We were instantly thrown into what the workshop leaders called – Activated Participancy – a method that engaged as much of our consciousness as possible. Just to name a few latent and subliminal characteristics, which manifested during that short but impactful session: fearfulness, playfulness, competitiveness, curiosity, creativity, experiential memory, and resistance.
Not only did we leave the workshop armed with an arsenal of new thoughts; but also with a compass that pointed to new directions and opportunities; and a hand-standing sensation of having ventured back from the unknown.
The theme that Bergenstråhle & Lindvall, The Absolut Company (Pernod Ricard), Uponor and Googol introduced was, Commercialization and Corporate Venturing. Under the direction of the workshop leaders, we focused on a few vital questions in terms of commercialization. This was done by firstly, exploring a case that was invented in the room, avoiding any positions of NIH (not invented here); and by secondly, developing the case in a time-dependent competition using a made-in-Googol enhanced Business Model Canvas. However, it was not until the wrap-up at the end, where we given the final “aha-notion”. Commercialization is about preparing the offering, of the solution we have, for the market and it can be introduced at any level. As Anna Schreil from Absolut emphasized; “Commercialization begins already in the earlier phases...”, or as Dariush Ghatan of Googol said “... eventually already in the process of insight and ideation…”
Throughout the case-game we played, the four workshop leaders interacted with us with different perspectives. Bengt Johansson of Uponor was the manager of a larger organization, within which a new opportunity had arisen. His task was to have us think about how values could be mutually shared, without threatening the new ventures agility and the mother companies focus on core business. Peter Friedrichsen of Bergenstråhle & Lindvall questioned and supported our choices of Intellectual Asset Management as a tool for commercialization. How we protect and how we leverage on what we have. Anna Schreil, being the product and marketing manager, gave us hints on how we could involve our clients in creating further demand in the markets, build and use a brand as a carrier of our yet un-launched services and prepare a portfolio of offerings, allowing more than one opportunity on were to create revenues, to be discovered. Dariush Ghatan of Googol was our intrapreneur. He actively moved between the tables and made us think in new ways, try different methods, collaborations as well as global domination with our own brands. No routes were banned everything worth exploring. Ghatan’s ability to navigate innovation and entrepreneurship and to get us all passionately involved, really made me want more of innovation at work.
Peter at Bergenstråhle & Lindvall made a clear case that I bring home to my future work, which is that patent isn’t always the right way to go. Other ways of commercializing a discovery can be manifold better in terms of protection. While using the Googol Business Model Layer, the workshop-leaders drew a map of were protections and values could be created and leveraged. As a mental model, this is another useful tool for me. I found Peters saying that IPR is an investment not an insurance worth while giving an extra thought as well.
Now, to the Corporate Venturing part. Googol claimed that partially separating a new disruptive case from core business, by creating a new entity with separate management, can speed up the process of commercialization as well as minimize the risk. They also claimed that shared responsibilities with outside actors bring new talents and experiences to the table. Finding autonomous business models whilst still being within the reign of a large scale management, given branding-laws and in a this-is-how-we-do-it-here-culture is a vital part of the commercialization process accordingly to Schreil, Ghatan, Johansson and Friedrichsen. Bengt Johansson of Uponor balanced the sometimes elaborate discussions with bringing in the factors of retaining values within organizations, and the importance of us actually creating structures that can generate and hold Innovations within. Letting the most promising, sometimes radical and disruptive out might not be the only future at hand for the large scale businesses.
The workshop concluded that commercialization should start at the inception of Innovation together with strategic values. Business model factors such as collaborations and licensing can be leveraged when one invests in one’s IPR along with the financial aspects, which would develop in relative importance. The separation of new initiatives, wholly or partially, would provide organizational benefits such as: lesser time-to-market, opportune co-investment, and increased marketing with co-branding etc.
Article by Tobias Vahlne, Googol
För mer information:
Activity: Commercialization and Corporate Venturing Workshop at IIA 2011
Date: 19th - 20th of October 2011
Place: Sky City Conference at Stockholm Arlanda Airport
Profile of participants: Innovation practitioners
Hosted by: Innovation Pioneers
Partners of IIA 2011: Swedavia, Microsoft, Logica, Vinnova, Maxibit, Bergenstråhle & Lindvall, SISP and Baker & McKinzie.
The initiating companies of Innovation Pioneers:
Astra Zeneca, Alfa Laval, Electrolux, Volvo IT, Atria,The Absolut Company (Pernod Ricard), Ergonomidesign, Ericsson, Googol, Hjälpmedelsinstitutet, IKEA, Innventia, SCA, Stora Enso, Tetra Pak and Uponor.