Corporate R&D or Startups: Who will lead the next innovation?

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Today’s pace of innovation has been like never before. In the course of Crowd Product’s many a startup as well as corporate engagements, we have been privy to new solutions that leverage transformative technologies like Blockchain, IOT, AI-ML, Predictive Analytics, NLP & Text Analytics, AR-VR, Computer Vision and others, to realise goals. Alongside, there’s also been a raging debate in the innovation-led communities and among thought-leaders – on whether innovation happens at Corporate R&Ds or in the Startup community. The jury seems divided here.

In a recent tweet shared by YourStory media, India’s Minister of Commerce & Industry, Suresh Prabhu believes that R&D enters are not the only place where innovation happens, but innovation is led by startups today.

Several companies have R&D teams, where the best of talent are given the environment and resources to come up with new solutions. Organisations have also used creative techniques to ensure this talent is engaged productively. One example that comes to mind is the Internal Crowdfunding at IBM R&D. Here each of the 500 member were given US$100, and we asked to either propose an idea or use the money to contribute to projects of their colleges. This simple exercise brought out a micro-tasking site for the company.

TCS, which is among the world’s largest IT services brands and among the top 100 Most Innovative Companies in the world, has recently begun looking within for the next big technology solutionTCS NumbersEven as its closest Indian competitors, Infosys and Wipro, have invested in startups to unravel the next emerging technologies. As witnessed during the recent NASSCOM India Leadership Forum 2018 conference, Corporate-Startup matchmaking has become a trend. During the event one witnessed several corporate leaders interact with trending startups and on latest technology solutions.

While today’s corporates are pursuing a smart strategy, as in taking advantage of their internal R&D teams as well as engaging with innovative startups, another opportunity and a massive one is being missed out on by most organisations. Very few corporates have been engaging their larger workforce on ideas and solutions effectively. Such engagements has not only the potential to bring out the next big idea, but can also serve to address corporate cultural issues and team morale, where employees and their ideas are taken note of.

Corporate innovation I believe, and with data to back the claim, should not be restricted to a few individuals or designated teams, but open to the collective – that is every member of the organisation (and society at large). We have a solution and format to enable you engage your large teams more productively and to realise goals. Email me on to learn more.

Conference Crowd Engagement – 5 Learnings to Consider

In an earlier post I’d written about how corporates have leveraged crowdfunding. While corporates have been finding ways to engage with the innovation-led community online more productively, they somehow haven’t been able to engage effectively during offline events and conferences.

In a recent article I’d written on Entrepreneur Magazine, I share my experience on how conference organisers can offer much more to their delegates and partners. Inline with those shares, here I’m sharing how corporate brands can also prepare themselves to get the most out of their audience engagement. Some learnings:

a) Multitasking Galore
While the audience and crowd at event would also be multitasking, listening to sessions, attending workshops, visiting booths and networking, it’s essential to identify your target audience and also understand when and where to engage them during the conference. The best time would be during the conference breaks and when they’re on the move.

b) Better Connectivity
It be better to also not interrupt them and start demo-ing/selling and or just engaging with those at your stall, but to find it easy for the crowd to view and understand your product/offering without any human intervention. A good wireless connectivity platform or even a link/app can facilitate this.

c) Conferences for Learning
The question here is how do you enrich your audience even more, is there something new your can share with people around? Today’s event delegates, especially those from the millennial generation use events as a way to discover and learn new things. Look at the crowds at MakerFaire events, who are wow’ed with new discoveries.

d) Know Who are Attending
Half the job is taken care of, if one did a pre-event research on the profile of the audience attending the conference. Based on the attendee segments one could find their audience and reach out to them accordingly.

e) Share Expectations in Advance
It’s also useful to interact with the event stakeholders and organisers to understand and see what one could expect as takeaways from the event. This would be useful, especially if its the brand’s first time at the conference.

While brands continue engaging via online platforms, offline is a medium that could provide quality leads and a good ‘return on investment’ if one planned their offline engagement strategy well.