Corporate & Institutional Innovation
"Successful commercial innovation is a gamble.
But corporations and institutions can dramatically improve the odds."
Innovation is a perpetual challenge and desire for large organizations. Corporate leadership, university presidents and administration, and public policy makers, all see the need for and benefits of commercial innovation, but the mechanisms for achieving it remain simplistic, prone to bureaucratic jargon and infighting, and ultimately difficult to measure or assess.
Opus Faveo Corporate & Institutional Innovation: Ci2
The core of Opus Faveo Ci2 is Venture Development: working together with the institution to identify opportunities to create new ventures, then working together to build them. In developing its Ci2 practice, Opus Faveo has also developed and continues to invest in proprietary frameworks for understanding policy tools available to leaders, benchmarking innovation initiatives and outcomes against peers and the best-in-class, and assessing overall effectiveness and impact of innovation commercialization efforts.
Joseph Nye of Harvard University has developed the concept of soft power in international affairs over the last couple decades. He characterizes it as the ability of a nation state or non-state actor to attract and influence others using non-kinetic means. Hard power, then, is the use of military, or kinetic, force to further one's goals. Soft power is the use of everything else a nation-state has at its disposal to influence others.
As he says:
"The basic concept of power is the ability to influence others to get them to do what you want. There are three major ways to do that: one is to threaten them with sticks; the second is to pay them with carrots; the third is to attract them or co-opt them, so that they want what you want. If you can get others to be attracted, to want what you want, it costs you much less in carrots and sticks. "
Darwin & Markets
The rigors of the market are key to the validation and maturation of commercial innovation, but the nature of the exposure to that market can vary widely. As Charles Darwin might explain, "red in tooth and claw" is but one mechanism of evolutionary development. Tadpoles experience extremely high mortality rates in young progeny, but elephants do not. These extremes represent different mechanisms for facing the pressures of a harsh environment.
In venture development and innovation commercialization, one must ask similar questions that evolution asks of its creatures. What is the best way to develop and thrive in the harsh realities of the real world? Luckily, policy makers and leaders don't have to wait billion of years for the answer, they can make proactive decisions that can dramatically increase the odds of success, many of which involve the targeted use of soft power.
Soft Power and Institutional Innovation
Based on proprietary research and our work with the Canadian and Mexican federal governments, Opus Faveo has taken Joseph Nye's concept of "soft power" and transposed it to innovation commercialization. Our breakthrough was in realizing that Nye's concepts could be applied to the nature of support provided by a government, institution or large corporation to a new venture.
For the large, established and influential organization, hard and soft power also exist. Hard power is kinetic, but it can be expensive, have high ancillary costs, and create new complications. In the world of innovation, Opus Faveo views capital as hard power. Soft power, by contrast, is everything else the large entity can do to prepare and support a new venture. It can be most strongly seen in the generation of credibility for the new venture, but it can include favorable licensing of intellectual property, releases from non-competition agreements, access to internal human capital, meeting space, introductions and contingent supplier or customer agreements. When the costs of creating a new venture have never been lower and the amount of potential capital liquidity has never been higher, soft power is an immense and largely untapped resource for maximizing commercial success. But as with hard power, soft power needs to be used concertedly and carefully to maximize its impact and accomplish the objectives of the organization.
Opus Faveo understands both hard and soft power. We work with large organizations and policy makers to identify and apply them both in a highly targeted manner while fully understanding that their effective application depends on the objectives and constraints of the corporation, institution or policy maker.