The Evolution of Corporate Innovation

Working with Startups and Using Startup Methodologies


Innovation has been a buzzword for quite some time. encompassing everything from product development to entrepreneurship. In today’s business environment, it is imperative to remain agile, improving products and services to suit the ever-changing customer demands.

With the rise of the Chief Innovation Officer role, and increasing amounts of dedicated innovation management executives in the corporate world, it is apparent that innovation as a business process is taking centre stage.

Following the change of social attitudes towards collaborative consumption and lean approaches, companies are starting to embrace Open Innovation. Working directly with their clients, supplies and stakeholders, many corporations like Clorox, Eli Lilly, P&G and more have developed OI programmes to help them utilise the full potential of their networks. Entrepreneurship as the new corporate ethic is penetrating the fabric of business values. Coca-Cola is just one of the companies who actively encourage their emplyees to adopt an enterprising attitude, start new projects and ideas, collaborate with cross-departmental colleagues to build new ideas from the ground up.

Another emerging approach gaining momentum fast is working with early-stage startups. As an ‘outsourcing innovation’ approach, it allows large corporations to significantly lower their R&D expenses, decrease potential risks inherent in innovation, increase their speed to market, improve the quality and quantity of new products or services, as well as contribute to the growth of their local economy by supporting young companies.

Mondelez run a Mobile Futures programme, where consumer startups get an opportunity to partner with a leading brand, to deliver and scale a pilot product in 90 days. American Airlines have been partnering with startups and providing a platform to test their products and boost brand awareness through airport lounges, onboard magazines and customer feedback surveys. General Motors, and others like AB InBev, Nestle, P&G etc have set-up dedicated west coast innovation labs.

From incubators and accelerators to innovation labs and garages – the methods of engagement are truly vast. Fresh innovative ideas of startups, paired with resources and delivery expertise of corporate giants really do make for a power combination. It is a win-win approach all around, and one that we can expect to grow significantly over the coming years.


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