Whether it was fear or greed, an increasing number of big brands woke up and introduced internal innovation programs in 2015. And, for good reasons: fear that a new startup could launch a disruptive new technology and steal market share, pressure to create new revenue streams — or both. Last year, our Corporate Innovation Services team witnessed a huge influx of interest from the world’s leading corporations to find new ways to innovate. Our recommendation? Do it fast.
Being surrounded by startups on campus is a daily reminder that innovation is happening at breakneck speed. Here are five trends that corporations should take note of when jumpstarting their innovation programs in 2016:
1. Corporate innovation leaders will rise in the org chart
If your organization isn’t already prioritizing innovation, it’s time to put it at the top of the agenda for 2016. Leading global organizations are investing in headcount and delegating increased responsibility to their innovation teams. Just a few years ago, individuals assigned to pilot innovations programs were solely relied on for idea generation (that largely went nowhere). Today, they are taking on senior roles and tasked with major decisions like M&A.
2. Coopetition (especially with startups) will grow
The future of corporate innovation will require a direct connection to the global startup community. Corporations need be on the forefront of the startup world to anticipate trends, drive innovation, embrace new models, and avoid disruption. They must find a way to work with startups, otherwise they stand to lose their business model and customers at an unprecedented pace. In order to do this effectively, corporations must create a fluid and seamless process for capitalizing on insights gained, and fast.
3. Corporates will need to be humble
While a Fortune 500 brand name can open doors, it can’t always win over a startup. The best startups are inundated with inquiries from potential partners and have to filter the valuable opportunities from meetings that will lead nowhere. Startups have no time for distractions, and if corporates want to work with them, it’s imperative to articulate what they bring to the table.
4. Birth of startups within big corporations
In the year ahead, we can expect more corporations to follow in the footsteps of Coca-Cola, GE and MasterCard who have created startup-like spin-off companies to accelerate innovation. Whether the goal is to increase agility, attract young talent or promote entrepreneurial-thinking, this trend highlights critical must-dos for any company looking to avoid disruption.
5. Shift toward talentism
Every day, I see amazing talent showing up to work at a new, budding startup on the RocketSpace campus. Many of them made the leap from large, established corporations. Talentism is the new capitalism and attracting top talent, in a world where independence, autonomy, and creativity are embraced, will be the only way to win.
Final Thought for Now
All this said, please remember: the foundation of any innovation program is the ability to work with speed. Developing a plan for innovation has no value if you don’t execute fast enough to make an impact on your customer base, business and market.
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