Digital & Innovation

Corporate Incubator

A corporate incubator is a separate department or organisation that is spun-off from the main corporation to act as a dedicated home for the development of new and often risky ideas. The rigid hierarchical and functional structure of most corporations makes them a poor environment for the development of new ideas, so a separate entity is established where a different operational model and work culture more conducive to innovation can thrive.

While most corporations recognise the critical importance of new ideas to their long term competitiveness and the strategic benefits of establishing a corporate incubator, they are also aware of the challenges involved in establishing a viable and effective corporate incubator.

An effective corporate incubator is far more than just a dedicated physical location and some funding. It requires a clear and focused vision for the types of products, technologies or business models to be developed that is in line with your overall corporate strategy. It also requires a thorough operational model for finding talent, creating teams and evaluating projects.

There are no half measures when it comes to corporate incubator management, which is why it makes sense to let an experienced Consultport consultant provide support with the development and implementation of your corporate incubator.

  • Incubation Strategy:  The first and most important step in any corporate incubator development is the establishment of a clear and focused incubation strategy. Successful corporate incubators have highly specific goals and expected outcomes that are strategically-aligned with the long term vision for the corporation. Establishing the precise expectations for your corporate incubator is essential before any further steps can be taken.
  • Talent and Organisation: The entire purpose of a corporate incubator is to provide an alternative environment and organisational structure that is more conducive to innovation. That is why the people used and the decision-processes established are essential to your corporate incubator’s success. A consultant can help you to ensure that you find the people with the right mix of entrepreneurial zeal and reliability, as well as establishing appropriate protocols for decision-making within your corporate incubator.
  • Operating Model: While the daily operations of a corporate incubator will differ from those of a traditional corporation, the incubator still requires a clearly defined operating model that teams must follow to take their original ideas and turn them into viable outcomes that can be integrated back into the corporation. Moreover, the process of reintegration must be clearly established so that your existing corporate structure can make the most effective use of the incubator’s products. The design of this operating model is a critical element to your corporate incubator’s success.
  • Funding: For a corporate incubator to stand the test of time it must have a dedicated funding arrangement that accounts for the operating costs to the main corporation and considers the value of the products that emerge from its operation. It is inadequate for a corporation to simply book the corporate incubator as a cost. Rather it must be considered in terms of both its costs and benefits, with a clear means for evaluating where the money is being spent within the incubator and where the value is emerging from it.
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