How Modern Companies Get Smart: Activate Startup Trendspotting

Why Focus on Innovation

Corporate Case Studies to Activate your Innovation

We know that corporations are increasingly hunting for new ideas to stay current and even gain an edge on the competition. We discuss this throughout our latest edition of our Insight Series: Activate Startup Trendspotting Case Study. The in-depth report is available cost-free for download.

What else are companies doing to uncover opportunities to better develop – or reinvent – their offerings and businesses?

From our birds’ eye view of the global innovation landscape, we see that more and more companies are seeking complete knowledge of the global innovation ecosystem. They are not just seeking new ideas.

Corporations are looking to answer three key questions:

Startup Trendspotting- A Hot “Must”

Innovation trendspotting is a critical activity by corporations because staying competitive is becoming harder for them. Consumers can only buy so much of a company’s products and services. Market offerings and overall branding become stale with time.

There are many more reasons why corporations look to understand where innovation is bubbling up, what types of inventions are being developed, and which startups are leading the way.

Our takeaway is that understanding innovation trends and getting closer to its sources has become a “must” for companies wanting to keep ahead of the curve.

Innovation is Key to Competitive AdvantageIn our latest report, we discuss one such forward-thinking company, Isomer Capital. Acting on behalf of one of its most important clients, they turned to UBI Global. They sought key research and insight about the worldwide innovation ecosystem in a very specific area: the five senses. Targeting key markets in Europe, they sought to understand new developments by startups that were offering new products and services within their interest domain.

Download Activate Startup Trendspotting Case Study, for a closer look. The report provides a thought-provoking look at how large organizations are embracing young, innovative startups in different ways, in order to support key business needs.

Beware: Next Steps Are Risky

Smart companies and their forward-thinking leaders are looking to connect the dots and identify hotBeware Investing in Startups Can Be Risky trends (i.e., “trendspotting”) in product and services around the world. Their goal is to determine if these trends can be leveraged, incorporated, or- in the case of impending disruption- deflected.

Understanding where this innovation is occurring and which startups are leading the way is key. But how can companies do this quickly, accurately, and to what end?

Corporate trendspotting is part art, part science, as innovation managers and leaders will agree.

An early-stage startup will not yet have the sales numbers with which to predict that their business idea will “work”.  Corporations spending time and money on these startups require a leap of faith- or an experienced partner who recognizes the early signs of success.

UBI Global is one such knowledgable and well-connected partner. With a network (known as the interactive learning community) of more than 1200 business incubators and accelerators from over 90 different countries.

In sum, members represent over 20,000 startups worldwide.

Incubated Startups Are More Successful According to The World Benchmark StudyUBI Global knows where innovation is happening and by whom. Member programs that participate in its gold standard research initiative called The World Benchmark Study, have demonstrated a very important trait.

Their startups are more successful.

With a 5-year average survival rate of 59 percent, UBI Global member programs outperform non-incubated startups by 15 percentage points.

Download Activate Startup Trendspotting Case Study to learn more about how corporations, like Isomer Capital, leverage innovation in different ways to achieve business goals.

Previous Installments of the UBI Global Insight Series:

Activate Your Innovation with the World Incubation Summit 2019 (WIS19)

World Incubation Summit 2019 by UBI GlobalAttending a conference, symposium, or industry event is exciting on a personal and professional level. The networking and experience are invaluable for your program, but you need to justify the time away from daily responsibilities and the cost, which is easy with a quality event like the World Incubation Summit 2019.

What is WIS19?

Doha, Qatar is the site of The World Incubation Summit 2019 by UBI GlobalWIS19 is the World Incubation Summit 2019, organized by UBI Global for incubators and accelerators, corporate partners, investors, innovation agencies, supporters, and select startups and entrepreneurs. Hosted by Qatar Development Bank (QDB) in one of the most ambitious innovation ecosystems in the world – Doha, Qatar – WIS19 is the event of the year for the global innovation community.

By invitation only, WIS19 attracts the most relevant actors in the global innovation ecosystem. The event focuses on the most important topics for business incubators and accelerators and concentrates the audience for the most impactful associations. Building on the success of WIS18 in Toronto, Canada, WIS19 will provide information and associations that will dramatically improve the programs in attendance.

8 Reasons You Must Attend WIS19

We are sharing the following eight reasons to attend WIS19 this November 4 through 7, which come from post-event surveys and testimonials from completed summits.

