The Innovation Enterprise organized an inspiring and informative conference in San Francisco this past week, The Chief Innovation Officer Summit. I found three of the presentations really relevant to the concepts I discuss in my forthcoming book "Collective Disruption: How Corporations and Startups Can Co-create Breakthrough New Businesses".
One was from Carie Davis and her team's efforts to drive entrepreneurial activities inside of Coca Cola. I was impressed by the human approach to innovation that this group is taking. Here's a link to the Startup Weekend event they imported from the startup world. In my framework, I would call this an "inside-in" approach to breakthrough innovation where intrapreneurial teams and support are put in place. It's an effective approach, appropriate where the goal is to drive more entrepreneurial thinking and not necessarily disruptive new business ventures.
Another interesting talk came from was from Andy Donner sharing the story of Unilever's Go Global Initiative to connect Unilever brands for collaboration with digital startups. I especially appreciated the direct brand/startup collaboration and in-market pilots this led to. In my framework, this is a type of "outside-in" collaboration where startups are imbedded with corporate teams and is especially effective in ensuring better integration and hopefully having some of that startup DNA rub off on corporate teams.
Probably the most inspirational talk at the Chief Innovation Summit this week was from Kyle Nel presenting Lowes Innovation Labs and their efforts to envision and create future prototypes that can demostrate breakthrough opportunities for Lowes and their customers. Kyle lead's Lowes Innovation Labs with locations in San Francisco and Los Angeles, with a dedicated lab under construction in Boulder. Under the theme of Uncommon Partnerships, Lowes is partnering with such diverse groups as Singularity University and SciFutures. Lowes is actually using Sci Fi narratives to envision create future opportunities then actually them via prototypes. The first example: The Holoroom. In my framework, this is "Inside-out" innovation where the focus is disruption and the effort is outsourced to partnerships (such as Singularity) and/or dedicated teams and corporate incubators. Great for protecting these efforts from corporate anti-bodies, this approach requires significant senior level support to link these efforts back to the corporation. Kyle clearly has this senior support and Lowe's is getting amazing PR value from the effort which not only helps Lowes in its perception but can send a message to the entire organization of the importance of breakthrough and disruptive innovation.
What a great event this week, and one that gave me some great new examples of Collective Disruption in action. Sign up on the mailing list and we'll send you a notice when the book is published in a few more months!