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Home > “We’re going to think big, start small, and scale fast” – Experiential capital and the PGA

“We’re going to think big, start small, and scale fast” – Experiential capital and the PGA

Here’s a video clip from my opening keynote for the 94th Annual General Meeting of the PGA of America, in which I talk about the necessity of “thinking big, starting small, and scaling fast,” and of the importance of the concept of experiential capital as a foundation for innovation.


I’ve written and spoken about the concept of experiential capital quite a bit through the years – I think in a fast paced economy its one of the most important innovation strategies
that we can undertake.

One particularly good post which can help you get thinking about this concept is “Understanding 21st century capital: Why it’s not just financial capital anymore“, in which I wrote”

Experiential Capital. In a world in which Apple generates 60% of its revenue from products that didn’t exist four years ago, it’s critically important that an organization constantly enhance the skill, capabilities and insight of their people. They do this by constantly working on projects that might have an uncertain return and payback – but which will provide in-depth experience and insight into change. It’s by understanding change that opportunity is defined, and that’s what experiential capital happens to be. In the future, it will be one of the most important assets you can possess.

I also write about the idea in my book Ready, Set, Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast, where I made this observation:

“Innovation comes from risk, and risk comes from experience. The most important asset today isn’t found on your balance sheet – it is found in the accumulated wisdom from the many risks that you’ve taken. The more experiential capital you have, the more you’ll succeed.”

I close with the observation: “Investing in experiential capital is one of the most important things you can do.”

When people ask me about the “secrets” of innovative organizations, this is one of the key attributes I outline. They realize they are immersed in a world of fast-paced ideas — and they take on many different projects, some of which are doomed to fail, in order to build the overall experience of the organization.

Which begs the question: how many experiential oriented projects do you have underway that involves new technological platforms, social network and branding or marketing projects; business model innovation or any other number of ideas?

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