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Could ECC be the new gateway to disruptive growth?

Established corporations are using a proven model to bypass traditional barriers to digital transformation

Every company has digital transformation as a priority at their annual board meeting. But once the reality of actually radically changing a business model, a model which has been in operation for decades, sets in, sometimes the barriers appear insurmountable.

Thus the goal of the ECC model is to enable established companies to fast-track their digital reinvention by using a proven, structured methodology and it’s already proven its effectiveness at Vattenfall and Trumpf etc.

The ECC process was originally based on what CEO of FoundersLane, Felix Staeritz, experienced when building digital ventures with companies in traditional industries. He added the experience of 250 experts, managers, academics and practitioners. And the rest is history.

It has already been implemented successfully with many companies of different sizes, from $250 million to $130 billion, in many different countries (including the UK, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Finland and Russia) and in a broad range of industries, from banking and insurance to energy, logistics, packaging, construction, mobility, retailing and infrastructure services.

The five stages of ECC

1.Strategic Entrepreneurial Evaluation

This intensive, highly structured process runs for eight to 12 weeks. The joint team, brings together corporate staff, FoundersLane technology and venture development specialists, and begins with the question:

“How do we think this business is being disrupted now or will suffer digital disruption in the future?”

  • The aim is to analyse the situation, challenge assumptions, understand customer pain points and assemble a broad portfolio; worthy of further examination
  • Discover an ‘unfair advantage’ that the incumbent organization may not have realized it could harness.
  • Complete dedication to the entrepreneurial perspective.

2. Validation: Minimum Viable Business

The second phase is the time to buckle in. Validation, at this stage, needs to be done in two phases. The first is to describe the new idea to potential and existing customers and interview them about whether they would find it useful and whether it would solve their pressing problems. The second is to test customer reactions to a first pilot product (MVP).

As Michael Stephanblome, co-founder at FoundersLane and Venture Partner at Eight Roads Services puts it:

“If people don’t say ‘I absolutely need this — and I needed it yesterday!’, that’s a warning sign. Any other market signal is not strong enough for an idea to go forward to step three.”

3. Validation: Minimum Sellable Business

New ventures that survive beyond this go/no-go gate accelerate fast. The aim now is to solve the detailed technology and design challenges that are needed to move from an MVB to a polished working service with a full feature set, the Minimum Sellable Business or MSB.

This stage involves very close collaboration between the specialists with technical expertise in areas such as platform business models, AI and the Internet of Things, domain experts from the corporation and business experts from both partners.

  • Avoid zombie projects (innovation projects that sounded exciting and were given generous development budgets, but were never validated ruthlessly enough and are now too embarrassing to close down and kill off completely)

4. Launch

We ensure that the new product or service launches with a boom. As with any new product, platform or service the launch aims to build market traction, quickly and effectively. Behind the scenes, firm decisions need to be taken about the legal structure to be adopted and how rapid growth is to be funded. In some instances, legal and shareholding structures may have to be carefully drafted, to take into account restrictions on what state-owned bodies or companies in regulated industries are allowed to do or invest in.

5. Scaling/Exit

As the new digital business expands, decisions will be made about its long-term future. Is it going to be kept as a complementary part of the parent corporation? Or would it be better to spin it off as a separate entity, retain a major shareholding and open up the possibility of bringing in outside investors who could fund expansion on a global scale?

An advantage of the co-creation approach is the option to roll the newly created business back into the core organisation. This can revitalise the corporation, as employees who have tasted the entrepreneurial life return with new perspectives and stimulating attitudes.

The ideal situation is to get the best of both worlds, as Ping An has repeatedly done, and successfully capture the benefits of combining elements of platform strategy, venture capital thinking, corporate innovation and entrepreneurial co-creation.

Read more about the ECC model in Fightback, available now from Amazon: It documents a step-by-step approach to using ECC along with an Entrepreneurial Growth Board to overcome the classic barriers to digital transformations.

It forms part of a growing movement led by CEOs, tech entrepreneurs, and thought-leaders which you can find out more at



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Independent corporate company builder, co-creating digital businesses together with leading global corporations.