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  • feedwordpress 14:56:06 on 2017/03/28 Permalink
    Tags: Corporate Innovation   

    Intrapreneurship Programs: Engage your Employees, Activate Diverse Ideas, Satisfy Customers 

    Most large corporations have a wide range of customer types. It often spans many countries, languages, and cultures. To help create the right product solutions for your customers, savvy companies are activating their employees (not just the dedicated product team) to unleash innovation from all areas of the company, which results in a diverse set of product ideas.

    Yesterday, I spoke at the executive track at the Inclusion Conference in SF to about a hundred Chief Diversity Officers from some of the largest corporations in the world. I was honored to be join by my fellow speakers included Allison Wiener of Clorox, Sandy Carter, Ted Childs, and Pat Waders of Linkedin. I presented three case studies on how MasterCard, Adobe, and Cisco are activating thousands of employees to generate tens of thousands of ideas, many of which go to market.

    These “Intrapreneur” programs, which engage employees in their jobs to come up with new ideas, spur new forms of creativity, and generate new ideas that the product teams may not have the bandwidth to produce. Furthermore, this engages employees (esp job hopping younger folks) to quickly make a difference in their job. Over ten years ago we saw “idea” generation websites emerge at Dell, Salesforce, and Starbucks to enable employees to bring ideas forth.

    Now, at companies like Adobe, we’re seeing formalized programs emerge with training, executive support, and even a cute “kickbox” which includes documents, energy bars and drinks, and a credit card with a modest amount of money to get an experiment going. By the way, Adobe has open sourced Kickbox, you can download the program and apply it to your own company.

    I’ve embedded by slides from the presentation below. I’d love to hear how your company is enabling your employees from all walks of life to generate ideas –Crowd Sourcing ideas doesn’t just come from customers and partners –but also from your own employees.

    Intrapreneruship programs are one of ten Corporate Innovation programs companies are launching, learn about all ten in our latest report, the Corporate Innovation Imperative. Thank you Jaimy Szymanski, Adobe, Mastercard, and Cisco for the data, and to Sandy Carter (read her book on innovation) for the invite to speak.

     

     
  • feedwordpress 10:16:38 on 2017/03/20 Permalink
    Tags: Corporate Innovation   

    How Corporate Innovation Programs are Measuring Success 

    Corporate innovation programs are primarily measuring revenue to show success –but that’s a risk, it a small incubated program is being compared to the primary billion dollar business lines. ROI is a fallacy metric of corporate innovation. Basing program success on ROI too early, rather than dedicated innovation KPIs, will not yield an accurate representation of progress.

    In our recent Crowd Companies research, “The Corporate Innovation Imperative” (available for download here), we found there is a startling chasm between what organizations are measuring around innovation and which KPIs truly indicate program success from infancy through maturity. Corporate innovators who implement realistic measurement plans that focus on innovation KPIs, not immediate ROI, find greater executive support and are given adequate time to deliver results.

    Our survey data of corporate innovation leaders reveals that the most common metric attached to innovation program success is increased revenue (66%), Other top measures of success include greater customer satisfaction (54.5%) and faster time to market for new products or improvements (45.1%) (see figure below for full list of innovation metrics).

    Top Innovation Success Measures


    Companies should focus on measurment depending on which phase of their innovation cycle they’re at. Lookoing at the classic Agile Startup methodology put forth by Eric Reis, companies (large and small) can focus on innovation metrics (usage, renewal, referral) in addtion to raw revenues.

    Though innovators report increased revenue as an indicator of success, mature corporations reveal that focusing on ROI over other growth KPIs is actually harmful to innovation, and that programs should first encourage speed to market and increased ideas cycling through the pipeline. Migros, one of our interviewees, monitors KPIs of possible yield models instead of revenue for its innovation programs, with agreed-upon guardrails like maximum accepted expenditure per year and total investment volume over a period of time. It also plans out expectations for when innovations will break even in order to set realistic measurement goals and act accordingly if and when they are or aren’t achieved.

    As companies climb the ladder of maturity, they also begin to clarify which of the four innovation goals (product innovation; operations; CX; or business model) they’re setting out to achieve (see figure below) — both within each program individually and in their innovation charter for the company overall. This impacts the metrics they attach to signal progress. When pursuing a new corporate innovation program, setting clear goals that answer “why this program?” is paramount to choosing the right initiative.


    Corporate Innovation Impacts Customers in Four Ways

    Advanced companies build their capacity for innovation by approaching innovation goals separately at first (avoiding the trap of too-early ROI expectations), each with its individual programs and support mechanisms. Then, as the corporation matures in its efforts, its programs will strategically progress to fulfill all four innovation goals within a culture of innovation that serves as the lifeblood of the organization.

