team-965093_1280A November/December Chief Executive magazine article identified an increasing trend of large companies acquiring small companies as a means of renewing growth. The “new approach” increases large companies’ exposure to new products, technologies, people and creativity. The idea reportedly is to compress the amount of time required to find and develop worthy new ideas and introduce them to the market.

The¬†acquisition of smaller, newer companies by larger, older companies has been happening for some time, so I’m not convinced this is a new trend. A more important trend would be the decision by large companies that they were going to for the most part develop the capabilities of their current staffs to develop worthy new ideas that customers would value. Think 3M as a relevant example.

Bulk thinking assumes needed capabilities are simply resources that can be bought. Lean thinking sees the development of people as the path to building capabilities that provide greater customer value.