Video-Interview with Mark Randall, Serial Entrepreneur

Video-Interview with Mark Randall, Serial Entrepreneur
Mark Randall, Serial Entrepreneur (Photo: Helmuth Fuchs)

By Helmuth Fuchs

Mark Randall, Serial Entrepreneur and former Chief Strategist at Adobe talks in the interview about

  • how he came up with the idea for the Kickbox

«As I started doing it the problem was, I failed completely. I had infinite resources, infinite support from an incredible organization. What I did for myself and my startups did not work in the context of a large organization.»

«So I said, «I am going to change what I do, we are going to change nothing about the company». And then I went very quietly start working directly with customers.»

«After that started working, I was asked to teach other people how to do it.»

«Kickbox is a process. All it is is giving the employees permission, giving them a clear process and fundamentally getting out of their way.»

  • how trends like digitization fit within Kickbox

«A lot of these buzzwords or trends don’t fit within Kickbox. Kickbox is a very simple process, it’s very direct. None of those trends are actually solutions. At best they are enabling technologies.»

  • how to create a Startup-culture within big organizations without disrupting the existing structures

«You don’t. You keep the innovation completely separate. Kickbox is an extra layer. It’s the innovation process that we add to everything else. That gives us innovation that we didn’t know how to ask for.»

«Innovation comes often in the cracks between emerging changes. Disruptive innovation comes when there is combination of a disruptive business model and a disruptive technology, two things combining in unpredictable ways.»

«Try a lot of things very cheaply. In the first year with Kickbox we tried over a thousand product ideas and we got two that worked.»

  • the decision to Open Source Kickbox and make it accessible to everyone for free

«Kickbox was nobody’s job to do, but is was very successful. Companies like Swisscom, Cisco or Mastercard have done amazing things with it, which I have stolen back and integrated in the next Kickbox. It’s a community driven process.«

«The most exiting thing is the number of Non-Profit-Organisations from United Nations to Peace Corps and universities like the ETH that are now using it.»

«Making it free turned out to be a thing I did in self defense to get my time back that worked pretty well by accident.»

  • whether Kickbox changed the way Adobe is innovating on a strategic level

«It’s in itself a strategy to enable innovation, but it doesn’t change the overall strategy. It’s a way of implementing strategy.»

«The interesting thing about driving an innovation process to the grassroots of a large organization is, then a lot of people want to know, what the strategy is. That ends up being a positive forcing function bottom up, instead of the CEO standing up in front of the company saying ‹here is the strategy› «.

  • the next big ideas he is working on after retiring from Adobe

«We are creating now undergraduate programs for younger students and get them before they make the mistakes. The neat thing is, we are making it a minor degree. Because if you major in entrepreneurship, you drop out of school, like I did.»

  • wo wishes he would like to have fulfilled

«It would be great if the people who are managing innovation in large corporations stop trying to manage innovation and realize that it is inherently not manageable.»

«I would like us to teach innovative thinking, creative thinking and design thinking principles in elementary school, because I have seen fourth grade students do amazing things.»

Mark Randall on Linkedin


This interview was conducted with the support of Kickstart Innovation.

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