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Why Facebook needed to let go of 13% of their workforce

While the massive layoffs at meta are terrible, it sadly shows one of the major issues that companies struggle with when they try to grow and innovate too quickly …

facebook tried a huge number of innovation projects which failed.

But this was not the problem.

As I read in a wonderful WIRED article:

Remember Libra, Meta’s ambitious plan to enter the cryptocurrency market? Or Lasso, Meta’s ambitious attempt to outdo TikTok? Alongside projects like Shops, Meta’s ambitious plan to turn Instagram and Facebook into e-ommerce giants; its podcast plans; Facebook Portal and a Meta smartwatch to compete with the Apple Watch, they all failed.

In pursuit of becoming the everything platform, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has thrown a lot of stuff at the wall. Precious little of it has stuck, except for the headcount brought to work on these projects.

The problem was not that Meta was trying to innovate and failing at projects.

It was that they were so bad at redistributing the resources they had in order to run these innovation projects.

Most large companies are afraid of projects failing, so they will try to keep them alive as long as possible. This is especially true if an idea is a “pet favourite project” of one of the senior leadership.

Sometimes, these projects stay around far longer than they should, in a sort of undead state when they should have been killed long ago.

These are “Zombie projects”.

But then there are companies which do it even worse.

They have projects which should have been killed, but are sucking up resources, especially people, which could instead be working on newer, different projects.

These are “vampire projects“.

The companies which innovate the most effectively want to get the best work out of their people.

On projects which they are passionate about, and which can actually deliver.

And when it seems like a project might not succeed, these people are excited to get to work on a different, equally innovative project.

This is how you continue to fill your innovation pipeline.

I work with companies to help them achieve this, using an exclusive innovation framework I developed called L.I.V.E. (Lean innovation validation & execution).

It helps companies become better at innovating faster, cheaper, and using the talent of the people they have to the fullest degree.

If this is something you are interested, send me a message and let us discuss.

 

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