Virtual open innovation in the post CoronaCovid-19 era PART 1
During times of change companies and investors are more inclined to pursue innovation. The Corona Covid-19 crisis has increased the relevance and urgency of digital change. As John F. Kennedy noted, “the Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word crisis. One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis be aware of the danger, but recognise the opportunity”. Many traditional businesses have struggled with digital transformation such as industry 4.0 and other fields, post Corona Covid-19 startup innovation is becoming more relevant in helping those businesses to achieve their goals. Executives explore more pro-actively opportunities for innovation to support research and product
development. Corporate accelerator or incubator programs are characterised by direct business
engagement and often rely on on-site groups. Open innovation programs, which scout for new startups outside the corporate boundaries generate pragmatic and targeted value-add. Across the corporate innovation agenda we see tendencies towards more virtual scouting collaboration. It provides remote pin-pointed innovation sourcing to quickly fill the needs gap with the help of dedicated tech scouting partners.
Virtual open innovation scouting is not hindered by
distance. This is important because even national
flights or train journeys for personal meetings, e.g.
in Germany from Berlin to Munich become more
challenging post Corona Covid-19. Companies
commonly scout for startups globally in leading tech
hubs such as Silicon Valley or Tel Aviv. Investors
and businesses of various sizes choose to work
remotely with local scouting partners to secure tech
startups that help them foster their open innovation
agenda. To save time, money and resources,
foreign executives install local innovation scouting
partners abroad to source startups on their behalf.
We draw upon our experience with European
corporates and Israeli startups to demonstrate a
modular approach for virtual open innovation. In the
post Corona Covid-19 era we see four phases
underpinning a robust innovation venturing
Knowledge exchange: executives learn from
other corporate that do innovation (better than
themselves) to become more comfortable
going forward with their own innovation
Personalized scouting: scouts identify
relevant startups to tackle corporate’s specific
problem statements, take time to understand
the business needs and have expertise to
challenge them if necessary.
Startup demo: scouts explain corporate’
needs to startups and prepare entrepreneurs to
present business relevant applications.
Innovation buddy: corporates and scouts
partner for ongoing value creation through
continuous scouting and project management.
Knowledge exchange. Open innovation is
dependent on information sharing and collaboration.
Out of necessity due to its small market size and its
cultural mix Israel is focused on international
business exchange and cooperation with foreign
companies. The Israeli ecosystem exhibits an
extreme willingness to cooperate through openness
and transparency with each other, it proudly shares
tech insights to explore global collaboration. Foreign
corporates appreciate the straight talk both with
Israeli and local international firms about their
expertise in innovative products, processes and
new business models. It gives overseas leaders
first-hand insight into a peer group ecosystem which
is typically closed in their home markets. It is
common to have meetings with outsiders as well as
peer groups to bounce off ideas and share lessons
learned on digital transformation.
For example, real-life experiences are shared not
just about what type of technology is relevant to
resolve a specific industry challenge but also how to
work with startups in a mutually successful way.
This gives corporates more comfort on how to
proceed and fine-tune their innovation agenda.
Video conferences improve flexibility and permit for
multiple meetings with innovation leaders and
technical subject matter experts in a short time
window. A time-zone difference of only one hour to
most of Europe eases remote collaboration in
comparison to the US or Asia.