    For example, each of the above innovation goals have different associated KPIs for each, for example Product Innovation will be focused on usage, revenue, and referral, Operational Innovation may focus on reduced costs, higher quality, or faster time to market, Customer Experience innovation may focus on customer satisfaction, engagement, and reduced contact center costs, and Business Model Innovation will focus on newly generated ideas, avoiding disruption or partnerships with young startups.

    (Photo via pexels)

     
  • feedwordpress 10:02:18 on 2017/03/06 Permalink
    Tags: Corporate Innovation   

    Corporate Innovation Challenges: Culture, Budgets, and “Frozen” Management 


    Corporate innovation leaders face many challenges when attempting to get innovation programs off the ground. Peter Schwarzenbauer, chairman of BMW (a Crowd Companies member), is quoted saying, “Innovation is a willingness not to be understood for a long period of time.”

    Change agents are those whose radical, innovative ideas are not internally understood –and the culture of the company resists change that could conflict with existing business models. In our research, we tested to see if technology adoption, relationship with startups, or if understanding new trends would have been a primary cause of challenges –yet over and over, we heard that internal culture was the primary issue.

    [Ironically, most Corporate Innovation leaders had more challenges with internal culture –rather than combating disruptive startups from the outside]

    As part of Crowd Companies’ research for “The Corporate Innovation Imperative” (available for you to download here), we surveyed individuals responsible for innovation within their organizations. Survey results (below) show that the top innovation challenges include: fostering an internal culture of experimentation and innovation (57%); juggling competing internal agendas and goals (56%); overcoming the middle management “permafrost” layer (45%); and moving forward despite deferred commitment and delayed action (33%).

     

    Top Innovation Challenges:

    Our research also included interviews with innovation leaders and strategists from large corporations. During our interviews, we uncovered two additional challenges: keeping up with startup innovations and a steering progress with a lack of clear business goals.

    • Foundational culture change is required to make significant progress.
      Innovators first focus on internal education as a catalyst for cultural change, from external speakers to internal workshops, first at the executive level and then targeted toward other senior leadership. Innovation excursions are also helpful in the initial stages of program development to align executives and teams around what’s possible.
    • Middle management “permafrost” doesn’t support innovation.
      A symptom of a culture resistant to innovation is a middle management layer that can only see short-term goals, not long-term change. As a result, they encourage employees to operate efficiently within their current roles and responsibilities by meeting consistent benchmark metrics. This doesn’t leave room for the innovators to explore new ideas. We heard this middle management layer called everything from the “frozen tundra” to the “permafrost” to the “antibodies.” It’s critical for senior leadership to embrace innovation from the top down, so middle management is empowered to support innovative employees without fear of retribution.
    • Startups innovate quickly, leaving corporations playing catch-up.
      Many companies are burdened with complicated processes, long production cycles, and bureaucratic red tape for moving forward with new ideas. These hindrances stand in direct contrast to the countless nimble startups swiftly prototyping and executing ideas that directly compete with slower-moving enterprises. Innovators commonly turn to educational workshops (in-house or at vendor locations) and university partnerships to speed internal innovation, as well as innovation outposts.
    • Companies lack clear business goals for innovation programs.
      Corporate innovation leaders, who we’ve published more data about their role here, are tasked with tying programs to business metrics and proving ROI to executives, yet they often lack the budget needed to adequately resource said programs to an extent that generates results. There is hope for innovation, though. Our survey revealed four innovation programs with more clearly defined business goals: dedicated innovation teams, innovation outposts, innovation “centers of excellence,” and startup investment programs. Mature companies are even defining innovation goals by individual program, while simultaneously laddering metrics up to overarching departmental and company KPIs.

    Companies need to clear the obstacles for Corporate Innovation leaders.
    The Corporate Innovation teams are often struggling with internal conflicts –more than combating external startups. When I’ve spoke to these leaders, they are willing to risk their jobs to make a change to help innovate their employer, some said “I’m banking on my employability, not my employment” as they knew they could get jobs elsewhere if it didn’t pan out. It’s key that management help offer them a road towards innovation success. Also, read Steve Blank’s list of the 13 things companies are doing to hamper innovation, or Stefan Petzov of Swisscom’s post on corporate challenges.

    (Photo from Cindy Chen)

     
  • feedwordpress 01:16:14 on 2017/02/27 Permalink
    Tags: Corporate Innovation   

    Who’s Leading Corporate Innovation? Examining the Corporate Innovator Persona 

    Experience and Education Set the Foundation for Leadership.

    This is a detailed breakout from our recent report on the Corporate Innovation Imperative, over the coming months, more will be revealed about how large companies are behaving like startups –while using their unique capabilities as a large organization.