  1. Partnership Potential. Now is the time to form impactful connections and WIS19 is the place! Gathered by special invitation, incubator and accelerator managers, corporate decision makers, government officials, and other innovation professionals all gather at WIS19 to discover new ways to make an impact on their local and global innovation ecosystem.
  1. Education. Four interactive days of enrichment activities, panel discussions, networking opportunities, and collaborative interaction make up the WIS19 program, with the theme of “Activate Your Innovation”. Incubator and accelerator managers will learn new ways to transform their programs and create more success for themselves and their startups while eliminating barriers.
  1. Personal Connections. Having a shared vision and culture of innovation is not possible in isolation, which is why most attendees agree that networking is a powerful reason to attend WIS19. The connections formed at WIS19 offer immediate opportunities for knowledge and growth as well as long-term possibilities for future collaboration and even career opportunities.
  1. Meet the Community. Sure, you interact on UBI Connect and receive our Engage newsletter for the latest information on the community, but nothing compares with putting a face with a name. WIS19 is your chance to meet peers, mentors, and heroes, but also to meet the UBI Global staff of professionals, impact-makers, and all-around nice people.
  1. Location, Location, Location. Qatar may not be on your travel bucket list – but it should be. With relaxed visa requirements and amazing culture, cuisine, and climate, Qatar welcomes tourists from around the world to widen their travel horizons. Experience the rapid development of one of the most ambitious innovation ecosystems in the world. Qatar Development Bank is hosting WIS19 to make sure the global innovation community has the opportunity to learn about the infrastructure and the exciting innovation that occurs throughout Doha and the country itself.
  1. Awards and Recognition. The results of The World Benchmark Study 2019 – 2020 will be announced at WIS19, with the top-ranked incubators and accelerators named and awarded in front of their peers. As part of a gala event on the closing evening, the top-ranked awards are eagerly anticipated by programs all over the world.
  1. Professional and Personal Inspiration. Meeting other business incubator and accelerator professionals who work in a similar fashion provides inspiration beyond the four walls of your office. Attending WIS19 is a way to get inspired just by being around passionate, talented peers in the same industry. Events like WIS19 that are so exclusive and completely targeted to the innovation ecosystem do not come along every day; WIS19 is THE event to network and be inspired!
  1. Long-Term ROI. Attending WIS19 gives programs exposure to the wider world of innovation through potential corporate partnerships and governmental initiatives. Long after the conference has closed and the last top-ranked award is presented, relationships forged over the four action-packed days of WIS19 will endure over time.

Registration is now open! To get your invitation to WIS19, apply here.

Attending WIS19 is another step on the pathway of building your program’s success, so do not let anything stand in your way. It is time to learn the most valuable information your program could possibly have, overcome challenges, and drive improvement. You will not find this experience anywhere else but WIS19 – discover more on the official WIS19 website and express your interest to receive an invitation to activate your innovation!

Openings are available to sponsor program segments or to become a speaker for WIS19, so get in touch with us here to join the most interactive innovation event of the year!

Remember to keep on top of the global innovation landscape by downloading UBI Global’s free reports:

Activate Corporate Innovation

Corporate Case Studies to Activate your Innovation

Join us as we tell our journey through seven compelling areas of innovation featuring real-world case studies of corporations that relied on UBI Global research and partners to gain a better understanding of the global innovation landscape.

We know that innovation is top of mind for businesses looking to stay competitive. In a study of CEO priorities around the world, Gartner has discovered that growth is still high on the agenda for corporate leaders, and the methods to achieve this growth rely heavily on innovation. Shifting the corporate culture to include innovation, while at the same time having a clear vision of future market trends requires not only commitment, it also relies upon strong partners that possess deep knowledge of the global innovation landscape.

Download: Lessons in Corporate Innovation – 7 Case Studies in Activation, the fourth installment of our Insight Series. The report provides a thought-provoking look at how large organizations are embracing young, innovative startups through partnerships and knowledge to support business needs in key areas. The report spotlights solutions for:

Featuring insightful quotes from Aline Santos, EVP for Global Marketing at Unilever, and Amanda Cumberland, Research Lead at Cisco Corporate Affairs, with many other industry leaders, Lessons in Corporate Innovation provides an insightful picture on how to scale successful innovation in the corporate business model as well as product development.

Download: Lessons in Corporate Innovation – 7 Case Studies in Activation

Driving Innovation

Lessons in Corporate Innovation – 7 Case Studies on Activation includes one of the most important areas of education that most corporations take years to learn themselves – that company culture drives innovation. Large corporations can sometimes spend years, not to mention millions of dollars, to stimulate a diverse environment that spans countries, cultures, and industries. The Corporate Case Studies in this Insights Series sought to achieve innovation through creative thinking and a clear picture of the global innovation ecosystem.

Activation Now

Interest from corporations into the world of business incubators and accelerators is evident; over one third of the UBI Global member programs benchmarked reported at least one corporate partner. It is through these partnerships that corporations secure their future competitive advantage while simultaneously protecting their core brand identity.

The fourth installment of our Insight Series is a must-read for programs who want to understand corporate needs and goals. Lessons in Corporate Innovation is also a great read for corporations of any size, as it provides a clear reflection of seven innovation priorities at the heart of every brand strategy, no matter the location or industry.

