Not yet. We still need to get out of this mess, but when this happens, I think many companies will revert to this innovation tool to drive growth.
However, corporate venture has had mixed results in the past and many companies have parted with the people having the knowledge and skills necessary to make corporate venture successful. This can make it difficult for innovation leaders and one of their key focus areas should be on the structure of corporate venture especially as this in many ways will merge with open innovation efforts.
On the structure of corporate venture, I can recommend a great read by Joachim von Heimburg, a very experienced innovation practitioner with a global perspective as he has worked in Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East.
In his article, Driving Innovation by Corporate Venture: How to Master Governance and Culture Challenges, von Heimburg argues that the key challenges evolve around the pre-exisisting governance processes and culture elements within big corporations as they did not come to life with the overarching objective of making corporate venturing successful.
He writes “When a corporation starts a corporate venture function a lot of money is at stake in addition to the reputation of the company itself. Corporate venturing is a very public activity – so failures and shortcomings are widely visible. In addition the venturing community is relatively small and tightly knit. Any blunder will be quickly talked about in many circles and institutions. So it is critical to decide on good governance standards and compliance procedures and have put them in place when corporate ventures go live.”
von Heimburg looks into these governance vectors that he believes are very impactful for the success or failure of corporate ventures:
Who ‘owns’ the money financing the corporate venture fund?
Who calls the shots?
How to ensure appropriate controls?
How to manage expectations?
Besides von Heimburg’s great insight, I can also suggest these reads on or related to corporate venture on my 15inno blog. The comments on both posts are very insightful.
Let me know if you can share other good resources on the topic.