Telefónica: A Lean Elephant?

Telefónica can't behave like a lean startup but it can be a 'lean elephant,' believes the telco's CEO of Communications Services and Product Innovation, Ian Small.

Michelle Donegan, Contributing Editor, Light Reading

February 10, 2015

1 Min Read
Telefónica: A Lean Elephant?

Can big telcos really innovate? Ian Small thinks so. He's CEO of Communications Services and Product Innovation at Telefónica and his job is all about innovation.

Although Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF) undertook a corporate restructuring process nearly one year ago, which resulted in the carrier's Digital operation ceasing to exist as an autonomous operation independent company and instead becoming part of a new centralized digital services unit under the leadership of Chief Commercial Digital Officer Eduardo Navarro, it appears that the innovative, disruptive and downright un-telco-like spirit that characterized Telefónica Digital is still alive and well in some parts of the Spanish giant. (See Telefónica Walks the Digital Tightrope, Telefónica: A New Breed of Telco, Telefónica: Digital Dreamer? and Telefónica Digital Plays By Its Own Rules .)

In an interview with Light Reading, Small explained how a company the size the Telefónica can innovate and what he is doing to in his Communications Services unit to create new disruptive services.

That involves being realistic, though: A company the size of Telefónica can't behave like a "lean startup" -- instead, he says, it needs to become a "lean elephant," which is what can be developed when you "apply [startup methodologies] inside a company the size of Telefónica," adds Small, who is not "a telco guy."

For more on Small's views on lean elephants, inventing the future and how communications services are evolving, see our Prime Reading feature, Disrupting Telefónica in a Small Way.

— Michelle Donegan, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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About the Author(s)

Michelle Donegan

Contributing Editor, Light Reading

Michelle Donegan is an independent technology writer who has covered the communications industry on both sides of the Pond for the past twenty years.

Her career began in Chicago in 1993 when Telephony magazine launched an international title, aptly named Global Telephony. Since then, she has upped sticks (as they say) to the UK and has written for various publications, including Communications Week International, Total Telecom, Light Reading, Telecom Titans and more.

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