Entrepreneurs, businesses, and institutions are increasingly fearful about not being able to keep up with competitors’ approaches to innovation.
About This Trend:
In 2016, one of our Non-Obvious trend predictions was called “Insourced Incubation.” The term described the increasing number of companies who felt the need to bring more innovative thinking into their organizations. Some companies solved this challenge by hosting innovation competitions, like hackathons. Unilever created a platform, Unilever Foundry, to connect startups with its 400+ brands and find ways to leverage their innovations. Coke launched a commercialization program for startups called The Bridge.
Other organizations chose to launch ambitious in-house innovation programs dedicated to driving in-house disruptive thinking. Wells Fargo, Visa, and Citi created high-touch innovation labs designed to both showcase their technology and serve as internal ideation studios. Worldwide shopping center owner the Westfield Group converted a floor of its San Francisco mall into a showroom to pilot new retail concepts. Even fast-food retailer Wendy’s got into the innovation lab craze, building its own innovation center to develop and test technologies like mobile payments and ordering kiosks.
As we reported back then, brands in all sorts of industries were desperately seeking ways to innovate and disrupt themselves and their industries before a startup they didn’t see coming rendered them obsolete. What we underestimated at the time was just how much fear was driving these big investments into innovation.