My Inno-Fuel Manifesto

November 10, 2014

Over my career, I have enjoyed working for and with small entrepreneurial, perhaps less organized, as well as big, very well structured & organized multinational organizations.

During those years, I was privileged to work with inspiring, innovative business companies but also for more conservative, hierarchical or defensive companies with great performance.

I have experienced more open innovation cultures as well as more closed company cultures, with both having their levels of success.

With regard to cultures, I have mainly experienced the Anglo-Saxon culture as well as the European one, and only to a limited extend the Asian culture. And here again, all 3 reaching their levels of success.

 

Over the past years, I have become more and more convinced of the necessity of innovation to address many of our societal issues. The difficulties and challenges I experienced in different companies in becoming and staying good at it has only increased my passion for the matter.

It is intriguing to see the amount of platforms and initiatives launched around innovation over the past years, whether initiated by private initiative takers or public organizations: innovation boot camps, blogs, acceleration programs, information, educational programs, etc… and here’s another one!

And apparently innovation is happening with success with all the newspapers being filled with successful exits and acquisitions made by VC funds and corporates. So all seems to work fine, right?

As a European, I must admit that on our continent the picture looks more blurry. Yes, we do seem to have wonderful scientists and well educated people being great a fundamental research. But when it comes down to reaching the market, we are obliged to look at the other continent to find real successes with impact. It becomes even more frustrating if we look at where in the process most of the money is being made with even less resources spent. The conclusions Professor Mazzacuto (Sussex University) has come to in this area has been impressive. And Europe seems to be not performing well where most of the value is being created!

The overall causes, which I will not all address in detail here, are being recognized throughout the continent.

One out of many are being the fragmented ecosystems we all operate it from a technology (we all seem to be allocating our resources to the same technologies & initiatives) as well as market perspective (to often we address our own markets individually). E-Health is a perfect example in this case.

At the same time we are starting to see more and more corporates exploring and seizing the opportunities of external innovation. This is an interesting evolution as corporates represent a fantastic opportunity in this context as they directly access global markets and can provide the insights on where and the type of (technology) innovation is needed globally. Nobody is waiting on new products and technologies the world doesn’t need.

At the same time we notice a much lower VC engagement in Europe compared to the US which limits the financing of new ideas and technologies in Europe. Again, corporates could step in here, but the question to be asked is whether they are willing to step in / invest at an earlier stage and/or even accept taking more risks sourcing (good) technologies to bring to market.

Corporate venturing is of all times and exists in many different forms serving many different strategic objectives. However, stakes have never been higher in Europe as well as some of the industrial challenges we face in renewable energies as well as the health industry.

With a strong foot in the Technology start up world in one of European continent’s leading technology driven countries as well as having a good understanding of the needs of our corporate clients globally, we are determined to continuously contribute in closing this innovation gap.

We invite all the stakeholders (corporates, start-ups, government & research instances, investment community, …) to engage, share opinions & potential solutions, propose initiatives with us on this journey in contributing to address this challenge.

We will work in parallel in contributing to the identified challenge:

  • We work on a project based level for the main stakeholders following a hybrid business model benefiting all the stakeholders in case of success.

  • We organize own events, distribute other content and events and blog about all the relevant matters we believe relevant to address / share,… considering the limited time and resources we currently have.

First feat of arms, will be our participation as moderators at ‘the innovation debate of the year with Dupont de Nemours on November 17 at their innovation center in Meyrin (Geneva).

Look forward seeing you there !

Alexandre Grutman

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