If something is becoming less disruptive and closer to the core business, then we can decide that the initiative is more likely to be integrated into the existing business. We also have several examples of this. Then, the sponsorship is also responsible to securing the landing strip and budget. We do that together. So, the sponsor is always there, because with the PACE methodology we also have stage gates to work together with the governing body on brining the initiative to the next level or deciding on the scaling part.
Another potential path could be a spin out. When we think it’s strategic, but it makes sense to grow with an external partner. One example you may have heard of is Cobase.
We can also say we stop it or we divest it while we allow the teams to pursue an initiative by themselves.
We have a couple of these directions and the sponsor is always involved, while they are bringing it to the next level. It can be that there is a sponsor change at some point, but they are involved depending on which path the initiative takes. That also has obviously consequences on the funding.
Then, to do the innovations, we have set up an innovation fund to allow freedom for the initiatives to actually develop.”
As you have been working with your own innovation methodology (PACE) since several years now, how has it evolved?
“The good thing with PACE is that we co-created it with the business. So, we have the methodology and from the start we looked at what do we see happening out there to create our own innovation methodology and identity that people can relate to. And by working together with the business, that means also picking up concrete cases and approach them in a different way in the PACE methodology. That allowed us to further evolve and sharpen it, to make it very effective.
So one of the things that happened there is that we created what we call PACE everyday, where we also have minimised friction to new introductions and short cycles; then we’re talking about weeks and no longer months.
For instance at the lab environment we have specified it more towards the creation of the initiatives, so much stronger on a different set of business outputs. And we’re now looking how we can bring it to the next stage, also for the main organisation. But it’s also an iterative process, we have the main guideline and we’re sharpening it now based on our learnings.”