Innovation has become the watchword for what seems to be almost the entire business community. In one way, it the same as it ever was – the need to succeed in a field and to stay competitive relies on a company’s ability to stay ahead of the curve by developing new products and solutions.
With that in mind, firms are looking at different ways to accomplish that goal, many of which have now become global trends.
The first asks of the company’s employees to themselves become entrepreneurs of sorts. The in-house accelerator program is a tactic many corporate entities are engaging on a regular basis. The idea is to bring employees together and encourage them to develop and launch new ideas based on the firm’s needs. Internal and external mentors are brought in to guide the process which, as a whole, is designed not just to integrate new technology and build team dynamics but also to refresh the mindset of all those involved.
An offshoot of the in house accelerator is the Hackathon which combines the terms hack, which in this case means exploring programming options and marathon which refers to a contest which is long but still limited in time. It is seen as way to quickly develop new software by bringing together project managers, programmers, UI & UX designers and other talents from within an organization. The popularity of Hackathons has not been overlooked by sponsors and VC’s.
Over the past decade, they have evolved into major events which are not linked to any organization, have specific goals and award substantial prize money to the winners.
Opening innovation opportunities to parties outside of the organization is actually the entire point for bug bounty programs which are offered by many software developers, websites and even government agencies. The idea is to invite white hat hackers to find vulnerabilities in existing software or check programs/sites still in development for similar weaknesses or exploits. Some of the biggest companies in the world have such programs including Facebook, Google, Paypal and Apple.
What do you think would happen if we turned the entire startup formula on its head? That’s the idea of the switch pitch. Instead of having the startups pitch their solutions to the company, the company would explain what their needs to them. Corporate entities are doing this more often in recent years to try and drill down to specific needs while cutting down on the delivery time for new technologies.
In the cyber security field, the method of curated roundtable sessions is a popular method for CISO’s to exchange insights on trends in the industry as well as methods in combatting fraud, identity theft, service disruptions and more. Investors and sometimes even public policy makers are invited to participate as they consider the changing demands needed to increase cyber security as more industries and government agencies more to digital platforms.
Last but not least, external companies, like SOSA, which provide innovation Bootcamps and services to match a corporate and the relevant startup, are often the best catalysts for change in a company. Providing a deep understanding of the company’s needs with the proper connections to technology providers saves a great deal of time and resources for all parties allowing for a smoother transition for change.