The corporate innovation world is booming with interesting developments—much of it happening beneath the surface. We put together a roundup of articles to help innovation professionals stay up-to-date or brush-up on industry knowledge.
1. Want to Do Corporate Innovation Right? Go Inside Google Brain
Source: Harvard Business Review Author: Greg Satell, business consultant
This article explores a range of different approaches that enterprises take with their corporate innovation programs. From startup acquisitions to long-term R&D and corporate accelerators, you'll get a full landscape assessment. Some highlights:
- Some of Google's most popular products, such as Gmail, Google News, and AdSense, originated as 20 percent time projects. In other words, big successes arose from on-the-ground, employee innovation. It's essential that companies create the infrastructure and support system for team members to bring their best ideas forward.
- Google Brain, the tech giant's infrastructure for innovation, arose through iteration. Once upon a time, it was an R&D arm. It morphed into an incubator. Today, it is more analogous to an ecosystem within Google.
- At the center of Google's success with innovation is a close-knit feedback loop where employees can access information and make process improvements.
2. Before You Build an Innovation Lab, Ask Yourself These Questions
Source: VentureBeat Author: Steve Blank, entrepreneurship professor at NYU, UCSF, Columbia Business School, UC Berkeley, Stanford, and more
Large companies are establishing innovation practices in startup hubs like Silicon Valley, with an eye on working with up-and-coming companies in a variety of creative ways through partnerships and acquisitions.
Many companies underestimate the level of resource investment that it takes to build a corporate innovation practice. In this article, renowned entrepreneurship Professor Steve Blank outlines key questions that every corporate must ask about its intrapreneurship plans.
- Where should innovation come from? External relationships or internal initiatives?
- What is the timeline to ROI? How much risk is your company willing to assume?
- How quickly can your company get out of the building to validate the ecosystem?
- What framework can you use to evaluate risk threshold and potential?
3. Why Big Companies Struggle with Innovation
Source: The Next Web Author: George Deeb, managing partner at Red Rocket Ventures
This piece begins with a poignant observation: as companies grow, their appetite for risk tends to shrink. From HR to on-the-ground management, companies invest in keeping employees focused on a clear end goal.
As a result, big companies struggle with innovation. Even if they were once fast-moving startups, they begin to lose speed. Without realizing it, they waste money due to process inefficiencies.
To stay agile, companies need to invest in systems that enable change at a rapid pace. This process takes time and patience. As you continue to discover your own path forward, remember: you're not alone. The corporate world is experimenting their way through new eras of opportunity, together.
4. Innovation Outposts and the Evolution of Corporate R&D
Source: Corporate-innovation.co Author: Evangelos Simoudis, venture advisor to global corporations & Steve Blank
The last 40 years have introduced an explosion of new, groundbreaking technologies including social media, mobile — even the household computer. And now, industries across the board are going through a period of continuous, unpredictable disruption.
Just take a look at what's around the corner—artificial intelligence, virtual reality, drones, and wearables are all making an entrance into the market. How can large, historically slow moving organizations take their best steps forward to prepare? Here's how this blog approaches the topic by:
- Walking through what business researchers call historical "technology revolution," dissecting patterns and presenting sociological trends.
- Showcasing interesting examples from history such as Bell Labs, GE Labs, and DuPont Labs.
- Introducing contrasts between historical circumstances and today.
5. Global Corporate Divestment Study
Source: Ernst & Young (EY) Author: Paul Hammes, global divestiture advisory services leader and Steve Krouskos, global deputy vice chair, transaction advisory services
What better way to look at how corporations are evolving than to look at their divestments? As companies begin to shift gears, Ernst and Young (EY) is analyzing the landscape of what's changing. The big question remains: where are companies shifting their areas of focus? Here are some takeaways from Ernst and Young:
- 70 percent of companies are using their divestments to fund their growth strategies
- 49 percent of companies are planning to divest in the next two years
You'll also see analyses of recent deal trends—what happened to companies that divested at least 10 percent of their enterprise value within the last five years.