Tuesday, March 12, 2013

FIRESTARTERS: Creative Business Models

FIRESTARTERS is one of the five learning formats used in the three concurrent workshop streams during the FEI EMEA conference. In this format three industry leaders present a 10 minute presentation  on different areas of the same topic, followed by 15 minute of joint Q&A. I really liked this format - it kept everything moving along really quickly, provided three different perspectives, and worked well.

We had Rudi Broos from Alcatel-Lucent, Scout Herremans from Air France KLM, and Mike Addison from Procter & Gamble talking on 'Creative Business Models'.

Rudi (@rudibroos) presented an update on the Alcatel-Lucent Intrapreneurial Boot Camp and how the pilot programme had shifted from being a local initiative, to attracting the attention of global management. This four month programme was focused on generating ideas. Some of the key lessons he provided out of their experience was the importance of having the full innovation life cycle in place, the right funding and decision making already sorted, and he reiterated that people were most important in making it work.

Scout provided a slightly different view with the KLM 'BlueChallenge' programme that is targeted at the 9,000 crew on board to find ideas out of a four week 'challenge'. They have run three challenges to date, with a challenge more about a specific issue or opportunity than just general idea generation.

Mike then talked about the Procter & Gamble 'Future Works' experience. Here a corporate incubator was established to explore channels and services that were outside the core business of P&G. Some of the key elements of this model was that: the areas of investigation were determined from the top, reporting was to the top team, the focus was on killer issues, and an idea was "nothing without a partner". Mike stressed the difference in this model and an 'ideas shop', and that real businesses had come out of this initiative.

The Q&A was well used, with it again coming out that CEO commitment is essential for any of these models to work, and focus is important - you will always generate many more ideas than you can work with.


Dr Claire McGowan is founding Director of Commercialisation Advisors Limited (COMMA) and been actively involved in technology commercialisation and investment. She has a PhD in Molecular Microbiology and MBA from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand. She has experience in the venture capital and investment banking industries, as well as personally building and growing companies. Her passion is in assisting entrepreneurs and inventors to build successful companies. She achieves this through her board roles on research and investment organisations and IP Market, as well as her Chair role with The Executive Connection (TEC). @clairemcgowan @ipmarket

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