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By Gustavo Orjuela, Head of Venture Partnerships Wayra for Colombia and Mexico
It is possible that companies are not so familiar with the term corporate venturing or perceive it as something far from their reality. However, if your company is looking to achieve greater positioning, close digital adoption gaps, diversify and add value to its customers, corporate venturing is one of the best options to obtain the greatest benefits from innovation .
Consider postponing digitization and implementing it at an ideal time, with the company full of processes, papers, procedures, workers crammed with tasks, leaders fearful of developing test scenarios, where failure is punished and employees are not motivated to try new things , reflects a dusty photo of an organization from the mid-twentieth century, which does not fit the selfie of today’s management, where the traits of innovation are embedded in culture and in turn in leadership .
According to the report “Corporate Venturing Latam 2020” carried out by Wayra, the open innovation hub of Telefónica Movistar, and the IESE Business School, Corporate Venturing is defined as ” a key activity that companies design and implement to accelerate their innovation processes , interacting in different ways with startups ”. This strategic relationship should resonate in the company’s internal innovation management system and, in turn, in the strategy that supports its vision.
In Latin America, more than 180 corporate initiatives were identified that are establishing work bridges with entrepreneurs, from scouting missions to corporate venture capital funds. This shows growth and consolidation in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, generating a good feeling, not only from companies, but also from the state of startups in our region.
We are facing challenges that involve knowing how to ride the wave of change, break paradigms and build value faster. In this scenario, innovation stands out as the way to renew the organization’s presence in the market, generate greater value for stakeholders, build desired future scenarios and even manage to adapt to uncertain scenarios, with new market conditions and regulations, such as those imposed from the COVID-19 pandemic .
We are facing challenges that involve knowing how to ride the wave of change, break paradigms and build value faster / Image: Depositphotos.com
Regardless of where the companies are located (Guadalajara, Mendoza, Medellín, or another city), those who want to start exploring work possibilities with entrepreneurs, should consider the following 6 recommendations that will help them not to fail in the attempt:
1. Answer the following questions in advance : What do I want to achieve with an open innovation program? Do I have the support of management and the board of directors? Is the culture of my company available to develop work tables in conjunction with people outside the organization? Do I have innovation measurement indicators? Do I have economic, human, technological and logistical resources at the disposal of innovation?
2. Expand this conversation , not only to the innovation area, but also to the different leaders of the company, in such a way that it permeates the entire structure, activities are developed to identify restrictions , opportunities and innovative solutions that can be developed by external talent.
3. With the restrictions and opportunities identified , make a profile of the startups with which you want to collaborate, consider that they will be partners on this path of innovation. It determines the stage of maturity, market traction, level of formalization, entrepreneurial team, installed capacities, among others.
4. Empower one or two people in your company as scouters, who can connect with the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. It is important to connect with events, congresses, business roundtables , demodays and activities where entrepreneurs participate.
5. Identify two or three startups willing to develop a joint work table and that through agile methodologies can respond efficiently to the restrictions and opportunities identified in point 2.
6. Measure and control the performance of this union, establish the periodicity of the follow-up, and the indicators that will depend on the objectives, among which are: the contribution to the value proposition, process improvement, cost reduction, increase in sales, etc.
Your company will be as innovative as its ability to understand itself, digitize, adapt and become flexible, in a world that challenges innovation, to be increasingly collaborative.