A while ago, I posted an article on the role of large organizations in innovation and argued that large organizations had particular advantages to develop innovative solutions, only if they knew how to utilize those advantages.
Recently, the Global Innovation Index 2013 was published. This year’s edition focused on the local dynamics of innovation. In the report, Chapter 4 titled The Role of Enterprise Champions in Strengthening Innovation Hubs attracted my attention. The authors of the chapter argue that innovation hubs take 15-30 years of sustained public-private collaboration to become effective. The authors conclude the chapter with the following statement: “With [enterprise] champions, the odds of creating a successful innovation hub rise significantly; without them, the odds of failure are almost certain.”
I thought this chapter provided an elegant complement to my earlier argument. Large organizations (enterprises) have a lot going for them when it comes to creating innovative solutions. Unfortunately, they also have to weather strong internal headwinds to be successful in implementing innovation. Innovation hubs intend to fill this gap but I am yet to see a successful example. The problem is the “white space” between innovation hubs and enterprises. Ideally, there should be a small overlap between the needs and capabilities of hubs and enterprises. In reality, there is a gap, which I call the “white space”, between the needs and capabilities. And, this gap is creating a huge barrier for effective collaboration.
Under government funding and support, innovation hubs are trying to fill the gap but there is a role for enterprises to actively pursue the same. One-sided push is not effective. It is time for enterprises to start investing into bridging the gap, creating skill centres and capabilities to interface with innovation hubs.
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