Graphic: Corporate Innovation Programs Come in Ten Flavors

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Above: Click to see high-res version, of the 10 Corporate Innovation Programs

Recently, at Crowd Companies, we published a research report on the Corporate Innovation Imperative (short version available on Slideshare), and found that companies are struggling internally with cultural pushback, but they’ve launched over ten innovation programs to help large companies become nimble. This handy graphic, is organized in the following way:

  • It lists all ten innovation programs that companies are launching. Keep in mind, many companies are deploying several, but few are doing them all well. In our full report for customers, we have adoption and budget details.
  • They’re organized with the center programs being internal programs, and the outside circle are programs that are partnering with the external ecosystem, often with startups.
  • Descriptions are provided on the top and bottom of the graphic, to help bring to life the various programs. Often people are most intrigued by the Intrepreneur Program or Open Innovation programs.

Thank you Jaimy Szymanski and Vlad Mirkovic for their assistance on this project. Also, we’re conducting a few followup reports on Corporate Innovation Metrics, processes, and internal organizational models. Contact me at jeremiah at CrowdCompanies.com if you know of a large company we should interview, or a vendor that’s helping with these goals.

Call for Insights: Innovation Success Measures Report

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Do you have proven success measures for your corporate innovation programs? If so, we’d like to interview you for an upcoming Crowd Companies report that I’m working on with Jaimy Szymanski

The report will showcase how companies are measuring success for each of the 10 corporate innovation programs established in previous Crowd Companies research. Looking internally and externally, we’ll examine how companies are determining the right objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) to align innovation program efforts with over-arching corporate and departmental goals.

This research will also delve into the challenges faced in measuring success, software and other tactics used for data analysis, and provide recommendations for aligning current digital, customer service, and product development metrics to fit with innovation programs. Readers will finish the report with a better understanding of how their innovation program(s) can contribute to greater, measurable organizational growth.

Interviews last approximately 30 minutes, and nothing will be shared without your approval. The report will be available in full to Crowd Companies members, and partially to the public.

Ideal interview candidates fulfill one or more of the following criteria:

  • Be in an innovation position (senior leadership preferred) at a large corporation, or otherwise contribute to company business model changes,
  • Ideate new products or features, or improvements to existing products and services,
  • Build new customer experiences brought forth by disruptive technologies,
  • Responsible for strategy and execution of one or more corporate innovation programs, internal or external,

Do you fit the bill? Please email me at Jeremiah@CrowdCompanies.com for more information. Thank you in advance for contributing to our research that will benefit all corporate innovators.

Photo via Pexels

Infographic: Blockchain Opportunities for Every Industry

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By Jeremiah Owyang and Jaimy Szymanski

Blockchain technology has the potential to upend the way every industry manages its information and data, not only financial services.

Imagine being able to track shipments through your supply chain with ease, down to the individual package or even component level. Or, executing a contract with a vendor without the need for an intermediary auditor. Blockchain can even help verify materials and food sourcing to ensure health and ethical standards are maintained.

Though most who are familiar with the technology equate it to Bitcoin, opportunities abound in other verticals in effectively storing transaction, customer, and supplier data in a transparent, unchangeable ledger online. Any relationship that depends on third-party maintenance, or those that require multiple data sources to fulfill customer expectations for cohesive experiences, can be improved by blockchain applications.

In the latest Crowd Companies market projection report, “The Business Models of Blockchain” (available to our innovation council members only), we explore how blockchain technology enables transparency and accountability of assets in every industry through shared, immutable ledgers. These impacts are outlined at a high level in the infographic below. (Click here or on the image for the hi-res version to share with your networks.)

The potential industry disruptions included in the infographic are:

Legal: “Smart contracts” stored on the blockchain track contract parties, terms, transfer of ownership, and delivery of goods or services without the need for legal intervention.

Supply Chain: By utilizing a distributed ledger, companies within a supply chain gain transparency into shipment tracking, deliveries, and progress among other suppliers where no inherent trust exists.

Government: Blockchain offers promise as a technology to store personal identity information, criminal backgrounds, and “e-citizenship,” authorized by biometrics.

Energy: Decentralized energy transfer and distribution are possible via micro-transactions of data sent to blockchain, validated, and re-dispersed to the grid while securing payment to the submitter.  

Food: Using blockchain to store food supply chain data offers enhanced traceability of product origin, batching, processing, expiration, storage temperatures, and shipping.

