Elijah Eilert speaks to Tristan Kromer about the pitfalls of early-stage predictions in startups and corporate innovation initiatives, and how to drastically improve them.
“It’s ok to ask innovators how a business is going to make money and how much. The problem is the way we traditionally expect them to produce the answer. The way we frame it can’t be answered effectively”
An emerging concept, enabling effective Innovation accounting, is to express variables as a range of likelihood not as single numbers. Subsequently, the outcome of the financial or mission impact model can be expressed as a range of likelihood rather than a wildly optimistic estimation of a single number. This enables innovators to quantify the uncertainty of each variable and the entire project. The innovation team’s job is to gather new insights and reduce uncertainty. Innovation accounting enables them to feed this back into the model by changing the estimated ranges and quantify what they have learned. By narrowing down the ranges based on a new insight teams gain the ability to demonstrate progress in a quantifiable way even before a product is launched.
As the founder of Kromatic, Tristan works with innovation teams and leaders to create amazing products and build innovation ecosystems.
Tristan has worked with more than 30 technology accelerator programs, including government-funded initiatives such as Innovation Norway, Vinnova (Sweden), Enterprise Ireland, NEST’up (Belgium), StartSmart (Estonia), and the Innovation Partnership Program (Vietnam-Finland). He has designed lean startup programs such as the Build or Die Bootcamp for TechBA (Mexico) and the Boom Reactor (Belgium) in addition to being part of Luxr, whose Core Curriculum has been used by 13 accelerators internationally, including Singularity University, 500 Startups, & The United States Innovation Fellows.
He has worked with companies ranging from early stage startups with zero revenue to established businesses with >$10M USD revenue (Kiva, Cancer Research U.K., TES) to enterprise companies with >$50B USD revenue (Unilever, Swisscom, Salesforce, Fujitsu, LinkedIn).
Tristan regularly speaks, appears on panels, and gives workshops internationally with organizations such as the Stanford Center for Entrepreneurial Studies & D-school, Global Product Management Talks, Lean Startup Machine, General Electric (GE), and more.
With his remaining hours, Tristan volunteers his time with early stage startups.
Originally from New York City, he has lived in Germany, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Vietnam, and currently resides in San Francisco, USA.