    Attracting the right talent for innovation is a challenge for corporations competing with shiny, agile startups, as is long-term employee retention. Innovative corporations are building innovation talent pools by offering interesting programs, intrapreneur growth, and worthwhile incentives. Because, without a focus on attracting and maintaining innovation leaders, corporations are left seeking a hero to guide their journey toward change.


    (Above graphic, from the recent report The Corporate Innovation Imperative, download the partial version as full version is for Crowd Company members.)

    In the report, we analyzed more than 140 LinkedIn profiles of individuals responsible for corporate innovation in varied industries and countries in order to create a persona of the average corporate innovation leader. Use these characteristics to guide your hiring and talent acquisition process, as well as gauge when leaders may be seeking opportunities for advancement or new challenges.

    The term “Tundra” emerged as a common theme among corporate innovation leaders, as they described company culture, and specifically, middle management as the “frozen middle layer” or “Tundra” or other similar metaphors of a dense, rigid, cold layer. Other more medical metaphors include “antibodies” that are designed to raise barriers to corporate risk.

    Key Stats of the Corporate Innovator Persona:

    • Time spent in current role: 3.2 years. This shows that innovators need to know the business, as well as internal stakeholders, before generating new ideas. They must have credibility to sell up to executives.
    • Duration of career: 18.6 years. Corporate innovation leaders aren’t fresh out of college. Rather, they have the experience and know-how to align minds and departments around change. Corporate innovation programs often rock the boat, and change agents need to have direct experience steadying the mast and pushing forward. Much of the success of innovation teams depends on internal alignment among tangential departments, like legal and marketing, to move from ideation through implementation.
    • Number of industries in career: 3. With experience comes a desire for variety. Our research uncovered that throughout their careers, corporate innovation leaders will apply their learning to further multiple areas of the business ecosystem.
    • Percentage with “innovation” in title: 61%. Not only do the majority of leaders have “innovation” in their current title, but 40% also had it in their previous role. This indicates that innovation requires a groundswell before reaching a level where resources are allocated toward dedicated leadership. This slow growth trend of innovation leaders reaching senior levels is also reflected in the fact that only 4% have the title of “Chief Innovation Officer.”
    • A highly educated cohort: 46% have an advanced degree. With age and experience often comes higher educational degrees, as is reflected in our finding that nearly half of corporate innovation leaders tout at least a master’s degree.

    Mature corporations understand that an innovation program is only as good as the employees behind it. Follow in the footsteps of corporations like Verizon, which has multiple innovation teams in various business units, each with talented members dedicated to both ideation and execution. This helps them move efficiently to prototype and launch new innovations.

    Also focus on talent retention, as there’s a commonplace and ever-present threat that your best and brightest will be poached (or, at the very least, approached) by competing corporations or startups. Leaders at mature organizations consistently ask themselves, “Are we doing enough to keep our most innovative employees happy?” The most effective incentives tie employee progress on innovation KPIs directly to pay structure.

    I’ve even heard from these innovation leaders, that they’re willing to risk their jobs at their companies to make significant changes, despite butting up against the culture of non-change. One leader commented “I’m backing on my employability –not my employment” when I take risks. This entrepreneurial mindset is a key one to properly manage, and clear internal roadblocks for if an employer wants to retain these go-getters.

    If you want to connect with fellow corporate innovation leaders, we, at Crowd Companies have hundreds of members that have this specific role, in our peer to peer council, who meet at our events, online, and beyond.

     
  • feedwordpress 21:18:41 on 2017/02/21 Permalink
    Tags: Corporate Innovation   

    Report: The Corporate Innovation Imperative 

    Our latest research report is now available, which was focused on how large companies are internally getting ready for the many waves of technology disruption that are here now, and coming. Companies need to be ready, with a dedicated innovation program –not just knee-jerk reacting to each new set of technologies that emerges. We asked a number of companies on how they defined innovation, and heard this common pattern:


    “Corporate Innovation Defined: Doing something new that solves customers needs –it may be in conflict with your existing business”


     

    We’ve made a high-level partial version available to the public on slideshare, but the full report is limited to our members at Crowd Companies. Over the coming months, we will publish other insights around corporate innovation.

