The Building Blocks of Corporate Innovation

Scott Lenet – Corporate innovation remains one of the hottest topics in Fortune 500 board rooms. According to a PwC survey, 97% of CEOs say that innovation is a top priority, but 94% are dissatisfied with their current innovation programs (source: McKinsey). For a large number of executives, the topic can be opaque and intimidating. Many wonder what innovation activities to prioritize, and who should be responsible.

As in any complex situation, breaking the problem into parts can help. In the case of corporate innovation, consider four alternative building blocks: a. build, b. partner, c. invest, or d. buy — corresponding to four corporate functions: a. research & development, b. business development, c. corporate venture capital, and d. mergers & acquisitions. There are also derivative innovation options, including corporate incubators, accelerators, licensing, and joint venture structures. These options encompass internal and external innovation.

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