How to successfully discover innovation opportunities and partners
Innovation Hub: keep a finger on the pulse of time
Innovation Hubs are on everyone’s lips. Companies strive for new innovation playing fields, cooperation and out-of-the-box thinking. With a strong need for agility, and to keep a finger on the pulse of time. How can innovation hubs discover attractive innovation opportunities? How can they support business success? Here are some fresh answers from our innovation consulting and supporting corporate innovation hubs.
EB Insight: What does „innovation hub“ mean to you?
Alexander: A hub is always a central point within a broader space. An innovation hub can be seen as a further innovation pillar in which varied ideas, players and technologies come together – to be combined in synergy. The most popular innovation hub is a geographical: The Silicon Valley. Here, startups, established companies and academics live and work collaboratively in the tightest of space. Hubs from companies are platforms by which new technologies, innovation opportunities and collaboration partners are captured, evaluated and utilized.
EB Insight: What types of innovation hubs are out there?
Alexander: We see innovation hubs within companies, public institutions, associations and sciences. Even the European Union is engaged and networks via innovation hubs. Concerning corporate innovation hubs, there are many different types: from single innovation hub events for creative networking through to long-time strategic corporate innovation hub initiatives with worldwide locations. Some German examples: Lufthansa Innovation Hub, InsureTechHub. It is all about ambition, priority and willingness to invest.
EB Insight: Why do more and more companies and associations build innovation hubs or get involved in existing ones?
Alexander: Our age is full of innovations and new ideas – with high-speed hyper-competition. Thus, new valuable innovation playing fields cannot be created with old school techniques like planning in minute detail, wargaming, portfolio-strategies or stage-gate-processes. Without a continuous inflow of external innovation and technology impulses including cross-industry and cross-market perspectives + without an open, creative network, companies won’t have a successful future today.
Alexander: An innovation hub needs continuous input. For collaboration and innovation. That requires a continuous inflow of fresh impulses. The hub needs to keep its finger on the pulse of time. What innovation and technology developments emerge in adjacent categories and markets? Which startups and tech companies are potential creative and technology network partners? Out-of-the-box fuel of new impulses related to own hot-topics are needed. Google + startup databases are not enough today. Some corporations still assume that startups and tech partners will approach to them. Or it might be enough that employees attend startup conferences and networking events. That is a great starting point. But to create successful partnerships and innovations much more is needed.
EB Insight: How can innovation and technology impulses be incorporated in innovation hubs?
Alexander: A powerful Scouting that focuses individual and continuously changing topics as well as cross-market and cross-industry impulses is needed. Databases and network events are static. Complexity of information and innovation speed is high. Thus, an innovation hub should enable to see the forest for the trees. To discover new plants and exciting animals. In doing so, creative exchange is needed. To filter most important developments for your business. It is all about involving employees and innovation partners with their ideas and topics of interest. Also into the scouting. It is essential to exchange experiences and network from day 1.
Alexander: An innovation hub is a separate ecosystem. It evolves naturally. Step by step due to innovation and networking activities. To keep a filter in mind but at the same time let creativity and networking flow, is very helpful for that. For example: a wide partner screening with virtual speed dating events to co-creation workshops to partnerships that create success from Design Sprint to pilot implementation. In doing so: slip into the shoes of your customers. Involve market and customer perspectives prematurely and continuously. Integrate employees, executives and chairmen. Whether the innovation hub is a program idea or a long-term initiative – this is how engagement, motivation and identification arise.
EB Insight: What is your experience a hub can do to succeed in collaboration?
Alexander: In our innovation consulting, we support innovation hubs especially with tailored innovation and technology scouting and the creation of a strong partner ecosystem. For the hub in general and for particular innovation activities. From many projects we know: you are successful, when collaborating together in interdisciplinary teams. When startups and tech partners are on the same level. That means: not David & Goliath but more Bonny & Clyde. And Spray & Pray.
Catch the Future…!