Faced by Today's CRO

The combination of entrepreneurial activity and corporate capabilities seems to be ideal for fostering innovative projects, but the inherent differences between large companies and start-ups make their collaboration a challenge. The primary responsibility of functional leaders who specialize in R&D, product development, and engineering are to develop and achieve analytical depth in sharply focused domains. When they take on the role of business leaders, they need to manage cross-functional teams, integrate departmental capabilities, and solve crucial organizational problems. But in a constantly disruptive business environment, how do companies rethink their innovation strategies, leverage their existing capabilities, improve efficiency, and take on calculated risks?

To meet these challenges, established companies are increasingly relying on corporate incubators to fuel innovation and growth using an entrepreneurial mindset. Start-ups are able to launch new products and services and devise new business models that disrupt the competitive advantages of incumbent firms," explains Miha Bobic, adding, “To benefit from the entrepreneurial and innovative dynamism of start-ups, large companies have begun to set up corporate incubators, which have emerged as a modern tool for innovation enabling the development of small teams capable of operating in a more flexible and un-bureaucratic environment, which certainly increases the pace of their actions.

Incubating the Solution

So, how does the incubator model
work in a corporate ecosystem?

The solution lies in recruiting employees with entrepreneurial potential, investing in knowledge articulation, and building a leadership that legitimizes the incubator to develop new ideas. Incubatees should be encouraged to adopt alternative approaches that differ from traditional thinking and organizational patterns. The combination of entrepreneurial activity and corporate capabilities seems to be ideal for fostering innovative projects, but the inherent differences between large companies and start-ups make their collaboration a challenge.

Most companies acknowledge the importance of innovation, yet often struggle with the practical implementation part. Incubators nurture disruptive ideas to transform them into solid business models and generally have an incubation period of 1-3 years. Accelerators are the next step in the process of helping young companies to expedite their growth and scale up their business models, and corporate incubator programs need to follow a similar pattern of being flexible and on demand. However, accelerator processes are highly structured and more straightforward as they involve scaling up the business model and last for 3-6 months, until the company has reached its predetermined and scaling goals. It's important to have a clear idea of how far you want to diversify from your core business, enter a new market or develop new products or services that are not yet in existence before planning a radical innovation strategy. While innovation is very essential to a company's survival, resources must be wisely allocated by a competent CRO who will have to decide which monetary resources will be available, whether strategic partnerships are necessary and which departments will be closely involved in order to reach the scale-up phase quickly and seamlessly.

From Legacy to Subscription.

A subscription-based business model holds the promise of recurring revenue but transforming a traditional business into a subscription business requires a huge shift from product focus to customer focus, with a commitment to providing real customer solutions. It may even involve changing the very DNA of a company. For companies to successfully shift to a subscription business model, there must be a compelling value that will encourage customers to subscribe, rather than be one-off consumers. One of the ways is by seeking out customer input, understanding customer needs and pain points then providing the necessary technology and services to enable customers to work in a more productive way.

Who's who

Miha Bobic

Vice President, Business Development and Product Portfolio - Danfoss, a global market leader which supports district energy companies with the green energy transition world-wide. Skilled in Product Lifecycle Management, DMAIC, Innovation Management, Failure Mode, and Effects Analysis (FMEA), and Industrial Engineering, Miha Bobic has revitalized the Product Portfolio of District Energy Systems at Danfoss by unlocking the potential of artificial intelligence, connectivity, and optimization tools, making it possible for the utilities and service providers to effectively meet the growing demands for energy efficiency while improving business operations and costs.

Deb Deep Sengupta

Chief Revenue Officer - Cloud4C, Board Advisor, Investor, Former CEO SAP India & South Asia. Deep has a proven track record of building “Winning Culture", inspiring next generation leaders, transforming legacy software business to Cloud (SaaS) market leadership, incubating new businesses to global scale & GTM. Deep's passion for growth-oriented businesses have led him to investing and advising Founders & CEO's in B2B SaaS/Deep Tech Start-ups across many different areas. As an Investor & Board Advisor, he helps mid-stage and late-stage start-ups with their GTM and growth strategies across People, Products, Process, & Pipeline. He is also a Mentor/Adjunct Faculty for London Business School's Executive Programs for CXO's focused on growth and transformation.