Value of Collaboration

Realizing the value of innovation starts with education on the global landscape, and UBI Global is dedicated to enabling worldwide collaborations that impact innovation. We offer international events, insights, tools, consulting, and more to activate your innovation through our interactive learning community. This network consists of more than 1200 business incubators and accelerators from over 90 different countries. Our members represent over 20,000 startups worldwide. As the curator of this interactive learning community, we are sharing our knowledge of corporations in Lessons in Corporate Innovation – 7 Case Studies in Activation

Previous Installments of the UBI Global Insight Series:

Download Lessons in Corporate Innovation – 7 Case Studies on Activation and gain a new understanding of the global innovation landscape.

A Question of Innovation…

Corporations may recognize that they could use a good dose of innovation, and some seek startups as a shortcut to creative thinking. They may become enamored by a startup’s product, service, or even social focus. However, they must understand that an investment in time and money needs a more solid justification. Whether the startup is well structured and set up for its success is what corporations should look for when entertaining ideas of how to “acquire” innovation. Does the startup’s activities align with the corporation’s purpose and needs? How can one tell a quality startup from a flash in the pan? Is all innovation created equally?

Incubated Startups- A Smart Choice!

According to our research, if the startup is incubated  by a formal program, there is a greater chance of success. After all, the reputation of the business incubator or accelerator is one type of success predictor for the startup (and by extension: the investment made by the corporation.) We certainly have some advice based on our experience in the innovation landscape and based on our extensive network of incubators and accelerators worldwide. Yes, sourcing startups through programs is a better exercise in efficiency and risk mitigation. And yes, identifying which programs have the startups that align with a corporation’s business goals can be easy. (Ask us!)

Startups for Innovation: The Best Idea

Now, let’s understand the top 5 reasons looking to startups for innovation is the best idea. For corporations, having greater insight into why one is targeting startups is an important first step in setting expectations- and even rallying support internally. How can corporate innovation leaders  explain why they are turning to startups as sources of ideas, product improvements, and new channels? What can they expect from collaborations and even investment? What can they communicate internally when spending time researching “what’s out there”?

#1: Crafty Creativity

Large corporations, over time, become bogged down by process and status quo. They develop portfolios and work to maintain them with steady growth. In today’s world, big corporations know they must innovate and to do that, they need to makeover their mindset. Though they may understand this intellectually, the reality of finding fresh ideas is another challenge entirely. An infusion of new employees does not always “do the trick”. What corporations often need is to access the innovation bubbling from fearless startups. These startups are lean, hungry, and crafty- and not afraid to think outside the box.

#2: Brand Botox

A corporation’s personality is captured in its brand, and realizing it may need a facelift can be a frightening realization. Where does one begin to brainstorm more attainable ways to modernize or even branch out? Often, looking within its own ranks does not produce an unbiased nor a creative approach. We find that looking outward is a solution. Startups become the key to finding innovative versions of a corporation’s own brand, with products or services that can become clever complements or extensions.

#3: Faster Solutions, Fewer Risks

Business incubators and accelerators in our Case Studies 2018 report were quick to point out one of the top reasons big corporations work with them is to increase speed to market (and with less risk.) In working with a startup, the company decreases the dangers to its own resources in case of failure. In the event of success, the corporation brings forth a new product or service in a faster way thanks to less bureacracy, leaner processes, and so on. This is likely the most CFO-friendly reason why corporate leaders seek startups as a way to source innovation.

#4: Exponential Expansion

We learn from our community of 1200+ incubators and accelerators worldwide that corporations consistently compliment startups’ ability to work quickly to scale up solutions. With less beauracracy and formality, startups have the ability to bring a minimal viable product to market, test it, then rework it as needed. They can more quickly react to market reception and adjust the offering. Corporations in turn, find ways to test ideas in specific geographies or customer segments- quickly, thanks to collaborations with startups.

#5: Finding the Pearl

It seems the startup ecosystem is abuzz with hot technologies and unique applications. An established corporation may not understand how to apply trends such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Big Data, Gamification, and even Digital Health to existing products, services, and operations. According to our Innovation Landscape whitepaper, the majority of startups worldwide are working within these areas. As a corporation, the trick then becomes how to envision incorporating one of these industries- and where to begin. To find the pearl, many corporations approach startups for a consultation or idea session.

Corporations: Here’s How to Activate Your Innovation

UBI Global recognizes that corporations are faced with an ever-constant pressure to remain competitive. Seeking innovation via partnerships with business incubators and accelerators and even direct investments in and collaborations with startups are certainly ways to stay ahead. However, these actions must be guided. As part of our leadership in the global innovation ecosystem, we make it our business to know the actors worldwide and to identify the top players.

Interested in sourcing innovation, exploring specific industry sectors, or understanding particular geographies? We have an entire menu of tried and true options to help you Activate Your Innovation in a focused, efficient way. These services range from simple introductions to star incubators to in-depth, custom reports and even event participation or sponsorship such as in our upcoming World Incubation Summit in Qatar. Sourcing innovation via startups is smart; it’s smarter still with an experienced expert.

Contact [email protected] to explore the possibilities.