Big Companies Can Unleash Innovation, Rather than Shackle It

In today's world, start-ups aren't the only ones who can innovate. Large companies are now better positioned to innovate than ever before. Here's why: the innovation revolution spurred by venture capitalists decades ago has created the conditions in which scale allows big companies to shift from shackling innovation to unleashing it. A case in point is Medtronic’s innovative effort Healthy Heart for All initiative, which the company was able to launch via business model innovation.

There are three trends are behind this shift:

  1. The ease of innovation and its decreasing cost mean that start-ups now face the same short-term pressures that have constrained innovation at large companies.
  2. Taking a page from start-up strategy, large companies are embracing open innovation and integrating entrepreneurial behaviors with their existing capabilities.
  3. Innovation increasingly involves creating business models that tap big companies’ unique strengths.

In this context, “corporate catalysts” — entrepreneurially-minded people inside corporates — are working with corporations’ resources, scale, and growing agility to develop innovative solutions to global challenges.

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