Business digitization and mobile connectivity are today’s major drivers of change. They introduce possibilities for new and disruptive solutions which solve customer problems better and at lower cost than existing solutions. And these are the areas where SV is particularly strong at.
For any company’s innovation strategy, the most important contribution Silicon Valley offers is outside-in innovation, and the key step towards this is innovation scouting.
The purpose of innovation scouting is to learn about innovations and/or companies which may pose emerging threats or present potential growth opportunities – including potential partners (suppliers, customers, coopetitors). There are 3 engagement levels to do it (without having a significant company represenation like a foreign R&D center). Impact and cost increase with each stage:
- Individual remote relationships
- Outsourced innovation scouting
- Innovation outposts (company-owned)
We can help you build up any of these in Silicon Valley, including innovation scouting on your behalf by our Silicon Valley experts. And give you a neutral view on the various companies that offer corporate innovation support in the valley. Here is an overview:
- Startup matching services and hosting innovation outposts
- SV research institutes and universities
- Xerox PARC, Palo Alto : opened 1970, focuses on Content-Centric Networking, Innovation Services, Printed and Flexible Electronics, Design and Digital Manufacturing, Data Analytics, Optoelectronics and Optics, Video and Image Analytics, Cleantech and Energy, Prototyping Services, Contextual Intelligence, Health and Wellness, Clean Water; owned by Xerox
- FX Palo Alto Laboratory, Inc. (FXPAL), Palo Alto : opened 1995, focuses on multimedia and communication technology, owned by Fuji Xerox
- SRI International, Menlo Park : founded 1946 by Stanford University, became independent 1970; focuses on Biomedical Sciences and Health, Chemistry and Materials, Computing, Earth and Space, Economic Development, Education and Learning, Energy and Green Tech, Security and Defense, Sensing and Devices; independent nonprofit research center
- numerous world-class labs at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and other local universities
- Sandia National Lab, Livermore : not SV, but close by; opened 1948, focuses on Bioscience, Computing & Information Science, Electromagnetics, Engineering Science, Geoscience, Materials Science, Nanodevices & Microsystems, Radiation Effects & High Energy, Density Science; a US Federally Funded Research and Development Center
- Lawrence Livermore National Lab, Livermore : not SV, but close by; focuses on Bio-Science and Bio-Engineering, Earth and Atmospheric Science, High-Energy Density Science, High-Performance Computing, Simulation and Data Science, Lasers and Optical Science and Technology, Advanced Materials and Manufacturing, Nuclear, Chemical and Isotopic Science & Technology
Above we focus on innovationscouting to get you going in Silicon Valley. We also provide clients broader support and innovation strategy development.
The other key success factor of Silicon Valley companies is mindset. Bold, driven, and fearless determination to conquer the world. A startup for building and launching space rockets despite historically only large nations did that? No problem. Connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles via an underground vacuum pipe with a supersonic maglev train? Why not. A startup for building electric premium cars that outclasses the best automotive companies on the planet? Done. Where else do people dare to completely ignore the established world and launch projects that literally take billions to succeed, with no guarantees attached?
Even for insane adventures it comes down to a very simple calculation. If the long term market potential is very big (say, $100 billion plus) and a solution to go after that market is technologically feasible, go for it. Full steam ahead. Don’t be afraid to invest – and possibly loose – a few billions. Make sure to use other peoples (aka investors) money. And stop when success becomes unlikely („fail fast“), then try to do something else useful. This is the basic SV approach. It works for smaller markets, requiring less investment, just as well.
A mindset is easily told at this abstract level, but it is entrenched in many daily details, work styles, methods etc. We offer trainings and workshops for experiencing the thinking and working that contributes to the success of SV.
Many techniques/methods/frameworks exist to foster innovation. Lean launchpad based on identifying a customer persona and speedily testing a minimal viable product is one. The design thinking approach another. We help our clients to pick the right tool and to learn how to use it well.