Companies develop new things to sell, or variations of them, all the time. A brilliant idea is often what leads a company to success in the first place. But growth brings its own set of challenges.
Large and well-established corporations are particularly prone to slow change and getting stuck in their ways. They tend to build upon existing products rather than rethinking the wheel.
In today’s world, startups with fresh perspectives and backed by investment are finding opportunities to upend entire industries with new technologies — and business models.
Corporate innovation is an attempt to spot those opportunities first. If your business doesn’t adapt to changing circumstances, someone else will be more than happy to take your place in the market.
EpicDX Innovation offers an agile team of highly skilled professionals and industry leading innovation experts in the area of platforms, product development, and technology. We are customer-focused and have built our business model around helping our clients overcome their unique business challenges and unlocking new opportunities.
CORPORATE VENTURE CAPITAL ARMS
We talked about why Stanley, Black, and Decker embraced corporate innovation — now here’s how. The company’s VC arm, Stanley Ventures, invests in startups — ready to finish development or begin scaling — whose products compliment their own.
INTERNAL INNOVATION LABS
Just because corporations might struggle to innovate doesn’t mean people who work at them lack inventive ideas. In fact, corporate talent can make a great source for companies’ next initiatives.
HACKATHONS & PITCH COMPETITIONS
Perspective is everything.
Sometimes it’s people looking at an industry or a specific problem from the outside who come up with the most stunning insights and creative solutions. That’s why corporations are increasingly turning to hackathons and pitch competitions to find collaborators in the startup world.
Building diverse dedicated corporate dedicated venture teams is becoming more common. These are typically groups of about ten employees who work with those selected startups to pilot their products. Eventually the early stage project will then get transferred from the venture team to the main corporate teams that use their funding, distribution networks, and marketing prowess to take the new product to market.
Why does this model work? One thing corporations have, and startups desperately want, is resources. By allocating some of those resources to fund startups with game-changing products, corporations can bring potential competitors into the fold.
The best corporations realize they can’t go at it alone. As a result, more and more corporations are setting up venture capital funds to form mutually beneficial relationships with promising smaller companies.
Corporate Venture Capital Arms
Internal Innovation Labs
In a corporate environment, ideas that diverge from the company’s existing business model may hit a wall: they don’t fit into the time frame of quarterly goals, they seem too risky, there’s no designated staff or budget to foster them, and so forth.
With internal innovation programs, corporations establish teams or offices whose very purpose is to investigate and develop those smart ideas with no home in the status quo. Crowdsourcing is a strong method to identify early ideas and then help employees create MVP’s by providing them with company resources — money, access to a makerspace, and a percentage of their work hours — to turn their napkin sketch ideas into full-fledged products.
We helps connect people across the organization to allocate resources and expertise where they’re needed, as well as brings employees into their makerspace for a portion of their work week to build out their ideas. EpicDX also conducts internal innovation challenges in which employees go through design thinking crash courses to stimulate new thought paradigms.
Startups by nature are driven with a philosophy of experimentation. Founders have already put their life savings and houses on mortgage to do what they believe in and they’re not scared of making mistakes. So when they come into a corporate environment, they’re willing to ask tough questions, identify operational inefficiencies, and identify opportunities.
For corporations, hackathons are like highly concentrated R&D sprints. For startups, participating in a hackathon or pitching a potential corporate partner is a networking and visibility opportunity at the very least, but there are typically material benefits for top performers.