Elijah Eilert has a vision. His purpose is clear – build innovation governance structures to support effective innovation ecosystems that deliver and reward fairly.
Through his experience calling out poor workplace behaviour, Elijah has shown through word and action that he stands wholeheartedly behind his values.
Elijah’s passion for a new approach to managing innovation grew from the difficulties encountered in applying traditional business planning and project management to the first Startup he co-founded in China in 2007. Eric Ries’s book The Lean Startup made Elijah an early adopter of the method and its underlying principles.
His deep passion for changing systems within large organisations, started when Elijah was part of the core team that drove the creation of Council X.0 – an award-winning initiative driving digital transformation in Germany. The initiative drew together innovative forces from Microsoft Germany to medium-size software companies, public servants working for innovative councils to state and federal government through to large research organisations like Fraunhofer Society.
So, what is stopping real innovation and transformation? Many boards are worried about the flow of investment capital away from current revenue streams. Rightly, they ask how will this affect the bottom line? Can they afford to divert budgets away from the things that are making the $$ right now? Corporate business models are eroding faster than ever. According to this Innosight report, companies that have been in the S&P Fortune 500 in 1964 could expect to be there for about 33 years on average. This number is constantly shrinking and might be as low as 12 years by 2027. Continuously improving existing business models won’t be able to stop that trend. So the question is, can companies can afford not to invest in innovation?
Innovation consultants promise success. “We don’t – it’s not possible. We assist organisations to increase the likelihood of success,” says Elijah.
This cuts to the very heart of why Elijah Eilert exists. Hardened and humbled in the unforgiving fires of start-up hell he experienced the personal suffering of not one but two failed start-ups in his early career before finding success and purpose.
In the intervening years of working for others internationally Elijah’s sense of fairness, social justice and equity were sorely tested. Too often he experienced poor managers abusing buzzwords and methods to advance their careers while walking all over colleagues and the resources they were trusted with. This offends Elijah.
Today Elijah’s vision encompasses making innovation truly manageable, he describes achieving this as the biggest management challenge of the 21st century. With relish he describes it as a juicy problem:
“Shareholders suffer if we cannot get this right. It’s a matter of social justice. I have no time, no time at all for businesses and startups lying to investors, or for investors trying to con innovators” says Elijah.
His aim is to create governance systems and better accountability to enable optimum decision making, open communication and transparency, resulting in greater efficiency whilst eliminating ego and abusive, toxic behaviours.
Relying on science and using innovation accounting/lean start-up methodology Elijah builds teams that work well together in a psychologically safe environment. His company, Innovation Metrics, embodies these principles, with a formidable repertoire of tools, techniques and experience. In his own words the meaning of the Zero Abuse Company is:
“Say what you mean. In safety, stand in front of all and say that you disagree with your coworkers. No false confidence, but confidence based on science, evidence and facts. Confidence in a culture that creates long term relationships based on trust”.
A final word from Elijah:
“Let’s spend money wiser, treat people fairly and grow together!”