The Next Generation Corporate Accelerator
Corporate accelerators and incubators are hot topics within the global innovation and entrepreneurship community. There are lots of great initiatives in place, but we must always ask ourselves the question of how we can make it even better.
So that is what we are working on right now; what does the next generation of the corporate accelerator look like and how do we make it work?
Maybe you want to share your perspectives on this. Here you get a discussion starter based on some of the key points that we have identified in this context. Please also feel free to add more "categories" for key points to look into.
What's in it for the corporate?
Some reasons why top executives should get their organization involved with a next generation corporate accelerator:
Our organization already has many ideas, opportunities or problems to solve but lack the execution capability - our accelerator can help on this
It helps us bring better products and services to light-speed the time-to-market
It helps us identify and overcome the internal barriers that stops us for fully committing to external resources
It helps us overcome our lack of digital maturity (because any accelerator today should have a strong focus on digital)
It can help us educate and upgrade our internal people through real projects
It helps us attract the best talent, and strengthens our reputation as innovation leader
It can become a vehicle for sustainable and repeatable growth, with precise strategic direction and clearly defined goals
It helps us create a strong internal and external network to understand how the ecosystem works, which relationships could help to innovate, and where to invest. This is absolutely critical for execution
It helps us transform the core business with initiatives that move us towards an exponential organization
It ensures economic benefit by either creating new revenue streams and/or integrating innovative technologies or business models into the corporation
Much more can be added when we focus on the specific situations of the specific companies. This is actually a good as well as a bad thing. Focus is important for any relevant activity and if you try to do too many things with a new initiative like this, you can easily end up spreading your resources too thin and get lost. Just think about the different approaches that are needed if internal education should be just as important as execution of ideas and projects.
Having this in mind, try to think of the corporate accelerators you know. Which one do you think has the strongest vision statement towards the corporate itself and the ecosystem it involves? What is the statement? How do they keep focus?
By the way, one often used way of describing the corporate need for an accelerator comes in different variations of a sentence like this: "Avoiding the Kodak Moment by Providing Insights and Being Able to Execute on Them."
Building a corporate platform
Building further on the above, we can also aim for the next generation accelerator to:
Lay the foundation for partnerships
Connect suitable decision makers, strategic partners, venture partners, contributors and collaborators as well as specialist advisors and industry experts of a chosen vertical
Establish the team for acceleration with both internal and external resources and mentor the process
Identify the challenges and opportunities, find the best ideas from within our strategic partner network and assign the resources needed to materialize them
Ignite the execution and mentor it
Lay the foundation to transfer the "innovation engine” into repeatable, measurable processes that can be replicated within the corporation
Go beyond startups!
Just two simple questions here:
Do the corporate accelerators we see today have too much focus on startups? What other external stakeholder groups (i.e. suppliers) could be targeted?
Yes, this is a hint :-)
You need to have many elements in mind when you build flexible frameworks, processes and guidelines around your vision and mission for the accelerator. Some elements to consider are:
Internal Network Structure: We must bring executives, the corporate transformation / innovation team, relevant business units and functions and HR together. We must develop a common goal across these corporate elements and we must develop a setup and processes that keeps everyone committed.
Here it is critical to know how to navigate the fine line between the existing corporate culture and the different culture that is often needed for a successful accelerator. A mindset upgrade program must be initiated in this context, and key internal resources should get their feet wet.
Networked Business Structure: A next generation accelerator is highly networked. It is plugged into physical as well as virtual assets and resources and entrepreneurial and industrial ecosystems on a global