In my latest research with Crowd Companies, Founder Jeremiah Owyang and I explore how corporations are avoiding disruption by strengthening their ecosystems through corporate innovation programs. Technologies are emerging at a rapid pace that directly impacts customer experiences, and savvy companies are proactively innovating by executing multiple internal and external programs––from intrapreneurship, to innovation outposts, to startup acquisition.

10 Corporate Innovation Programs
The 10 Types of Corporate Innovation Programs: Innovation Team; Innovation Center of Excellence; Intrapreneurship; Open Innovation; Innovation Excursions; Innovation Outpost; Technology Education; External Accelerator; Startup Partnership; and Startup Acquisition

For the report, we interviewed 45 innovation leaders at large companies, surveyed more than 50 corporate innovation change agents, and examined more than 140 LinkedIn profiles of innovators. Key findings from “The Corporate Innovation Imperative” include:

  • The top challenges companies face in corporate innovation include: fostering an internal culture of experimentation and innovation (57%); juggling competing internal agendas and goals (56%); overcoming the middle management “permafrost” layer (45%); and moving forward despite deferred commitment and delayed action (33%).
  • Though 61% of innovation leaders have “innovation” in their title, only 4% have the title of “Chief Innovation Officer.”
  • Corporate innovation leaders aren’t fresh out of college. Rather, they have an average experience of 18.6 years, culminating in the know-how to align minds and departments around change.
  • There are 10 types of corporate innovation programs that companies pursue: corporate innovation team; innovation center of excellence; intrapreneur program; open innovation; innovation excursion; innovation outpost; technology education; external accelerator partnership; startup investment; and startup acquisition.
  • The most commonly deployed corporate innovation programs include corporate innovation teams (78.9%); innovation centers of excellence (61.4%); and technology education (54.4%). This shows that companies are first focusing internally on building the right teams, getting governance and processes in place, and educating current and new employees on emerging technologies before spending resources on rolling out external programs or investing in the startup scene.
  • The most common metric attached to innovation program success is increased revenue (66%), though that can be a fallacy metric if weighed too heavily too soon, before innovation programs have the chance to prove real ROI. Other top measures of success include greater customer satisfaction (54.5%) and faster time to market for new products or improvements (45.1%).

You can download an abridged version of the report from SlideShare (full version available to Crowd Companies members only), or view it embedded below.

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