Episode 17 – Part 2: How to Manage Change and Create Resilient Organizations Through Innovation

About the Episode

Elijah Eilert is talking to Kumuda Suppayah an Innovation strategist, and business transformation expert in the Oil and Gas sector.

The second part of this episode delves into the fascinating world of corporate venturing and organizational adaptability with insights from a research paper that Kumuda co-authored titled, “Enhancing Organizational Adaptability through Corporate Venturing.” The paper’s primary focus is to understand the culture and processes that enable successful corporate venturing, a critical strategy for organizations looking to thrive in a rapidly changing business landscape.

Explore the significance of corporate venturing, distinguish it from strategic entrepreneurship, and unveil the key ingredients for corporate venturing success in this episode. We’ll also uncover the secrets to sustaining funding, managing corporate venturing portfolios, and fostering an agile ecosystem.

The opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the author/guests. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the guest’s employer or its members.

Topics and Insights 

  • [02:20] Research Paper Introduction: “Enhancing Organizational Adaptability through Corporate Venturing” The paper aims to understand the processes enabling successful corporate venturing.
  • [02:37] Corporate Venturing and Its Significance:
    • Kumuda explains corporate venturing as a strategy to adapt organizations to evolving norms, particularly emphasizing digital transformation and sustainability.
    • External pressures from government and end-users drive organizations to change rapidly.
    • The need for changing both the organization and its people’s behaviors is highlighted.
    • Evolving requirements in organizations due to technological advancements.
    • Corporate venturing is seen as a way to accelerate change and make organizations resilient.
  • [06:26] Distinguishing Corporate Venturing and Strategic Entrepreneurship:
    • Clarifying the difference between corporate venturing and strategic entrepreneurship.
    • Corporate entrepreneurship is a broad term encompassing initiatives to generate returns for the company.
    • Strategic entrepreneurship involves selective, goal-oriented initiatives that challenge traditional methods.
    • Kumuda presents various subcategories of strategic entrepreneurship, such as strategic renewal, sustained regeneration, domain redefinition, organizational rejuvenation, and business model reconstruction.
    • The distinction between corporate venturing and strategic entrepreneurship is important in the context of their research.
  • [15:29] Importance of Distinguishing Corporate Venturing and Strategic Entrepreneurship:
    • Kumuda emphasizes the significance of distinguishing between these concepts in their research.
    • Corporate venturing requires different thinking, decision-making, and resource allocation compared to strategic entrepreneurship.
    • Entrepreneurs involved in corporate venturing must adapt and innovate differently.
  • [17:21] Evolution of Corporate Venturing:
    • Initially, corporate venturing was focused on corporate venture capital (CVC) investments or acquiring startups.
    • Corporations relied on startups to innovate and waited until they were ready before getting involved.
    • External corporate venturing involved buying startups that had already derisked their market entry.
  • [19:06] The Acceleration of Change:
    • Kumuda emphasizes the accelerating pace of change in the business landscape.
    • Digital pressures and sustainability agendas are driving organizations to seek faster solutions.
    • Waiting for startups to develop solutions is no longer viable.
    • Competition for startups has increased, making it necessary for organizations to adapt quickly.
    • Corporate venturing is shifting toward internal corporate venturing and cooperative corporate venturing.
    • These approaches require organizations to change their internal processes, mindset, and decision-making.
  • [21:31] Key Ingredients to Corporate Venturing Success:
    • According to the research paper, three major areas emerge as key ingredients for corporate venturing success.
  • [21:46] Exploring Beyond Comfort Zone:
    • Corporate venturing involves stepping outside the comfort zone.
    • Top management plays a crucial role in accepting and acknowledging the need for exploration.
    • Acknowledgment should be communicated throughout the organization and its larger ecosystem.
    • Entrepreneurial employees within the organization can contribute, but setting the direction is top-down.
  • [26:17] Sustained Investment:
    • Organizations must be prepared to invest in corporate venturing.
    • Investment includes resources (money, time, people), tools, and distinctive approaches.
    • Tools for corporate venturing are different from those used in traditional strategic entrepreneurship.
    • Innovation accounting is a vital tool for tracking and managing corporate venturing outcomes.
  • [32:21] Preparedness to Invest:
    • Preparedness to invest is a crucial aspect of corporate venturing success.
    • Using Amazon’s “Working Backwards” approach, which simplifies the process and aligns understanding to assist funding.
  • [34:24] Sustained Funding for Corporate Venturing:
    • Discussing the need for sustainable funding for corporate venturing over a more extended horizon (e.g., 5 to 7 years).
    • Kumuda talks about the concept of portfolio investment for corporate venturing.
    • Portfolio investment involves allocating resources to a portfolio of corporate ventures with specific goals and timelines.
    • This approach provides stability and allows organizations to sustain investments in disruptive innovation, which may take time to yield results.
  • [37:05] Tools and Methods for Portfolio Management:
    • Elijah asks about the tools and methods for managing corporate venturing portfolios.
    • Kumuda explains the need for standardized tools and methodologies to derisk and prioritize initiatives within a corporate venturing portfolio.
    • She emphasizes that portfolio management in corporate venturing requires a unique approach different from traditional corporate portfolio management.
  • [42:58] The Importance of Agile Ecosystems:
    • Kumuda highlights the role of agile processes in managing corporate venturing portfolios
    • Agile approaches allow organizations to adapt quickly and prioritize initiatives, particularly in the early stages of development.
    • The need for regular, ongoing portfolio rebalancing and monitoring is emphasized.
  • [47:31] Empowerment:
    • The role of empowerment in corporate venturing.
    • Empowerment involves both the organization providing opportunities and individuals taking the initiative.
    • Empowering employees fosters a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • [50:58] Kumuda’s secret tip for corporate innovation:
    • Kumuda shares her secret tip for innovation managers, emphasizing the importance of people. She recommends starting with a small team of motivated individuals who can drive innovation initiatives. Building relationships and forming a team spirit is key to overcoming challenges and achieving success in corporate venturing.

About the Guests

A change catalyst and innovation driver, Kumuda Suppayah has 16 years of experience driving impactful transformations to increase performance and resilience in large organizations.

With a wealth of expertise in business strategy, digital transformations and innovation management, she has spearheaded successful initiatives across diverse industries.

Kumuda’s disruptive thinking and embrace of uncertainty fuel her ability to revolutionize conventional norms. Leading by example, she cultivates a collaborative culture that celebrates diversity and sparks creativity, propelling innovation to new heights.

Committed to continuous learning and personal growth, Kumuda’s unwavering passion for positive change shines through her latest endeavour: A collaboration with the University of Strathclyde to establish research about how organizations are innovating to forge resilient and agile business models in today’s ever-evolving landscape.

Connect with Kumuda

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