In recent years, we see a lot of “sexy” keywords from corporations in their innovation efforts. But why?
You probably know that startups are very eager to include some attractive keywords to their pitches, even if that is (sometimes) not necessary. Blockchain, deep-learning, AI, IoT are just a few examples. Some entrepreneurs believe that their product or service is not enough by itself, so they might include some promises either never to be fulfilled, or unnecessary. The worst thing is, sometimes they do it just for the sake of it, even if they have a great product alone.
Failing to Innovate vs Rejecting Innovation
This approach also infected corporations. It is hard to say that exploring new technologies is a bad or risky way, but without the right guidance and know-how, global brands make a fool of themselves. Ignoring innovation, on the other hand, is worse than failing to adopt new trends.
In the 90s, the world-famous, badass motorcycle manufacturer Harley Davidson released a new product, which hardly related to their image: a cologne. Stereotypical Harley Davidson fans hated the idea, some even threatened to boycott the brand. They tried to innovate and expand their business, but the results were not good. At least they tried. But Blockbuster… You have probably heard about the famous “Blockbuster rejected Netflix” story. Blockbuster was almost a monopoly at movie and video game rental services in the USA. In 2000, Netflix founders approached Blockbuster and offered them the whole company for just $50M. Blockbuster executives thought that this is a niche business with low potential. Netflix now has hundreds of millions of subscribers worldwide.
“If the size of your failures isn’t growing, you’re not going to be inventing at a size that can actually move the needle”
– Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO
Rejecting innovation is a bad idea. As a global, leading brand you have to innovate. Even if you are a small startup, you need to disrupt. Corporations usually are not as agile as startups, but in comparison, corporations have the money or the manpower that startups do not possess. With this common ground that entrepreneurs and corporations can help each other, we find the golden phrase: Open Innovation.
Open Innovation: External ideas flourish within the company
Open Innovation also sounds like an unnecessary sexy keyword, such as the ones that startups use. But the Wikipedia page defines open innovation like this: Open innovation is a term used to promote an information age mindset toward innovation that runs counter to the secrecy and silo mentality of traditional corporate research labs. The term was originally referred to as “a paradigm that assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market, as the firms look to advance their technology”.
Some corporations choose to run their programs, behind closed doors. You can find more info about those programs in our related blog post. In those programs, corporations usually look for entrepreneurs and experts to teach them about the agile mentality of fast-moving startups, so that as a result, they can breed their own “intrapreneurs” within the company. But some, choose to get external help from the entrepreneurial minds of young startups. What we call “Vertical Challenge” is the quick way to find great solutions that can fit seamlessly into your company, or help you develop new projects with outside help.
Vertical Challenge Programs are usually 1 to 3 day-long programs that allow entrepreneurs or employees from the company to find solutions to a specific problem or generate ideas in specific areas. According to your needs, you can shape it like a hackathon, an ideathon, or a competition.
It all starts with defining the general goal of the program. What is the main result that you want to get? How will your company benefit from the challenge? What is to gain for the attendees or entrepreneurs? It is best that you get help from professionals to ask the right questions, set KPIs, and achievable goals from the start.
After the aim and the roadmap of the program is clear, entrepreneurs and bright minds within your company can apply for the program. You can either choose to get applications from startups that already have a working product in the specific vertical that you select or thinkers who can bring ideas that can be built into a PoC at the end of the program.
The selection process of the participants is probably the most complex part of the program. You have to choose the right platforms and right messages to bring in applications from participants that can add value to your company and help you reach your objectives. And after you gather a lot of applications, choosing the best of the best also requires expertise.
As we mentioned earlier, the program takes 1 to 3 days, according to your choosing. With a condensed program and presentations, outer experts that help you run the program and your executives select the best solutions among participants.
“The only source of knowledge is experience.”
– Albert Einstein
Rezolute: The team with great experience
Corporations run various kinds of innovation programs each year, but only a few reach real success. Most programs’ success is defined by numbers, which are cherry-picked after the program is closed. But in Rezolute, we can set achievable KPIs even before the call for applications start so that you will be sure of the results. With our experienced team that ran various acceleration programs, vertical challenges, global events and worked with global brands, we would love to help you run an innovation program that will help you break your corporate barriers.
Innovation programs require an approach from experienced minds, who know how to help great minds steer to a specific goal. For a global brand, the most expensive resource is time, and failed programs take a lot of time. Rezolute is your guarantee for time well-spent.