Retail: Secure P2P marketplaces can track P2P retail transactions, with product information, shipment, and bills of lading input on the blockchain, and payments made via Bitcoin.

Healthcare: Electronic medical records stored in a blockchain, accessed and updated via biometrics, allow for the democratization of patient data and alleviate the burden of transferring records among providers.

Insurance: When autonomous vehicles and other smart devices communicate status updates with insurance providers via the blockchain, premium costs decrease as the need for auditing and authenticating data vanishes.

Travel and Hospitality: Passengers store their authenticated “single travel ID” on the blockchain for use in lieu of travel documents, identification cards, loyalty program IDs, and payment data.

Education: Educational institutions could utilize the blockchain to store credentialing data around assessments, degrees, and transcripts.

As part of our research coverage on disruptive technologies, blockchain aligns with our prior research on the Collaborative Economy, where technologies strengthen P2P relationships to bypass central institutions. Additionally, blockchain technologies will be harnessed by autonomous technologies, enabling machine-to-machine transactions.

Want to stay updated with our latest content, and research? Sign up for our newsletter. If you work for a large corporation, become a Crowd Companies member.

 

Corporate Innovation Talent Strategy: Intrapreneurship, Universities, and Acquisitions

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By Jeremiah Owyang and Jaimy Szymanski

Corporations are struggling to keep pace with technology trends, but the real innovation challenge lies in their internal culture. In other words? The “tech issue” isn’t an issue! According to our recent survey, the top challenge companies face in corporate innovation is fostering an internal culture of experimentation and innovation (57%).

Truly innovative companies focus on setting a foundation with the right people and empowering them, as well as governance, before large investments take place that lack direction, resources, or goals. These corporations are diversifying their hiring strategies in the face of rapidly disruptive technologies, consumer adoption of related trends, and the advent of new business models that emerge from the two. In order to remain competitive in an environment that embraces rapid startup innovation, corporations must focus both internally (on existing talent) and externally (on acquiring new talent) to build their talent pools.

In our latest Crowd Companies report available on Slideshare, “The Corporate Innovation Imperative: How Large Corporations Avoid Disruption by Strengthening Their Ecosystem,” we uncovered three distinct manners in which the most mature corporations approach hiring innovative employees: Intrapreneurship Programs; Technology Education / University Partnerships; and Startup Acquisitions. In the full report available to Crowd Companies members, you’ll also find case examples from corporations that have found success.

Intrapreneur Program
Internal employees — dubbed “intrapreneurs” — are given a platform and resources to innovate. These programs invest in employees’ ideas and passions to unlock everything from customer experience improvements to product enhancements and full-blown internal startups that are then launched from within the company. Intrapreneurship programs are an effective and cost-efficient way to surface ideas and shape your business without the need to purchase expensive startups or hire external talent or vendors. They enable rank-and-file employees to contribute to a culture of innovation.

Technology Education / University Partnership
Through an educational partnership, corporations can tap into new university graduates, early-stage projects and companies, and the network of an established educational institution. In addition to traditional universities, there are new private versions opening up that are dedicated solely to technology training, like Galvanize and General Assembly. Partnering with educational institutions provides corporations with a first look at breaking technologies and how they’ll impact our culture through an academic lens. These partnerships are an effective way to secure new talent about to enter the marketplace.

Startup Acquisition
Rather than build innovation from the inside, some corporations acquire successful startups and integrate. While expensive, the startup is often already successful, and the acquisition can help the startup scale further. Acquiring startups showcases a corporation’s focus on the future and evolving its products, services, and customer experiences to meet new expectations. Stanford also shared with us that some companies experiencing a hard time hiring software talent have used “acqui-hiring” to bring people into the company. It can be a useful way to acquire talented employees along with new technologies.

Advanced Companies Focus on People Before Programs
Corporations that retool their hiring strategy to meet the evolving talent needs of their innovation programs will reap the rewards of crafting an innovation team (or “center of excellence”) that has the expertise, experience, and drive to incite change. Our survey also uncovered that dedicated innovation teams (79%), innovation centers of excellence (61%), and technology education / university partnerships (54%) are the most commonly deployed corporate innovation programs (see figure below). 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 time and resources on rolling out external programs or investing in the startup scene.

