With 40+ speakers from Bayer, Oracle, Thales Alenia Space, Fazer, BNP Paribas, Osram, ŠKODA AUTO, GE, ING Group, and many more, sharing their insights on their corporate innovation programs, there's more to learn than one could handle.

Christian Mühlroth gave a keynote and moderated an insightful case study panel at the conference, and shares his six key takeways from all the sessions.

#1. Ignite a Startup Culture

Louise Kyhl Triolo shared her experience of unlocking the entrepreneurial spirit within a big multinational corporation such as Airbus. She has been responsible for launching the Airbus Innovation Center and led its global transformational initiative Dream Big. It all starts with organizations that understand themselves as enablers for constant change and growth. The cultural aspect to it further speeds up the shift of mindsets, new ways of working and patterns of thinking over time.

Many organizations are on their way, yet the communication and ingestion of strategies that change more frequently have not arrived everywhere yet:

Nearly 75 % of leaders believe they have a culture of innovation, experimentation, and risk-taking. But unfortunately, only 37 % of employees agree.

Michael Jacobi and Christopher Waldner built the internal intrapreneurship program at OSRAM, called the Digital Launchpad. It includes a 6-month program which enables employees to become intrapreneurs and implement their innovation concepts by creating user-validated prototypes and helping to develop and validate its business model. The startup culture created serves as a go-to place for anyone who wants to have a real impact and is ready to be prepared for the markets.

#2. Cause a "Good Trouble"

When it takes unconventional ways to make something happen, Sam Conniff suggests to become a professional rule breaker. Breaking old rules is necessary because it is only amongst the chaos that we spot what is new and opportunistic. Especially in business, there is hardly something such as a natural given order of doing things - in most cases, business, as usual, is just done because "we always did it that way". Breaking these mental barriers can lead to astonishing results when executed properly.

#3. Speed is Key

Roman Šiser from ŠKODA AUTO talked about how he and his team shortened the implementation of their innovation program from 3 years to 9 months. He shared some of his best speed hacks (i.e. the BOSS TALK) on how to manage large-scale enterprise innovation projects, how to drive cross-departmental alignment and how to speed up the development and growth of their entire new innovation program. Going agile (only where it makes sense!) and saying "no" helped to stay on track and pick up speed real quick. The ŠKODA Crowdstorming Platform, powered by ITONICS, became their company-wide employee engagement platform to drive new innovations at scale.

#4 Close the Innovation Bullsh*t Gap

The innovation theatre is dead, or is it? Cris Beswick had a challenging view on that. He and his team conducted research assessing a large number of reports and assessments from big consultancies, such as McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, etc. to crunch some numbers:

"56 % of the leaders say they are unclear on how to think about innovation strategically."

"53 % leaders say their board often talks about innovation, but nobody seems clear what it means."

"90 % of CEOs say their long-term success is dependent on their ability to innovate."

So, there’s clearly a hype going on - but how to bridge the gap between talking the walk and actually walking the walk? In times where the word "strategy" is used at an inflationary rate, maybe a step back would help to define the bigger picture and fill big words with big meanings.

#5. Co-Innovate

Michael Bednar-Brandt, the head of Business Innovation at Oracle NEXT, opened up the discussion on where to find key innovators inside an organization. C-level? Baseline staff? Or in between? Who is close to customers, but simultaneously far away enough to get a grasp of the bigger picture at the same time?

"Most companies are designed to kill ideas."

Customer-centricity is a great tool to have in your toolbox, but make sure to use it at the right point in time - which may or may not be at the beginning of your innovation journey.

John Moore, who actively drives Bupa's purpose to supporting their customers to live longer, healthier, happier lives, brings together design, technology, data and actuarial science in partnership with Bupa’s business units across the globe and the start-up community to solve customer problems in health care. Focusing on what works is good - but equally important, learning from what works not can boost innovation capabilities at an unexpected rate, too.

#6. Grow Tall. Stay Slim.

Thales Alenia Space has launched in 2014 the Innovation Cluster, an ad-hoc organization tuned to strengthen a culture of innovation and drive a pipeline of innovative solutions. Being the Vice President Innovation, Cedric Balty talked about how innovation is the core of what they do, but at the same time, how the organization fights against the natural resistance to change.

And even though the industries could not be more different, Eeva Tiainen from Fazer’s innovation and research unit Fazer Lab, shared the same common theme:

"We leave our eyes on the horizon, but our hands on the projects."

It was great to meet so many practicioners around the globe that drive innovation inside their companies. Stay tuned as Christian and his colleagues at ITONICS will share more insights and learnings from upcoming events they participate in.

This is a guest post by Christian Mühlroth, CCO at ITONICS, a leading provider of software solutions and consulting for innovation management and sustainable strategy development. With the modular software suite, companies can collect, connect and track relevant information, inspirations, ideas, initiatives, and projects. The innovation strategy can be actively shaped and managed – from trend, technology and idea management all the way to technology and product roadmapping. Innovation leaders around the globe rely on the professionalism of ITONICS such as Audi, BMW, Cisco, Intel, PepsiCo, Siemens, and Total.