#innovation #transformation #openminded #culture #corporate venturing

Still too often corporates don’t recognize the speed and need for innovation. Often they are convinced that they still have a lot of time. The society transforms. What consequences will this have on the daily lives? We Europeans – certainly Belgians – are risk-averse (Geert Hofstede Geert Hofstede “Allemaal andersdenkenden – omgaan met cultuurverschillen“) and often also have a paternalistic image towards others.


The culture of gray suits, targets, control and strategic planning still dominates most management cultures. Because of the rapid transformations, fear spreads around. Control gains in importance. (Frederic Laloux). But a gray matter only produces gray knit …

Corporates can introduce changes in two different ways.  The first way is that they hire an external consultant. These have to sell his / her story to the corporate but this doesn’t guarantee a more efficient use of digital transformations.


Another possibility is that the corporate develops an innovation hub within the company. Internal start-ups are created. This is a way of corporate venturing and innovation. An important condition for achieving results: this hub may have its own entrepreneurial and free autonomous culture. Employees are given the time and space to further develop their ideas. This costs money and sure it is an investment.  Better invest well, than half!

If not enough time and space is created, innovation will not take place or will die soon. We see the same danger by other “innovative approaches”. The implementation of self-managing groups comes often too early, or managers don’t want to lose their positions.


The result is often a group of “knowledge workers”- instead of knowledge workers, we could call them “think workers” – who are no longer allowed to think. We can find information, knowledge everywhere…A consequence is bore-out. We hear a lot about burn-out, but a growing group of creative thinkers tend to feel the opposite. They don’t feel useful. What a wealth of potential solutions and new approaches that are simply thrown away!

These “thinkers” are the ideal employees in the innovation hubs, they make associations, usually think quickly and in solutions, can work autonomously and in team with members from different specializations.

To take action in innovation, you need an open-minded team working together. With such a differentiated group you come to an explosion of ideas and solutions. Those heterogeneous group, demand an open minded attitude from their members. Otherwise you cannot work together. Try to understand each other as well as possible, ask for insights,  listen and learn from different angles.

Diversity and intersection are important for creativity and innovation
(Frans Johansson “the medici effect”).

An important condition for such a transformation to innovation is that the mentality and corporate culture must be ready. Leaders inspire and lead by example. Make sure that CEO and managers are along for even better results.


Another way of transforming within corporates is buying start-ups. What happens to the startups? Well sometimes they say, they grow up”. The flexible, innovative, creative elements move away. The founders of the start-ups adapt to the corporate culture or they leave and start a new start-up. That is why it is very important as a start-up, with corporate venturing, to have a good exit strategy. Observe, imagine and think: what exactly do you want?

What is your golden circle and “Why”?( Simon Sinek) ff


And what about these insights? It isn’t solved by just changing the structures. We need to work on the mindset, on the corporate culture…  To a really understanding of the benefits of transformation.

As an anthropologist this triggers me, indeed by changing structures, you do not change culture or mindset. On the contrary, the implemented structures expire or distort in a relatively short period of time and the established old culture comes back to the surface, sometimes very nuanced with a shiny sauce of fake innovation.

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