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Building stage-relevant teams for your next venture

Stage-relevance is a central component of the U+ venture-building method. In this article, we define the concept and explain what it means for successful innovation.

Building stage-relevant teams for your next venture

In 2006, Microsoft invested significant resources into the development and launch of the Zune music player. Despite its dominance in software, the tech giant was insufficiently prepared for the challenges this new product would meet in the rather different consumer electronics market. Worse still, the company lacked lean, flexible, stage-relevant teams capable of responding creatively and effectively to these challenges. As a result, the Zune failed to resonate with consumers whose preferences were changing along with an ever-evolving digital music landscape.

Let’s take a look at stage-relevant teams in more detail, and explore how they can make or break a product in the market.

What are stage-relevant teams?

Stage-relevant teams are groups of experienced innovators who possess the right mindset, skills, and expertise necessary for a specific stage of a venture's development and entry into the market. These teams have a deep understanding of the particular challenges, requirements, and opportunities associated with each step of the innovation process.

Stage-relevant teams possess what we call “startup DNA”. They prioritize learning, curiosity, and a growth mindset, enabling them to adapt quickly and effectively in a rapidly changing environment.

We can think of stage-relevant teams as expert mountain guides on a treacherous climb. They possess the knowledge, experience, and instincts to navigate the different stages of the journey. They know which tools to deploy when facing steep climbs and perilous leaps. Using these resources, they can help you reach the peak of mountains that have never been climbed before.

Just as guides ensure the safety and success of climbers, stage-relevant teams navigate the journey, mitigate risks, and protect the core business or brand, while remaining open to new pathways to success.

In the words of U+ Managing Partner Sean Sheppard: “Stage-relevant teams can help unlock accelerated and cost-effective innovation while ensuring minimal disruption to the core business. To achieve this, teams need to embrace a growth mindset, embody a “learn-it-all” (rather than a “know-it-all”) attitude, and understand that success is often a by-product of continuous learning and curiosity.”

How to cultivate a stage-relevant team

To design your organization for successful innovation, you should start by placing the right people in the right roles. This can be easier said than done. The central aim, however, is to prioritize team members with a talent for understanding customer problems at specific stages in the innovation lifecycle. A stage-relevant thinker continuously asks questions like:

  • What customer needs and pain points might we be overlooking?
  • What threats and opportunities exist at this point in the process?
  • What are customers willing to pay for?

Based on their answers to these questions, experienced stage-relevant teams will test, iterate, and make informed decisions on whether to pivot, proceed, or stop altogether.

Leaders can play a crucial role in cultivating an environment that supports stage-relevant teams. One key aspect is providing open access to the organization's ecosystem, enabling these teams to leverage the right partners for learning and expanding their knowledge. Additionally, leaders should remain vigilant to weaknesses within the organization, and be ready to take action if silos and communication breakdowns occur.

How the U+ method can help you design effective stage-relevant teams

The U+ Method can efficiently and effectively lead the development, implementation, and improvement of innovations in any sector. To date, we have used this method to bring 100+ products to market, creating over $2 billion in value for Fortune 1000 companies. Check out U+ success stories here.

Don't miss the opportunity to boost your innovation strategy 100x and unlock the full potential of your next venture. Learn more about this game-changing platform, and book a demo here.