 

Other best practices from advanced organizations include:

  • 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 have 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.
  • Finally, we found that the most advanced companies receive a dedicated budget from the CEO to ensure company-wide support of innovation as a long-lasting cultural mandate––even if the company is not performing well financially.

Recipe: How to Bake Your Own Silicon Valley

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I’ve visited many a region that’s interested in creating its own “Silicon Beach/Mountain/Cliff/Island/Plane/Desert,” and that is truly wonderful. Along the way, I’m often asked what makes Silicon Valley successful.

The elusive recipe need not be hidden in a vault or passed down from Nana to her next of kin. Here’s a tried-and-true recipe that was handed down generation to generation in Silicon Valley for 60-plus years. Yes, it’s a family secret, but I’ll share it with you now.

INGREDIENTS:

  1. A culture that embraces failure. Only 5% of startups win, but they win big. Yet embracing the other 95% is required for persistent innovation.
  2. Ample education in technology & entrepreneurship. Successful tech regions have multiple colleges and a culture of continual learning.
  3. Plentiful Venture Capital — not just Gov money. Free-market VCs are needed to bolster the community, as govs can create friction for startups.
  4. Successful entrepreneurs re-invest — not retire. Once a CEO cashes out, he or she mentors others and invests funds back into the ecosystem.
  5. Density of population to foster serendipity. Most innovation happens in urban areas, fostering a frequent intersection of people and ideas.
  6. Attractive quality of life. Talented workers can work anywhere, so attract them with diverse culture, temperate weather, and quality lifestyle.

PREPARATION:

First, place all ingredients in one large bowl, and use a mixer to stir vigorously on high for three years — lumps are OK.

Then, pre-heat oven on low, place ingredients on a greased pan, and bake for five years. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 years as it rises.

Any dish becomes bland if served the same way, so add flavor from a diverse set of founders and workers who span genders, races, and more.

As a garnish, whisk in some tech bloggers, sprinkle in some eccentric founders, and grind in a fresh industry analyst or two.

Serve warm, serve generous, and enjoy the sweet taste of innovation with those around you.

Congratulations, you’ve just baked your own Silicon Valley.

 

How Advanced Corporations Innovate: Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS

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In our research on corporate innovation, we found the most advanced companies allow competitors to innovate in their own buildings.

Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS enables outside innovation inside the company. As a result, they’re improving the entire industry, including efforts of competitors, in order to positively impact society as a whole.


Above: Crowd Companies’ Carl Bohlin addresses the council on our tour to JLABs in SF.

At its nine sites within North America, JLABS gives startups the tools they need to level the playing field against large, corporate R&D teams. Half of each JLABS space is a common area with state-of-the-art equipment for use, while the other half is comprised of individual labs that help companies get started. JLABS is all new space, not old storage or “leftover” labs, and the facilities are separate and distinct from Johnson & Johnson corporate with no Janssen scientists working there.

 

The Crowd Companies team was privileged to tour one of the JLABS sites earlier this year, bearing witness to how Johnson & Johnson Innovation is breaking the mold in a big way. During our tour, dinner, and discussion at JLABS in South San Francisco , we found that the culture as a whole is diametrically opposite normal business behavior by inviting anyone into their space in order to innovate and advance specific medicines, medical devices and consumer & digital health solutions.

The concept of JLABS sprouted from a need when JLABS leader Melinda Richter suffered a near fatal medical emergency while traveling internationally, see her TED talk. She made a promise that, if she survived, she would do something to enhance medical efficiency and bring solutions to patients faster and better. From there, JLABS was born and sold to executives. It is now thriving under Richter’s leadership.

JLABS provides their space and tools onsite with no vested interest. Startups and innovators onsite have complete privacy to work without any sharing of IP. Security cameras are not even allowed to be directed where work is being conducted, and participants are encouraged to clean whiteboards after using. If it is presented with an idea of potential, Johnson & Johnson Innovation often pursues deeper partnerships that allow it to shape the ultimate innovation or product at a later date.

JLABS measures its success based on internal financial metrics, quality of innovators coming in, quality of science and technology being developed, development milestones reached, the number of people using its space, and education programs run.

Crowd Companies identifies the JLABS approach to innovation as an advanced program, as it not only benefits the company but also the entire industry. “Common tides raise all boats” in innovation, and Johnson & Johnson Innovation understands that their scientists will only be pushed further toward greatness if up against the best minds, with adequate resources, in the industry.