007: Hugh Molotsi – How to drive innovation in the workplace


Hugh advises and invests in startups and is an active practitioner and teacher of Lean Startup Methodologies. He recently concluded a 22-year career at Intuit where his last position was Engineering Fellow and Vice President. During his Intuit tenure, he worked on QuickBooks and several other small business offerings. He has been a serial innovator and helped launch several new businesses at Intuit including Intuit Payments. Hugh is passionate about grassroots innovation and “giving voice to good ideas” wherever those ideas may come from.

HOS #007 – Hugh Molotsi Show Notes:

Hugh Worked at Intuit for over 20 years where he last served as an Engineering Fellow and Vice President in addition to running the Intuit Labs Incubator, a role that put him on the front lines of fostering innovation and intrapreneurship. He now works as an advisor and investor in small businesses – advocating for the Lean Startup Methodology – in addition to being an author and starting his own business, Ujama, which seeks to make parenting more joyful through building community.

2:12 – Applying an entrepreneurial mindset within a company and how the best companies foster this culture.

3:31 – A small minority of companies actually are able to effectively value internal innovation because of the divide between senior leadership and frontline employees.

4:40 – Management often living in their own universe, disconnected from day-to-day operations.

5:20 – Story of Jeff Bezos at Amazon working to combat this divide.

6:27 – Entrepreneurial traits can lead to being a poor manager.

6:59 – Advice for entrepreneurs in growing companies to more effectively manage their teams through humility.

 7:54 – What Hugh looks for in companies he’s investing in.

9:24 – Traits in entrepreneurs that Hugh tries to avoid investing in.

10:22 – Balancing introspection with willingness to learn as an entrepreneur.

 11:21 – Fundamental premise of the Lean Startup, MVP.

11:35 – In an MVP, what is minimal? Too little vs. too much.

12:30 – Show investors evidence of how your product will work and be received.

13:10 – Story of Zappos’ MVP.

14:55 – Whether or not to tell customers that you’re in a “beta” mode and how much feedback you need on an MVP for an investor.

16:35 – One customer can possibly validate a model, but it can certainly invalidate many models.

18:42 – When to approach investors for your business.

20:17 – Within a company, when should management pay attention to new ideas? Giving time and freedom to employees to work on their own ideas.

21:19 – Not judging employee ideas, rather encouraging employees to test their ideas and collect evidence.

 22:45 – Pushing your idea within a company vs. trying it on your own in the market. It comes down to risk tolerance.

23:19 – Honing your skills within a company and then using that as a springboard for your own ventures.

24:05 – Main messages from Hugh’s upcoming book, Grassroots Innovation In The Enterprise.

25:17 – Empowering employees to test their ideas leads to better, more skilled employees.

26:15 – Upcoming developments that Hugh is excited about.

27:04 – Overview of Ujama and its mission.

28:10 – Companies with purpose beyond profit.