The Key to Corporate Innovation

Innovation is tough. But it can be managed, like a function.


Most people know and understand the principles of innovation, and organizations can build or improve capabilities vital to innovation. Yet, in case after case, we can see that it is easier said than done effectively. One culprit is a lack of openness to ideas from outside the organization, especially if large investments are in place for internal processes and teams at the expense of open innovation.


Enablers of innovation, processes like agile or technologies like smartphones or machine learning, accelerated creation and diffusion of new ideas into our lives at a vastly faster pace in this decade than the previous one through the global startup ecosystem. This particular pace of change became the most dangerous for corporations' vitality.


Startups typically become a threat to an incumbent if the incumbent fails to see the shifts in the market. Early-stage startup population growth in their domain and changes in consumer behavior is a major force to remain. In this complex and challenging environment, I believe a coherent view and understanding of the forces in play make a corporate strategy strong.


Leaders who recognize such changes and challenges may still struggle to engage with early-stage startups. Once an organization admits the challenge, it can develop its own approach and effectively minimize the risks to its long-term viability.


At Sente, we have worked with more than 500 startups and 20 global corporations. We have a clear perspective on this issue, which we share in our newest white paper, "Corporate Innovation Calls for Outside Intervention." We did not design this whitepaper to provide a best practice or a recipe for success. Instead, it is a review of impactful capabilities or approaches that we observed through our work.


There is no silver bullet or one-fits-all approach, as you can imagine. However, a committed corporation with a collaborative culture and the right external partners can figure out what works for them relatively easily, with a little bit of patience.


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