     

    Report Highlights:

    • The top challenges companies face in corporate innovation include: fostering an internal culture of experimentation and innovation (57%); juggling competing internal agendas and goals (56%); overcoming the middle management “permafrost” layer (45%); and moving forward despite deferred commitment and delayed action (33%).
    • Though 61% of innovation leaders have “innovation” in their title, only 4% have the title of “Chief Innovation Officer.”
    • Corporate innovation leaders aren’t fresh out of college. Rather, they have an average experience of 18.6 years, culminating in the know-how to align minds and departments around change.
    • There are 10 types of corporate innovation programs that companies pursue: corporate innovation team; innovation center of excellence; intrapreneur program; open innovation; innovation excursion; innovation outpost; technology education; external accelerator partnership; startup investment; and startup acquisition.
    • The most commonly deployed corporate innovation programs include corporate innovation teams (78.9%); innovation centers of excellence (61.4%); and technology education (54.4%). This shows that companies are first focusing internally on building the right teams, getting governance and processes in place, and educating current and new employees on emerging technologies before spending resources on rolling out external programs or investing in the startup scene.
    • The most common metric attached to innovation program success is increased revenue (66%), though that can be a fallacy metric if weighed too heavily too soon, before innovation programs have the chance to prove real ROI. Other top measures of success include greater customer satisfaction (54.5%) and faster time to market for new products or improvements (45.1%).

    Who we Interviewed:
    In addition to surveying large companies, we interviewed 45 leaders at large companies, or at companies that closely partner with them on innovation initiatives.

    1. 500 Startups ||Arnaud Bonzom, Director of Corporate Innovation
    2. 500 Startups || Khailee Ng, Managing Partner
    3. Accenture || Jitendra Kavathekar, Managing Director of Open Innovation
    4. Achmea || Ilse Harmelink, Marketing Partners and Digital Marketing
    5. Adobe || Cindy Springsteel, Vice President of Global People Resources Business Partners
    6. ADT || Robert Beaver, VP Technology and Innovation
    7. AXA || Guillaume Cabrere, CEO AXA Lab in Silicon Valley
    8. Cisco || Alex Goryachev, Director of Corporate Strategic Innovation Group
    9. Colgate-Palmolive || Jenny Gomez, Marketing Director of Innovation
    10. Comcast || Danielle Cohn, Director of Entrepreneurial Engagement
    11. Electrolux || Heather Hanson, Global Head of Marketing Technology
    12. European Institute of Technology || Patrick Consorti, EU-US Industry Partnerships
    13. Fujitsu || Kevin Krejci, Business Development and Alliance Manager
    14. Fujitsu || Mohi Ahmed, Senior Director of Open Innovation Program
    15. Galvanize || Ryan Nadeau, Director of Special Projects
    16. GE || Alex Tepper, Managing Director of GE Ventures
    17. HP || Vincent Brissot, Head of Channel Marketing and Operations
    18. Ideation || Charles Lee, Founder and CEO
    19. Johnson & Johnson || Melinda Richter, Head of JLABS
    20. Leroy Merlin || Stephanie Hajjar, Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
    21. Mastercard || John Sheldon, SVP, Group Head of Innovation Management
    22. Nestle || Mark Brodeur, VP Digital Innovation
    23. Nexxworks || Peter Hinssen, Founder
    24. Nexxworks || Laurence van Elegem, Marketing and Communications
    25. Nexxworks || Steven van Belleghem, Founder
    26. Pilot44 Labs || Andrew Backs, Founder and Chief Innovation Strategist
    27. PostNL || Michel Bagli, Team Lead of Growth Strategy
    28. Protiviti || Jay Thompson, Managing Director
    29. Protiviti || Steven Massengill, Technology Consultant
    30. Rocketspace || Canice Wu, Director of Corporate Innovation
    31. Savvy Millennial || Savannah Peterson, Founder
    32. Sparks & Honey || Annalie Killian, Director Human Networks
    33. Stanford University || Reilly P. Brennan, Executive Director of REVS
    34. Swisscom || Gregory Leproux, Managing Director and VP Business Development
    35. Swisscom || Stefan Petzov, Principal Architect Swisscom Cloud Lab
    36. Swiss Post || Lorenz Wyss, Head of Ideation and Idea Management
    37. Swiss Post || Theirry Golliard, Head of Open Innovation and Venturing
    38. TD Ameritrade || Sunayna Tuteja, Lead Digital Strategy, Experience, and Innovation
    39. The Intrepreneur Lab || Milan Samani, Founder
    40. Visa || Shiv Singh, SVP Digital and Marketing Transformation
    41. Walt Disney Co. || Duncan Wardle, VP Creative Inc. (former)
    42. WDHB Strategic Learning || Sam Mueller, COO
    43. Wells Fargo || Darius Miranda, VP Innovation Group
    44. Wells Fargo || Nathan Bricklin, SVP Head of R&D Strategy and Experience
    45. WL Gore || Linda Elkins, Leader of WL Gore Silicon Valley Innovation Center

    We will continue to publish research on disruptive trends, our next report will be on the Business Models of Blockchain, and more insights from the Corporate Innovation imperative will be shared, be sure to subscribe to this blog.

     

     
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