customer. That meant over 300 follow me homes to people on their farms across multiple states. We went to their homes – drank their tea, met their families. We saw how they packaged their produce to market. We then went to the markets and saw how they sell their produce, how they got paid, met the buyers, and watched the auctions. Once we had immersed ourselves in our customers’ lives and understood their pain points, we got to work coming up with a solution to their issues. The result is a service called Fasal. It is a network based on SMS technology that links farmers with multiple buyers. Provides real time and reliable market prices. Allows buyers to communicate their demand and price. Matches sellers to buyers. Increases the seller’s access to the best prices. The results speak for themselves: Famers now have control over where to sell their crops and how to get the best price. 90 percent of the 450,000 farmers using Fasal report making 20 percent more for their produce. We’ve truly revolutionized farmers’ lives. They are getting more money because of our solution and are telling others about it.
Another way we’re looking for ideas, is by creating platforms that empower third party partners to develop innovative new solutions. We are seeing that approach flourishing right now with our txtWeb platform here in India. txtWeb is a global platform where anyone with a mobile phone can discover and consume internet AND txtWeb-only content just by SMSing keywords to ONE national number, and receive back content. All you need to access it is a simple feature phone. Whether you are a student who is looking for a job or a famer wanting to know the weather forecast, the answers are at your fingertips. The beauty of it is that content and services on txtWeb are created by an open community of publishers and developers, and can include Wikipedia content, local market prices, government programs, financial literacy tips etc. Anyone can put their content and services on txtWeb and make it accessible to billions. Creating a txtSite takes 5 minutes. Creating a txtApp takes 5 hours. And right now the ideas are bubbling up through the platform. 1000 + individuals & organizations have put their services on txtWeb, over1000apps are currently live, and more are getting added each day.
To summarize this section, there are three key ingredients we have learned to building a culture where innovation thrives:Remember that change leadership is more rooted in the questions you ask, rather than the answers you have…But to make it work, you need to establish an environment where employees can be free to experiment and test their best ideas to see what works…And you also need to seek inspiration from outside your walls as well…”as Picasso once said, good artists copy, great artists steal”
Which brings me to my third and final section…perhaps the hardest section of all for leaders.How do you place bets on today vs. tomorrow?Said another way, how do you allocate your precious few resources to build a strong today, and an even stronger tomorrow?Especially when you are dealing with installed users, aging technology and new competitors emerging on fresh technology stacks?
Well, it first begins by putting your wood behind fewer arrows.Said another way, choosing what you won’t focus on up front.Steve Jobs was often quoted as sharing that he was as proud of the things that Apple hadn’t done as the things they had.Once he was asked what his favorite product was and he shared that it was all the ones they hadn’t built for those are the ones that made it possible to focus on the ones they did and allow them to make them great.So how do you best make those tricky calls? Let me share what we practice in terms of allocating our resources.
First, it begins with understanding the types of resources we have as leaders…TimePeopleMoneyThe only one you can’t get more of is time, so guard it most of all.Which means as a leader, it is often more important to decide what you are not going to do.
We practice something called horizon planning …or what our employees call “crop rotation”. Horizon planning is about managing your offerings & investments in stages. It is based on the Geoffrey Moore’s Horizons HBS article, but we made some adjustments that made sense for us.Here’s how we look at horizon planning:Horizon 1 are your core growth engines. Horizon 2 are your emerging offerings or businesses. Horizon 3 are new, viable options for growth.Why is it important?Resource allocation trade-offs are consciously made across horizons … at Intuit, we allocate 60/30/10It helps your organization understand the resource allocation decisions.
Then you need to allocate the right people to each horizon initiative…H1’s are like rowing crews…H2’s are like white water rafting…H3’s are like diving for sunken treasureYou need to pick people who like those kinds of challengesOnce your model is in place, you have to be clear on how you’ll measure success for each horizon…
For horizon 1, we look to ensure that we are growing the business profitably…we don’t believe is cash cows.For horizon 2, our goal is to prove the business model….ensuring that we can scaleFor horizon 3, our goal is to prove the user concept…the love metrics.
So when it comes to placing our betson today vs. tomorrow…we view it as an “and” and not an “or”:We first define our resources as time, people, dollars.We employee horizon planning, or crop rotation to manage offerings & investments in stages. And we measure each horizon by it’s own set of outcome metrics.
So let me close by saying that we certainly don’t have all of the answers…and in fact, many that we believe we do have have been borrowed by the best wheel-makers elsewhere…he who steals from us, steals twice!But I will say that it is helping Intuit once again lead innovation and growth in a changing world.Aligning & mobilizing our team around a vision.Building a culture where innovation thrives.And enabling us to place bets on today and tomorrow.All in a world ripe with an installed base and legacy technology…
It is an exciting, dynamic time to be here in India. The changes taking place will force all of us, both big and small, to rise to the challenges of today and tomorrow. I cannot even imagine the change that we will see during our careers. The wildest dreams of today will be the norms of tomorrow. But I do know that these principles I outlined can help guide you as you navigate the constant challenge of change. THANK YOU!
Leading Innovation and Growth in a Rapidly Changing World by Brad Smith(Intuit) at NASSCOM Product conclave
the only constant is change
There is one certainty:You will have to lead transformational change
Our Mission: improve people’s financial lives Improving Help families put up to ~ 50M Lives Help small businesses be 20% more profitable… $1,000 back in their Customers revenues ~20% pockets… $550M in of U.S. GDP, pay 1 in 12consumer savings identified American workers to date Help people get the maximum tax Improve FI profit per Help accountants be refund…$50B in tax customer by 20%… 20% more productive refunds, IB customers equal to today… Serve half of all 1 out of every 3 the 5th largest U.S. bank accounting firms tax returns e-filed
Today’s topicLeading innovation &growth in a rapidly changing world
Jyoti, Student, Guwahati,Assam Needs career information,education servicesRamesh Kumar, Hospital Employee,Jaipur, Rajasthan Needs bus schedule, local newsNageshwara, Farmer,Andhra Pradesh Needs weather, news, market prices for crops
SUMMARY –Build a culture where innovation thrives• Questions you ask…not answers you give• Foster an entrepreneurial environment• Enable ideas to come from anywhere and set up processes to empower innovators
QUESTION #3How do you place betson today vs. tomorrow?
"Im actually as proud of many of the things we havent done asthe things we have done.”