Evangelos Simoudis is a seasoned venture investor, senior advisor to global corpo-rations, and a recognized thought leader in new mobility, digital platforms, and cor-porate innovation - with over 30 years of experience in Silicon Valley. He is also the author of ‘The Big Data Opportunity In Our Driverless Future’, and the ‘Transporta-tion Transformation’. He earned a Ph.D. in computer science (machine learning) from Brandeis University and a B.S. in electrical engineering from Caltech.
Does corporate innovation need a methodology?
Corporations with incumbent status in industries as diverse as agriculture, manufacturing, logistics retail, and financial services are being disrupted at an unprecedented rate by a variety of innovations. From technological breakthroughs in cloud computing and big data analytics to disruptions like crowdfunding and social engagement, most of these innovations are created by startups. As corporations attempt to ad-dress the implications of these disruptions and become more innovative, it is important that they adopt an innovation framework that incorporates many of the elements used by successful startups to disrupt.
The term innovation has a different meaning for each of us. First, we have to recognize that there are innovations used to keep an existing product or service competitive, the so-called sustaining innovations, and innovations that alter or disrupt markets, or disruptive innovations.
The word “possible” means we are looking to capitalize on what is known and what we can create from what is known. Innovation may involve invention, but the two are not synonymous. The word “transformation” implies a focus on execution. The world “valuable” implies that we are looking for transformations that provide value. To be effective, innovation must be continuous and must involve the solution to a problem — perceived or still unperceived.
Disruptive innovation is the innovation that can change industry structures and, in the process, alter technologies, business models, and other characteristics. It is about creating new value. Amazon was a disruptive innovator in the book-selling industry, Apple disrupted the music industry, and Salesforce the enterprise software industry.
Traditionally the Corporate R&D and Corporate Strategy organizations were tasked with “looking over the horizon” — analyzing market developments, applying emerging technologies, and exploring trends to identify potential disruptors to the corporation’s business. However, during the last 15-20 years, corporate R&D organizations became providers of sustaining innovations that protect and prolong the life of existing products, and business models [ ... ]
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