How will companies survive in the economic aftermath of a global pandemic?
Some reports predict the economy is on a slow rebuild post Covid-19, others of a delayed bounce-back as headlines warn us of the worst recession in our lifetime.
In high technology driven sectors professionals are highlighting a more optimistic view, referring to nearer-term bounce-back opportunities.
The question remains: what does this really mean?
What does it mean to the survival of high technology companies in the short-term, their ability to adapt to a new normal in the medium term and their resilience against future disruptions in the long-term?
Let me start with a brief story when it comes to the people side of innovation.
A Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is wary about investing in the training and education of company employees. He asks the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), “What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave the company?”
The CEO replies, “What happens if we don’t and they stay?” The CEO recognises that at a time when there is much talk about business model innovation and innovation culture, the most significant element to anything related to innovation has always been and always will be people.
The right people at the right time
When it comes to projects involving innovation with radical or breakthrough potential, you need people who have their heart and skin in the game. You also need different people for the different phases of the innovation process.
Scaling the Edge: what is it?
UK SMEs recognise the potential of value of transformative innovation in terms of driving revenue growth leading some of them to this pro-actively. Despite this, several barriers both perceived and actual are also cited:
- Considered a distraction from core business
- Don't have the bandwidth to put time into non-core activity
- Don't have resources to invest into non-core activity
- Don’t have in-house skills and experience
- Don’t have access into other markets
One such support for addressing bandwidth, resources and skills can be through the provision of intrapreneurship support, a people centric, bottom-up approach to developing radical innovations in-house.
In a competitive environment, entrepreneurship is an essential and indispensable element in business; whether small or large, start-up or mature.
Intrapreneurship can be defined as the process by which teams within an established company conceive and initiate new products or innovations; or exploit existing resources within their business.
Scaling the Edge is Innovate UK’s pilot activity to service this need.
Our approach is to deliver an intrapreneurship development programme for SMEs which is based on a proven lean start-up methodology, design thinking, digital testing and data driven decision making.
This methodology can radically change SMEs approach to innovation thinking, particularly around new product development, product enhancement, and identifying new markets or applications for existing technologies and products.
SMEs need to minimise their risks. Internal ventures should be invested in incrementally, and as the ventures progress with evidence from the market and validated learnings, the uncertainty decreases.
This training will enable frontier-pushing SMEs to nurture intrapreneurial talent through a ‘best in class’ programme and receive expert training to explore ideas, digitally test market assumptions, and engage in a market discovery journey.
We encourage rapid business strategy development and dramatically de-risk new product/market exploration through a data driven digital testing methodology.
What is being offered?
- Expert training by seasoned entrepreneurs at an online bootcamp delivered by a renowned team with substantial innovation to commercialisation expertise
- Corporate entrepreneurship audit of current and past activity
- Four step methodology with ongoing tailored support and guidance for market discovery and digital testing
- Improved staff morale and radically change innovation culture
- Cutting time to market and improved bottom line through commercially validating new/improved product ideas and markets
The sought-after outcome of Intrapreneurship is the practice of using entrepreneurial skills without taking on the risks or accountability associated with entrepreneurial activities (starting your own business).
Instead, the practitioners build new businesses within the existing company while behaving as entrepreneurs; they just have the resources and capabilities of the firm to draw upon. Intrapreneurs have a very operational role.
They need to make things happen and develop new business opportunities that meet the needs of demanding customers.
Of course, this also includes coordination with stakeholders from the company mothership and other external partners, but intrapreneurs must have a special talent for addressing the needs of paying customers.
For further information on Scaling the Edge, or the commercialisation of academic research, please contact:
Dr Colin Cooper, Head of Commercialisation and Collaboration, firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch our video:
You can go to the Innovate UK website
You can go to the UKRI website