State of innovation: 9 key learnings

May 27, 2018
Last week I attended the conference Innov8rs for corporate innovators | intrapreneurs.  I'm excited to share my 9 Key learnings about innovation:
  1. Innovation cultures are far from being present across most industries. Many times the boards and most employees at corporations don't take it seriously. When boards and in particular the CEO do communicate its importance, the employees' mindsets change much quicker. Innovation faces many contradictions which make its adoption hard. Such as short term cash cow revenues and related KPIs vs. the promise of ROI on the mid/long term. Minimize risk for shareholders while betting in something new. Thinking about daily tasks while maintaining a sense of purpose, most employees don't know their organization's purpose if there is any. Many great tools exists but changing the culture is key first.
  2. Open innovation seems to become the norm. A challenge is the IP distribution among dozens of partners.
  3. Entrepreneurship and innovation have become much more professional, many accelerators were created, funding mechanisms, frameworks such as business model canvas have been developed, to the point that the term framework fatigue was coined. Many corporations increasingly use idea bootcamps. Many consultants / companies are present in the space of corporate innovation, ranging from ideation, discovery, validation to product market fit and scale up. For validation: ask customer for past and present actual behavior, story and why?
  4. About scaling up: There is not 1 but 2 valleys of death: The scale up phase has increasingly received attention and the bias that this phase is smooth has been questioned by suggesting a second valley of death if not done properly. Partnerships are extremely important in this phase. Startups need to be willing to adapt product to corporates to scale. Many scaling startups can be called stall ups as the FTE growth is less than 20% per year. Evernote could you prove % of users acquisition ,retention, payment before scaling. 
  5. Some big corporations see innovation as an opportunity to create brand awareness, trust and key long term relationships which lead to business opportunities.
  6. Partnering up is key to be successful, as a corporation / startup you can't do it all yourself. For this find the right partner establish trust and win-win situations.
  7. Stories of entrepreneurs NO GOs: Not sharing equity with main working person in 2 person team, paying oneself excessively high salary 8k€ / month which gives runway of 5 months, not disclosing key information to investor, lying to partner, outsourcing core competence IT development.
  8. Important factors for new project's success are beyond product market fit are be in an attractive market, have a scalable business model, have a strong purpose.
  9. 3 key differences between entrepreneur and intrapreneur: The intrapreneur needs to fit within existing infrastructure, does not need to search for funding as badly, does not have equity most of the time while receiving a salary.
Written by Claudio Geyken
Published on 22 May 2018

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