Report: The Corporate Innovation Imperative

Our latest research report is now available, which was focused on how large companies are internally getting ready for the many waves of technology disruption that are here now, and coming. Companies need to be ready, with a dedicated innovation program –not just knee-jerk reacting to each new set of technologies that emerges. We asked a number of companies on how they defined innovation, and heard this common pattern:


“Corporate Innovation Defined: Doing something new that solves customers needs –even if it may be in conflict with your existing business”


We’ve made a high-level partial version available to the public on slideshare, but the full report is limited to our members at Crowd Companies. Over the coming months, we will publish other insights around corporate innovation.

  • 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%).

Who we Interviewed:
In addition to surveying large companies, we interviewed over 44 leaders at large companies, or at companies that closely partner with them on innovation initiatives.

  1. 500 Startups || Khailee Ng, Managing Partner
  2. Accenture || Jitendra Kavathekar, Managing Director of Open Innovation
  3. Achmea || Ilse Harmelink, Marketing Partners and Digital Marketing
  4. Adobe || Cindy Springsteel, Vice President of Global People Resources Business Partners
  5. ADT || Robert Beaver, VP Technology and Innovation
  6. AXA || Guillaume Cabrere, CEO AXA Lab in Silicon Valley
  7. Cisco || Alex Goryachev, Director of Corporate Strategic Innovation Group
  8. Colgate-Palmolive || Jenny Gomez, Marketing Director of Innovation
  9. Comcast || Danielle Cohn, Director of Entrepreneurial Engagement
  10. Electrolux || Heather Hanson, Global Head of Marketing Technology
  11. European Institute of Technology || Patrick Consorti, EU-US Industry Partnerships
  12. Fujitsu || Kevin Krejci, Business Development and Alliance Manager
  13. Fujitsu || Mohi Ahmed, Senior Director of Open Innovation Program
  14. Galvanize || Ryan Nadeau, Director of Special Projects
  15. GE || Alex Tepper, Managing Director of GE Ventures
  16. HP || Vincent Brissot, Head of Channel Marketing and Operations
  17. Ideation || Charles Lee, Founder and CEO
  18. Johnson & Johnson || Melinda Richter, Head of JLABS
  19. Leroy Merlin || Stephanie Hajjar, Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  20. Mastercard || John Sheldon, SVP, Group Head of Innovation Management
  21. Nestle || Mark Brodeur, VP Digital Innovation
  22. Nexxworks || Peter Hinssen, Founder
  23. Nexxworks || Laurence van Elegem, Marketing and Communications
  24. Nexxworks || Steven van Belleghem, Founder
  25. Pilot44 Labs || Andrew Backs, Founder and Chief Innovation Strategist
  26. PostNL || Michel Bagli, Team Lead of Growth Strategy
  27. Protiviti || Jay Thompson, Managing Director
  28. Protiviti || Steven Massengill, Technology Consultant
  29. Rocketspace || Canice Wu, Director of Corporate Innovation
  30. Savvy Millennial || Savannah Peterson, Founder
  31. Sparks & Honey || Annalie Killian, Director Human Networks
  32. Stanford University || Reilly P. Brennan, Executive Director of REVS
  33. Swisscom || Gregory Leproux, Managing Director and VP Business Development
  34. Swisscom || Stefan Petzov, Principal Architect Swisscom Cloud Lab
  35. Swiss Post || Lorenz Wyss, Head of Ideation and Idea Management
  36. Swiss Post || Theirry Golliard, Head of Open Innovation and Venturing
  37. TD Ameritrade || Sunayna Tuteja, Lead Digital Strategy, Experience, and Innovation
  38. The Intrapreneur Lab || Milan Samani, Founder
  39. Visa || Shiv Singh, SVP Digital and Marketing Transformation
  40. Walt Disney Co. || Duncan Wardle, VP Creative Inc. (former)
  41. WDHB Strategic Learning || Sam Mueller, COO
  42. Wells Fargo || Darius Miranda, VP Innovation Group
  43. Wells Fargo || Nathan Bricklin, SVP Head of R&D Strategy and Experience
  44. WL Gore || Linda Elkins, Leader of WL Gore Silicon Valley Innovation Center

We will continue to publish research on disruptive trends, our next report will be on the Business Models of Blockchain, and more insights from the Corporate Innovation imperative will be shared, be sure to subscribe to this blog.

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