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Innovation 2021 – How Corporate Innovation Will Succeed this Year

Our guide to developing innovation intelligence in any corporate environment

As we move further into 2021, many of us have a lot to be thankful for, having seen some amazing examples of innovation amid the pandemic across industries of all sizes. From new ways to order, deliver, and pay in retail outlets and restaurants to e-learning environments and secure remote working in almost every business, the market was turned upside down and the innovation community reacted. Typically, innovation is the domain of startup companies, so how corporate innovation will succeed this year involves finely tuned innovation intelligence. 

Sure, most corporations would tell you that they are going to listen to their customer base, continuously improve their product offering, and drive cost out of their daily operations. The startups redefining and disrupting the market are not even on the radar. Why? The lack of innovation intelligence within the corporation itself. This article aims to give direction to corporate innovation seekers by outlining the basic steps to a successful innovation strategy – Direction, Purpose, Resources, and Collaboration.


This is the beginning of any innovation intelligence; identifying the one important, measurable result needed from the innovation strategy. This is typically a specific revenue number, based on current product offerings and set goals. A challenging, but believable and measurable result, in other words. Then, corporations must be clear about how far they are willing to go to achieve this result. For instance, they are willing to serve a new market but absolutely draw the line at moving from a product-focused company to a service model.


With a direction set and success on the horizon, it would be tempting to just start brainstorming and creating new ideas or paying for a database service to pump out startup companies that might be suitable to build an innovation strategy around. However, without a sense of purpose, a company’s innovation intelligence can wither and die. The purpose is defined by your company’s sustainable competitive advantage. It is what design is to Apple, what logistics is to Amazon, and what R&D and branding is to Proctor & Gamble.


The third necessity to an innovation intelligence strategy is resources. This includes crucial but not necessarily continuous needs such as R&D, marketing, legal services, financial analysis, and IT resources. While many large companies have these resources, often they are tied up in the daily operations and not available to innovation teams on a regular basis. Special consideration should be given when forming an internal innovation strategy so that these resources are on hand.


Ask any company what has changed with the pandemic of 2020 and they may overlook one crucial thing; collaboration. In the pre-pandemic world, many businesses were somewhat insular with regard to external collaboration, especially in regard to innovating new products and services. For 2021 and beyond, the key to successful innovation will be collaborations with external entities to form partnerships that provide knowledge and solve problems in developing new technologies.

What is reactive disruption? Learn about the effect of COVID-19 on the global innovation ecosystem through this article.

Going forward, the trajectory of collaboration will change and adapt to the way corporations search for innovation intelligence. Successful strategies will require a global mindset and a diverse team structure, which many corporations can find difficult to manage. Internal struggles to successfully innovate new, disruptive solutions with meaningful value to the company may kill off any hope of innovation. So what is the long-term collaboration that leads to successful innovation intelligence?

Access the Global Innovation Ecosystem

UBI Global is an innovation intelligence company and community of business incubators and accelerators. These programs have large networks of mentors and professionals that pour energy and resources into enrolled startup companies to research and develop the disruptive technologies that impact the world. Our community includes some of the most well-networked, operationally experienced business incubators and accelerators in the world. 

These programs are responsible for developing startups that are more successful, with a 5-year survival rate of 59 percent, which outperforms non-incubated startups by 15 percentage points. Moreover, top-performing business incubators and accelerators supported ventures with over $3.2 billion in sales over the past five years. 

Amazing startups delivered directly to your inbox, no search required! Corporate innovation seekers – sign up for UBI Spotlight here!

We are the answer to successful corporate innovation!

UBI Global corporate matching initiatives go beyond a superficial search for a list of possible startups. We get to know innovation intelligence and strategy at the corporate level, do deep research to match corporations with high-quality startups, business incubators, or accelerators that open the doors to the global innovation ecosystem. Sign up for some innovation intelligence through impactful collaboration. 

Click below to schedule a call with UBI Global Innovation Manager Lucas Molin

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