Case: From failing big to agile success

Sander van der Blonk
Sander van der Blonk
Mar 9, 2022
Case: From failing big to agile success


A global CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) company used to deploy large budgets. And long-term planning to develop and validate new products and brands.

Business Units (BUs) were not interested in collaborating with the Open Innovation team. Working with start-ups through supply arrangements and joint new product development was low on their priority list.

The Open Innovation team thus changed its approach.

Instead of pushing individual start-up profiles forward, they became a trend detector spotting tech and application trends. And plotting start-up activity onto it.

They also mapped the growth and innovation objectives on identified start-ups showing quick wins for the business units. And made assumptions about the likelihood of start-ups ending up with relative competitors.

That opened the eyes of the business unit managers.

Internal alignment emerged. And the Open Innovation team began to assess start-ups for selected innovation priorities together with the BUs.

What to learn from it?

1: Success in transforming innovation capability for large organizations is as much about behavioral change as process and digitization. 

2: Cognitive research shows us that, like all humans, executives fear loss far more than they value potential gains.

Start-ups today have many options to choose from – like running to your competitors. Keep this in mind as you prepare for your next start-up partnering initiative.

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