Innovation: A necessity, not a competitive advantage

Written by

Diana Florescu

Innovation: A necessity, not a competitive advantage

When you don’t strive to innovate, you no longer have a team working for you. You’re actually in charge of…



...A bunch of robots working on an assembly line, regardless of your market.

The thing is: we already have machines for that.

So to stay relevant in the global, digital economy, you need to foster creativity and innovation.

A great way to do that is Venture Building.

What is Venture Building?



Venture building is a smart way to utilize your resources.

It’s a new way to innovate and create innovation capitalization.

On top, it’s a fast way to turn niches towards a digital model, instead of a classic one.

Stefan, could you be more specific?

Venture building is a business and product development approach that incentivizes the creation of new products or services from scratch.

A venture builder is also called a startup studio or venture factory, and it’s the model that gave us big names like Medium or Twitter.

Basically: a startup that creates startups.

Now, your company doesn’t have to shift its business model towards a venture builder entirely.

But you can be inspired by venture building.

And here’s what we do best.

The best ways to build innovative products

We’ll talk about frameworks in a bit.

For now, let’s draft some important elements that incentivize innovation.

#1 Mindset



The right mindset will breed innovation automatically.

For any of this to be worth it, you need to be aligned towards change.

Even more importantly, you need to be willing to invest time, money and energy towards innovation.

Whether that’s reading this article, understanding the 15% rule, or giving people in your organization the resources to apply their ideas.

You need to be dedicated. And the best way to do that is to expect failures.

Let me tell you a story.

Dan is a product manager in a big corporation. He’s been allowed to dedicate time for creativity, and he thought of a new distribution channel for the product he’s in charge of.

Now, his means are unorthodox.

But it all looks good on paper.

And if Dan’s distribution channel is validated, they could turn it into a service for other companies in the same market.

But, it goes wrong.

Dan doesn’t meet the KPIs he set, and the project is shut down.

This shouldn’t be treated as a mistake.

Rather, Dan should be encouraged to analyze what went wrong and execute better next time.

If you bring Dan down, he’s not going to dedicate himself to innovation. And you’ll only have a trusty robot working at your company, not for your company.

Got that covered?

Once you have the right mindset, it’s time to target your innovation efforts.

#2 Collaboration



You’ll usually see innovation happening at the crossroads of industries.

Ever since The Medici Effect, we’ve known that the best ideas are born in between established disciplines.

And it’s the same thing with innovation. You’ll usually see it flourish when it brings two or three industries together.

Like blockchain technology: it is revolutionary because it mixes finances and technology.

That’s what you (and your employees) should be on the lookout for.

And that’s how you target your innovation efforts.

But there’s (at least) one more ingredient to add into the mix.

#3 Adaptability, Flexibility, Speed



Your target audience changed.

That’s because you’re no longer selling to a regular consumer…

You’re selling to a global consumer.

Who has access to both products and information from all across the globe.

To be able to serve them, you need to adapt, you need to be flexible.

Most importantly, you can’t adapt in due time…

You need to do it fast.

If you don’t your competitors will. This is why innovation is no longer a competitive advantage or something you can dedicate to a little bit. It’s a necessity if you want to survive in the global, digital economy.

This is where we come back to that willingness to dedicate resources to venture building.

If your employees are go-getters, innovative ideas and flawless execution won’t be in short demand. You need to adapt and support their ideas. Fast.

However, it’s not all reactive.

You need the right framework to breed innovation.

The Venture Development Framework



Structural developments are just as important for building innovative products.

A lot of companies have a pretty clear framework for capitalizing on innovation: they’ll hunt external startups and have them roll different projects.

That used to be a cheap solution. Not the most cost-effective. It depends on company preference and needs.

On top, there’s a trend of companies not being content with these frameworks, because they’re getting more expensive each day, and because they’re not a sure fit and fix for internal struggles.

Venture development works the other way around.

Valuable ideas are born inside your company, and they’re executed with internal resources too.

The resulting synergy is immensely valuable.

That’s because you develop a startup (or startup-like structure) focused on your company’s problems.

It’s easy to hunt external teams. But you can give a degree of independence to your internal, innovative teams too.

That way, you don’t deal with internal bureaucracy, you can rely on industry experts, and you can allocate a small budget in the beginning, then rely on venture capital and grants for scaling the product or service.

Hey, we didn’t say it was easy.

And you definitely need the mindset, collaboration and flexibility to make it work.

But there’s one more thing to take into account...

Fighting The Outside World



It’s hard enough to do it internally. But you can have drawbacks from all over the place.

First, other companies will employ similar techniques to breed innovation.

Second, if you’re trying to compete from a highly bureaucratic country like Romania, you’ll have to deal with even more obstacles.

And For A Final Dash of Inspiration

Innovation relies on creativity.

And you can’t systemize creativity.

At least, not completely. But you can employ best practices to lead your team on the path of innovation.

And you want to do that by:

  • Assuming the right mindset
  • Enabling valuable collaboration between industries
  • Adapting to your market, as fast as possible

And by employing the right framework.

40+ pages of actionable insights,
case studies and expert interviews
on media for equity

What is media for equity?

The evolution of this model across different European hubs

How media for equity emerged as a solution to combat startup failures and diversify revenue for media holdings

Media funds structures, challenges and opportunities for broadcasters and media agencies

A 5-step guide for CEOs to get started with Media for Equity investments

Tapping into new opportunity spaces - Media for Equity in Central Eastern Europe

Download the White Paper