Additionally Jennifer supports entrepreneurs through advising and investing in mobile-related startups, innovation platforms & accelerator programs in the US and internationally.
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- With an increasing business focus on innovation, companies realize that they may not want to or be able to build the next wave of products or services that their customers need.
- Because of limited internal resources, companies are increasingly open to partnerships and to embracing third-party innovations. This trend is not happening as quickly as industry experts would like, but companies of all sizes are more aware of opportunities to outsource innovative products and services and are exploring discussions with vendors, versus trying to build everything internally.
- The title of "chief innovation officer" or "head of innovation" is an increasingly popular executive title in companies as they realize they need to keep innovating or become obsolete.
- As companies realize they need to innovate or face extinction, they are creating new positions and even teams focused on exploring new products and services, rather than relying on the traditional divisions within the company to take on that role as part of doing business. Innovation is increasingly becoming a necessary part of doing business, given the rapidly advancing technology that companies must race to stay ahead of.
- Medium-sized companies realize it's difficult and frustrating to work with Fortune 500 companies on innovation. So they're becoming more creative about working with smaller third-party vendors in building new products and services in existing sectors like banking and telecom.
Incremental changes are happening in these large sectors, but large companies still do not have the comfort level or skills to work with multiple startups simultaneously. They may trial new products and services, or sponsor a hackathon to invite entrepreneurs to develop a new tool for the business, but then they do not follow through and actually develop it and offer it to consumers. This phase of innovation – broadly embracing third-party vendors and working several projects simultaneously – still has a fairly slow pace and low level of activity compared with other developments in the area of innovation.
- Large companies are starting to spending more time and resources studying, understanding and attracting startups as well as investing in them.
Even while large companies are trying to determine what third-party vendors to work with on developing innovative products and services, they are setting up exploratory funds and investing in startups. Dozens of banks have launched $100M venture funds in the last five years. In some cases, this provides the large company with a way to get closer to the startups without having to actually launch the product. A financial investment in a third-party vendor also provides a way for the large company to more easily move into the area of value-added services the vendor can create, since the firms already have an established working relationship. Additionally many companies are using innovation competitions to generate awareness among entrepreneurs as well as attract their engagement through reward prizes. For example, Verizon's $6M Powerful Answers Awards (innovation contest), BBVA's Open Talent Competition, Qualcomm's Xprize.
- Companies are creating mandates and clear processes for innovation as part of the company culture.
- Along with the trend to appoint an executive to head up innovation, companies are embracing the notion that innovation is a collaborative and ongoing process. The more progressive companies encourage innovative ideas from employees across the company, setting aside staff time on the job to engage in creative thinking that leads to innovation. As innovation becomes part of the company culture, these companies also are realizing that the best thinking comes from blending ideas from employees with the talent and know-how of creative minds at third-party companies that can pull together the necessary resources – internally and externally – to build, test and launch innovative products and services.