Our role is more important than ever. Yet budgets are being cut, support from leaders and other functions is low and the pressure to get it right fast, is high.

As corporate innovators, we’re tasked to respond to the Covid19-crisis, and prepare for bounce back and growth at the same time.

Whilst we’re still facing the many challenges from before Covid, these dynamics present new, different and more challenges for us to solve. And there’s no set of best practices to lean on, or a “guru” to turn to.

What we all need now is a safe space to discuss things that really matter to us, with people who get it. That's what the Innov8rs Connect Unconference offers.

We're welcoming hundreds of corporate innovators from anywhere in between Santiago and Shanghai and Seattle and Sydney, and from virtually all industries.

In the first week of this 10-week program, we gathered in small groups each dedicated to a key theme under the corporate innovation umbrella, to share challenges and set goals for the program.

Here's a list of 77 questions that we'll try to find answers to during the course of the program.

Covid 19 / Crisis Response

  • How to lead innovation teams and programs remotely?
  • How do we deal with the pressure caused by reduced funding and an absolute focus on the short term?
  • How do we balance parts of employees being furloughed, whilst we’re hiring within innovation?
  • How do I get my exec team out of the crisis mode and start looking at the future?
  • How to convince C-level that now is not the time to get rid of innovation? We talk about how important it is but don’t see it at C-level.
  • I am trying to understand customer behaviours in the near future. How can we adapt and pivot?
  • We had a good strategy but since covid, business has retracted. How do we deal with the pressure to perform short term without losing sight of the long term?
  • How do I keep my team and wide org sane and safe, given all the commercial pressures/fears of layoffs, still need high performers?
  • We are such a small innovation team in a big company, how can we best focus our efforts at this moment?

Strategy, Leadership & Governance

  • Governance needs to be clear- that is completely lacking at the moment. How/what/whom?
  • How can I push further for innovation to be at top of CEO agenda? How can we make it a shared goal versus yet another thing to work in?
  • We faced lots of changes in the organizational structure. How to work as corporate innovation function with business group leadership effectively, whilst sticking to our own objectives?
  • We are struggling to get to one coherent strategy. How to coordinate efforts, people, metrics, everything?
  • In one of our units we work with self organizing teams. But that’s not easy- how can we ensure that they are all showing the personal and business leadership by lack of a traditional management team?

Funding, Accounting & Metrics

  • How do we show results in the short term?
  • How do we get the core business to understand the difference between explore vs exploit?
  • What are the right metrics to make internal sponsors happy but still give flexibility to build the best business?
  • How can we transfer metrics across business units so that everyone speaks the same language, and we can make better decisions?
    How do we sustain momentum now budgets for innovation are getting tight?
  • Now our portfolio of investments is over 50mio, finance wants control – how to convince them it’s not the same way of measuring?
  • We struggle to iterate quickly – I’d like to identify metrics to demonstrate that innovations are moving forward?
    How do we speak the language of finance and accounting?
  • How can we measure the change in culture, ways of working, the intangibles that we deliver?
  • How do we please different stakeholders with different interests and get the narrative right?
  • We want to increase transparency around our efforts- what are we getting out from what we put in? Beyond a tool, this requires a different culture and engagement from the business. How to get there?

Foresight, Trends & Startup Scouting

  • Innovation is managed centralized, I am in a region. What’s the most efficient way for me to share insights and trends with management?
  • How can we find objective and unbiased views on consumer insights? So not the typical consultancy reports…
  • We are trying to shape our own view of the future, which involves managing a lot of stakeholders inside and outside. Getting a shared vision is crucial for a wider span of control. How can we do that?
  • We don’t know where the next competitor might be coming from. How can we better understand where to play?
  • We think we know everything but we don’t – we need to look beyond what made us successful, and I am struggling to get more of the company on board of this idea.
  • The market moves faster than our innovation funnel, and we miss capabilities. How can we solve this issue?

Ideation, Incubation, Business Design

  • How we do get a solid innovation process implemented with lots of silos, differenct cultures? We need to increase the pseed.
  • Between our two verticals, the process of ideation and incubation is different. How can we focus?
  • How do we do incubation and venture building successfully with external partners?
  • Ideation works well- we have an issue with killing ideas.
  • We are building an internal incubator. What are lessons learned from others?
  • Incubation is working well- we are looking to come up with an ideation program on a global level that works for each business group, and for adjacent as well as transformational innovation?
  • We’re spending too much time on (politics around) the problems to focus our innovation efforts on. How can we speed up the process and show that we’re actually creating value?
  • We are strong in ideation for products. How do we go beyond that and experiment with new business models?
  • We hear from the top that innovation is everyone job. We have 350,000 people coming up with new ideas. But how to filter them out, what are the winners? How do we help people let go of the idea and take over the idea as innovation function?
  • We have a problem with staying on the long term track. We get derailed easily. We need to meet short term goals but the long term projects just don’t get going. We can’t get them out of the lab and into people’s hands.

