Open Innovation, Startups, and Corporations: What do these 3 have in common? It is this exact answer executives sought to find last November 17th through 19th during the Corporate Business Model Innovation Program, held by UC Berkeley’s Center for Executive Education. A group of 34 executives representing various sectors collaborated together for this 3 day, highly intensive and interactive course, led by industry experts Henry Chesbrough, Steve Blank, and Andre Marquis. From large group discussions to small breakout groups, the executives grappled with the challenge of adapting innovation into their already established corporations.
“We’ve got industries from service organizations to technology, and yet the problems are often very similar from one to the next,” Professor Henry Chesbrough, Faculty Director of the Garwood Center for Corporate Innovation, remarks. From companies such as Fujitsu to Air France, the executives were provided with the tools to overcome these challenges, such as customer development, a class first taught right here at Haas, and the power of internal customers, as delivered by Andre Marquis, Executive Director the Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Steve Blank’s Lean Launchpad methodology, a how-to guide to start-ups, also played a large role in the dialogue. “Corporations are almost desperate for learning new innovation skills that are coming out of early stage ventures,” Blank says. Once thought to only apply to startups, executives are quickly learning to apply this methodology in their own corporate structures as well.
“Open Innovation becomes a powerful source for innovating within your current business model… and can also be a method for innovating and exploring new business models, either in your own company or for others to use as well.”
Some corporations have begun adapting these new models- and it’s working. Telefonica executives Macarena Ramírez and Gastón Salinas shared that the company is reducing projects costs by as much as 50%, while accelerating the time it takes to get the results by more than 50%. All these tools, along with metrics of success and an understanding of the role stakeholders play in the innovation process, contribute to a fast-emerging movement in these large business units of corporate entrepreneurship. “We’re still at an earlier stage, and I think its tremendously exciting to see the things people are doing,” Chesbrough says. “Open Innovation becomes a powerful source for innovating within your current business model, and through this course, can also be a method for innovating and exploring new business models, either in your own company or for others to use as well.” The industry is at the cusp of new business models, with Open Innovation proving to be an influential tool not just for one’s own company, but the industry at large as well.
By Jon Caña