Partnership with start-ups A good way to stay up to date is to establish structural partnerships with start-ups. The biggest disruptive innovations of the last years did not come from classic multinationals, but the hyper-connected start-ups such as AirBnB or Netflix. Belgium has several of these programmes aimed at corporate venturing. Just think of Telenet-Idealabs, Start-IT of KBC or the Deloitte Innovation Centre.
Open innovation & new business models Companies working on innovations in their own secret ‘dark room’ is a thing of the past. The most successful companies are into ‘open innovation’. The principle is very simple: the more people you involve, the more successful ideas you generate. Innovation goes beyond the mere creation of new products or services. Sometimes innovation results in new business models that can cause upheaval in existing industries. Just think what Spotify meant for the music industry.
Explore, experiment and ‘scale fast’ Resources are limited in all companies. Not every new idea can be carried out and you have to make investment choices. The art is to explore broadly, start small and if market success presents itself react quickly to keep your head-start. A versatile organisational structure is the key to success.
  • Do you have a ‘lab’ outside the normal operation of your company where you can experiment with new technology?
  • Can you temporarily post employees outside the organisation?
  • Are you launching too many initiatives at the same time?
Culture and awareness The first step you need to make in this new world? Make sure you are well aware of the new technological opportunities presenting themselves. And how you can respond to them with your current or future business.
  • Does your corporate culture encourage innovation and are good ideas incorporated in the operations?
  • Are your employees given time to reflect on the future?
  • Are all your ideas generated in the company or do you also take part in crowdsourcing?
  • How often do you talk to your Board of Directors about the impact and opportunities of new developments?
  • As a company are you sufficiently aware and protected against the cyber risks that this new environment involves?