Venture Building & Portfolio Management

  • How do I manage a portfolio across business groups? What’s the process, who’s involved, how to engage and communicate?
  • How do we manage our portfolios now budgets are under pressure?
  • How do we take an investment thesis around our portfolio and cascade it down in other departments? And how do we hold business leaders accountable for that vision?
  • Customers need more data in order to commit, which we can do with more upfront investment, but internally they say there is no committed customer so we don’t get funding. How do I get out of this catch 22?
  • How do I get a global view of our portfolio, beyond portfolios at BU level?

Ecosystem Engagement & Startup Collaboration

  • Generally our approach is working well. I do find a difference in pace working with universities versus startups. My biggest concern is how to deal with sharing IP?
  • We’re working with lots of ecosystems but we haven’t harnessed it in full potential. What can we do?
  • We want to be more open, how does that work wrt IP, legal, brand and other requirements?
  • As a bank we are highly regulated. Working with startups is hard due to compliance, data protection etc. Startups love to work with us as referral partner but it’s difficult to scale and get enough engagement. How to improve?
  • Post covid – how do we work with startups? Have priorities changed?
  • We invest in startups, but it’s often difficult to foster collaboration between these startups and the core business. How do we incentivize the business to do this better?

SGD, Climate and Positive Impact

  • How can startups help us reach the impact goals?
  • Sustainability innovation is not easy – it requires the right ecosystem. How to build it?
  • At our company sustainability is key to our strategy so that’s great. But it feels we just thick the box when we can do so much more. How to keep pushing the envelope?
  • What are the KPIs? How can we show we have impact?
  • How can we convert our customer base to also focus on this, not just on cost but also on value?
  • We have gone from doing this under regulatory pressure to having a good reputation, but we can do more. How do we ingrain sustainability as part of the strategy?

Talents & Teams

  • There’s a lot of uncertainty. People don’t know how things are going from now on. How to manage that?
  • The trust in the company leadership is low. How do we address that?
  • Most people are in this industry and company for 30-40 years. So we are met with a lot of resistance. It makes it more difficult because senior leadership is not bought in. How to deal with this?
  • People don’t have enough time for innovation, as they are all busy working for the core business?
  • How to adequately staff, incentive and reward people for innovation projects?
    How do we evolve from innovation as a hobby to innovation as a career, and how to cultivate high performing talent.
  • How to improve the skillset for innovation across the business?
  • How can we scale successful approaches amongst innovation teams?
  • In our business, expertise develops oer youears. How can we manage this knowledge so it doesn’t get lost with retirement?
  • How can we diagnose what are the competences that we need in response to a new strategy?

Culture & Entrepreneurial Mindset

  • How to create a culture within a company that geographically dispersed? Our country leadership is quite autonomous. We want to be consistent but still flexible. What’s defined on a global level, what locally?
  • How do we empower and reward individuals for helping to evolve the culture and living the mindset?
  • How can we get the “frozen middle” to join us – they are waiting for something, how can we get them on board?
  • We have a diverse set of people on the team, mostly experienced R&D folks and new innovation folks. The mindsets are different – how can we create a culture everyone can relate to?
  • After four years of running center we are now at the point where there are different pockets of innovation within the bank. All effecting culture and creating impact. My concern – how can we align these different pockets in order to serve the same purpose and go into the same direction and increase impact? We don’t want to create silos of innovation.
  • We have many different innovation groups and individuals – how to connect them in a community where we achieve one goal, but at the same time value diversity and not stifle them with one way of doing?
  • Our execs are good about using the words but the reality is that innovation culture doesn’t exist. How do you build a culture that has the buy in so that everyone is marching forward?
  • How to make that our people think like entrepreneurs, and get them the resources they need?
  • How to generate motivation and create a more entrepreneurial mindset? Teams like to stay in comfort zone, I want to expand their mindset.
  • I want to make innovation in our DNA. Our company is quite traditional, and 99% of resources are coming from this “old world” where innovation is about continuous and incremental improvement. How can I take people with me on this vision about what innovation really means today?
  • I want to prevent people from reinventing the wheel all the time.
  • Our company lost our appetite for risk- we’re in an endless loop for incremental innovation. I’ve given up trying to convince, we are leading a silent revolution by creating innovators and offering them the opportunity to building the skills. Any tips for that?

This is not anther webinar series.

Instead, you connect and collaborate with a selected group of cross-industry peers, well-known thought leaders and vetted experts, in a closed and safe environment, to address actual issues and get actionable insights.

Based on your goals and needs you’ll get a customized agenda, so that you only need to invest 20-30 minutes a week for getting good value out of participating.

Thought leaders such as Alex Osterwalder, Rita McGrath, Scott Anthony and many more will answer your questions and work your challenges.

Click here for the agenda (with new sessions being added every day)

Beyond these expert sessions, you can host your own session to get feedback on your questions, and throughout the program, you’ll connect and collaborate with cross-industry peers.

For a glimpse of whom else is joining, go here