Combining Open Innovation with Corporate Ventures

by Stefan Lindegaard

Combining Open Innovation with Corporate VenturesI recently wrote a blog post, Is Open Innovation Replacing Corporate Venturing? which got lots of comments here and especially in our 15inno LinkedIn group.

One comment came from Ignaas Caryn, who is Director of Innovation and Venturing at Air France KLM. He suggests a more holistic approach to innovation including a kind of a hybrid model for corporate venture and open innovation. I agree.

As I always like to hear what corporate people have to say on such matters, this is the full comment given by Ignaas:

“I think corporate venturing and open innovation (e.g. supplier innovation) are very complementary and should be part of a holistic approach to innovation. The same can be said of engaging in early stage and later stage ventures at the same time (which I agree can and perhaps should be treated in a different way) to create short term innovation and secure long(er) term options.

Furthermore a close cooperation between industry players, knowledge institutions and government organizations should be part of the innovation strategy as well, especially in early stage but also later on. Such a holistic approach could make innovation and corporate venturing less depending on the economic cycles or changing CEO’s.

For example at KLM, we engage with Dutch start-ups (early stage) via the Mainport Innovation Fund. Next to KLM, also the Schiphol Group, Delft University of Technology and Rabobank are partners in this seed capital fund. This way the fund can act not only as a financial investor in start-ups, but also as a strategic partner. For example, KLM and/or Schiphol can act as ‘launching customer’, share industry and market knowledge, etc.

The fund is also offers the opportunity to scout early stage companies and developments.

Later stage ventures are set-up directly with relevant parties, for example suppliers, to bring on board all needed competencies. The format of cooperation varies from long-term cooperation agreements to setting -up joint ventures.

In both approaches the (short term or longer term) link with the current business(es) is carefully defined and business owners/sponsors involved. For the short term link(s) there is a close cooperation with the relevant business unit(s) from the moment the opportunity is explored to secure the business integration and benefits later on.

In conclusion, no guarantees, but a hybrid model increases the chances of success considerably.”

Ignaas, thanks for your perspective!

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Stegan LindegaardStefan Lindegaard is a speaker, network facilitator and strategic advisor who focus on the topics of open innovation, intrapreneurship and how to identify and develop the people who drive innovation.