To a skeptic, corporate venture incubation might sound like a contradiction in terms. Corporations are organized for efficiency – of people, processes, and capital. But while structured approaches are necessary to progress ideas to commercialization, structure alone is not sufficient. New venture incubation is artisanal and so less concerned with productivity. Working with limited resources and facing ambiguities about the target market, technical feasibility of new products, and optimal business model, entrepreneurs need a test-and-learn environment more typical of a craftsman’s studio.

    To address this paradox, some large organizations have launched separate corporate incubators, funded to pursue projects laden with more market risk than the company’s traditional product (or service) innovation approach was designed to address. These incubators create a playful and collaborative artisanal environment that favors learning. Intrapreneurial teams perfect skills and their dexterity in the use of those skills, engage outside innovators and experts, and acquire market intelligence, the ultimate arbiter of success.

    How we can help

    Our Venture Craft™ approach enables clients to design incubators tuned to their organization and industry. Major components:

    • An incubator platform of specialized tools and services that support such core incubator activities as collaborative ideation, data mining, rapid prototyping, and business modeling will grow intrapreneurs’ innovation “dexterity” in crafting breakthrough opportunities.
    • An incubator ecosystem will enable intrapreneurs to bust through business silos and even the corporate firewall, if needed, to access diverse perspectives and skills inside and outside the corporation.
    • An incubation methodology focused on learning and acquisition of technical, social and market intelligence that fully leverages the incubator platform and ecosystem.

    Outcomes

    • Application of agile, user-centric innovation to design of the incubator itself
    • An incubation platform, ecosystem, and methodology that accelerate learning
    • An incubation culture that values the artisanal traditions of play, repetition, patience, and mastery
    • One to two completed proof-of-concept pilots of the new corporate incubator

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