Uber, Airbnb, DropBox, Shopify, and SpaceX are just a few of the latest startups incredibly disrupting the whole industry. They are part of the many companies struggling to innovate and leverage technology for their own growth while trying to dismantle the traditional leaders of the apex. And indeed they signal what the established names are wary of now and again in the future!

Digital transformation is here with us, and thus innovation is table stakes. The SAP Leonardo platform is at the forefront of this change, offering an integrated approach to how they can capitalize on technology through IoT, Cloud, Blockchain, Mobile and Big Data. The happening knows no industry, be it auto, hospitality, food, aeronautics or music.

But the interesting aspect is set to be even more enjoyable. Traditionally, it is tough for well-known corporate brands to remain innovative, especially once everything starts rolling on smoothly and profits start to trickle in. More substantial and almost inflexible, these corporations will prefer to stay abreast with venture-backed startups whose hunger for transformation, more customers and shaping the scene seem insatiable.

Nothing best highlights this fact than the rapidly reducing average lifespan of an S&P 500 company. A century ago, it was about 70 years, but nowadays, a great name can fall to its knees in nearly 15 years with the primary reason being the inability to innovate. If only they would use technology to innovate and stay competitive!

How they can innovate – turning disruption threats into windows of innovation

It is insane that the new entrants are now utilizing value once created by the large companies. Scary as it may sound, it is also fascinating that these similar ‘unicorns’ are emerging nowadays at an exponential rate, unlike a year or two ago. They are actively disrupting the vertical markets, basically using a specific type of Technology Company as captured by this statistics.

From a simple glance, it seems the sheer volume of investment channeled at the tech firms is incredible. Many will say such acts equals flushing the money down the drain, which could be true given that as many as 95% of all startups fail. But it is the remaining 5% that end up making a difference in the industry.

The total amount spent on investment is what to pay attention to when you decide to push your firm’s innovation agenda. But because there’s no guarantee of success, carefully analyze the costs and they type of companies capable of making it from a similar amount. First of all, make sure you understand what you’re doing, keep your eyes open and the brain working.

Through such an idea, you will be able to tell the pressure points, the real source of power and where both emanate from. New Venture Capital is a renowned name in the world of investment, and you may use it to better your understanding.

You may view technologies like Cloud and Mobile as the best ones for innovation. But it seems the startup world is past them, now focusing on what’s called the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” and how AI is bringing forth several incredible opportunities. You need to keep up with the technology trending now and be on tabs with the rapidly changing technology landscape.

Technologies are a lot more important than anything if you need to innovate. And though you can just pluck one from the shelf, innovation is a new art that ought to be done by skilled experts. Turning an idea into a product can’t be possible with ordinary minds, even when it isn’t an exclusive invention.

A 4-Step Framework to accelerate Corporate Innovation in Startups

Agility is vital if you would like to be better than your competitors. It is a significant trait amongst Fortune 500 companies that have decided to stay on top of the game all the time, digitally transform themselves and be organized. You just have to look at Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook and how their organizational structure is – they have a separate portfolio for in-house startups!

Given that it is the same startups that are creating the changes in the corporate world, much of their effects emanate from accelerated innovation. Consider the following idea:

  • Discover – it is the first stage that involves finding an innovative startup in a pool of prospective ones. Such an approach helps lower the risk of failure and is based on accelerating partnerships, utilizing innovation outposts and performing technology scouting.  
  • Learn – the chosen startups are then invited to showcase their offers, learn and pitch through a well-organized program.
  • Engage – arguably the most crucial stage given the risks like misaligned incentives; the major challenge is to keep the startup environment unchanged and empower the brains behind the idea. It is all about building the system through constant innovative development and testing it further.
  • Accelerate – innovation is a process, but it can be accelerated when the “innovation dilemma” is overcome. It could be corporate restructuring, outsourcing of all essential functions, etc.

Large incumbents innovate by using innovation tours, partnerships, in-house Research and Developments, acquisition of successful startups and a lot more techniques. Of course, all these could be expensive and beyond a startup’s reach. They don’t necessarily guarantee positive results. And in the end, it is the wise words by Meg Whitman that matter.

We’re now living in an Idea Economy where success is defined by the ability to turn ideas into value faster than your competition,” she said.