Design of a Corporate Innovation Venturing Program

Designed an organization structure and process that enabled a company to pursue growth opportunities in the new space.


Building organization structure to support “high risk – high reward” programs.

Innovating in the new space involves much higher uncertainty and risk than developing new products for the “core”.  When the programs in the “new” compete with “the core” for company resources , the “new” usually loses.  Innovating in the new space also requires a broad set of skills that cut across market, technology and business domains. These skills are usually not found in any one department or function.

Bringing together the right skills, the oversight, and the support structure.

A company had very mature stage-gate processes for commercializing new products for the “core”.  But when it tried to use this process to commercialize opportunities in the new space, the success rate was very low. The expectations set by the “linear” structure of the development process and the short-terms focus of the gatekeepers resulted in a very cumbersome development process. The programs did not appear to deliver and were eventually de-prioritized.

We worked across various levels in the company to design and implement an organization structure for Innovation Venturing.  This structure aligned the key stakeholders, brought together the needed skills, and provided for executive oversight.  The result was the right expertise and decision-making authority to support the longer-term investments. We also developed supporting operating processes that merge the exploratory nature of these programs with disciplined decision-making.

The new process is working to support new areas of growth.

This new organization structure has been in place since 2009 and has resulted in transformational commercial opportunities for the company. It continues to have a significant positive impact on the company culture, in that the central innovation group of the new structure influences the entire organization by leading company-wide innovation efforts and championing the best innovation practices.