How Do Corporates Innovate?

Last week we hosted our second “Rooftop Talk”, a series of events intended to act as an ideas exchange and connect people within Berlin’s tech scene.

For this special occasion we invited Maks Giordano, co-founder and Managing Director at kreait, to give an insightful talk about corporate innovation. For those of you who couldn’t make it to the talk, we compiled some of the key learnings from Maks below the following video:

Sustainable Growth is not Linear, but Exponential. Be Prepared for Disruptive Innovation

Since the internet was launched over 25 years ago, the propensity to innovate has experienced its ups and downs. Nowadays, innovation has become a prerequisite to remaining a relevant player in today’s markets. Large corporations often find themselves stuck in a linear mindset, unable to anticipate the exponential growth of smaller businesses and start-ups. The incredible advantage of exponential versus linear growth is that, even though exponential growth is often slow at the beginning, once it reaches a certain threshold, growth skyrockets and supersedes any form of linear advancement. An outstanding example of this is the iPhone, which ushered in a new era of mobile by overthrowing the previous market incumbent, Nokia. Technology is becoming more efficient and affordable at an exponential rate, along with millennials’ ability to harness this power corporations are quickly coming to realize that they cannot afford to wait if they want to remain a successful player in today’s markets.

Create a Culture of Innovation

Companies wishing to innovate also need to foster environments in which innovation can occur. These can be physical spaces that encourage collaboration, like project rooms, common cafeterias or ‘chill’ areas. Yet innovation also requires a certain degree of freedom when it comes to envisaging and developing original ideas. Maks suggests corporations should aim to hire talented millennials and simply let them experiment freely, rather than attempting to force them to conform to the boundaries of their corporate structure.

Act Fast and be Agile

Speed and agility are equally crucial factors. There is no point in wasting money by attempting to create the perfect product; it’s better to produce a flawed one that can be launched quickly and improved along the way. Consider design research and thinking, trial and error approaches and rapid prototyping. These methods are often implemented by start-ups with little financial resources, yet represent tools that can be of enormous advantage to corporations wishing to innovate and develop new business models outside of their rigid corporate structure.

Rely on Data, not Assumptions

Modern technology allows the collection of data so valuable, that it would be considered a wasted opportunity to rely only on assumptions. By collecting and analyzing user data effectively, products and prototypes can be improved and adjusted to fit market and consumer needs, not in theory but in practice.

Because of their limited budgets and time, start-ups are forced to come up with innovative methods and business models. They should seek out advantageous connections to corporations, while corporations need to find ways to make themselves accessible for start-ups. That is, if they want to innovate successfully.

About Maks Giordano

After graduating with an MBA from the University of St. Gallen, Maks started working for ID-Media in the mid-90’s. In 2003, he founded iconmobile, one of the world’s first mobile centric agencies. Later in 2007, he joined the board of ProSiebenSat1 Digital. Today, Maks is the co-founder and Managing Director at kreait, where he and his team help corporations to find a way into the digital age. He holds an Associate Professorship from the Zeppelin University and the HTW Berlin.