Innovation Acceleration Group Blog

Scaling Internal Corporate Innovation:  Bosch Leads the Way


Robert Bosch GmbH (Bosch) has established itself as a global leader in innovation and continuous improvement.  For more than 12 years, Bosch executives have partnered with  startups , universities and other outside partners to evolve and drive the company's innovation culture.  More recently, Bosch demonstrated its increasing commitment to continuous reinvention with the creation of a corporate-level division, fully dedicated to Business Model Innovation.  The company's considerable success with these efforts is evident in its ongoing delivery of innovative, market-changing new products, services, and business models, and in the increasing engagement of Bosch employees, who are embracing innovation and structured risk-taking across all divisions in increasing numbers.  This cross-divisional, multi-level commitment to structured innovation processes is accelerating market-validated, team-driven innovations.

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This is not Innovation through Osmosis

What if “innovation” was a repeatable business process your employees could do every day?

What if you didn’t have to hire Steve Jobs and create crazy Silicon Valley-style incentive plans and “innovation outposts” to reliably create new products and services that keep pace with the technology and business model disruptions startups take advantage of?

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IAG Innovator Highlight: Haqdarshak Reaches $2m


In April 2015, IAG partnered with Intel India and India's Department of Science and Technology (DST) with support from MyGov and the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY). This public-private group built a nationwide acclerator for Indian Makers called the Innovate for Digital India Challenge. The goal was to build social ventures - specifically products and services focused on e-government, e-health, e-finance and agriculture that drive upward social mobility. 1,913 ideas where submitted from across India and 20 teams were selected for the accelerator program.


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IAG Innovator Highlight: Pure Carbon is Launching on Indiegogo

Aleda and Jonathan Schaffer are a power team. They built a startup by combining their maker minds and love for excerise. We met them about 1 year ago when we taught the America's Greatest Maker's cast how to develop a business model while they competed for the $1million prize and title of America's Greatest Maker. Making it to the Finalist round, the Schaffer's were (sadly) eliminated. However, their momentum kept rolling! They used their new entreprenuership skills to jump start their business, Pure Carbon. Within the past year, they've smoothed out their creation, the Delta Gloves (designed to provide smart coaching for gymer goers) and are now ready to launch! 

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IAG Innovator Highlight: Dave Krawczyk, from Maker to CEO

Intel and IAG have been collaborating for years in developing IAG's Enterprise Startup Engagement program. IAG was able to help Intel engage Makers in developing scalable startup companies using Intel's new tiny semiconductor product, The Curie Module, in a reality TV show called America's Greatest Makers produced by "Shark Tank" and "Survivor" developer Mark Burnett.  The show was nationally televised competition of 25 teams composed of America's best Makers.  The teams entered the competition with a product idea and were judged on their creativity, entrepreneurship skills, building a working prototype and pitching their company for the grand prize of $1 million. IAG guided the teams through the process of finding a produict-market fit for their device while Intel mentors guided teams on how to use their cool, new computer on a chip, the Curie Module.

In fact, I first met the IAG team as a participant of America's Greatest Makers. (And enjoyed it so much, I joined!) One of my most vivid memories was the first time all the teams got together. I sat across from Dave Krawczyk and his 2 other NWTN team mates. While looking around the room, I could feel the tremendous pressure for all of us to perform to our highest ability in order to win that $1 million. IAG instructors told us that our goal was to create a successful start up that would sell an innovative product - easy. But, there was a catch, we only had 6-months to do it!

Moving quickly, the IAG instructors jumped straight into customer discovery, that is, getting out there and talking directly to customers, users, payers, influences and more. It only took a few days before most of the teams in the competition pivoted their product concept to something new. That was because as we listened to our customers we learned that if we didn't create something useful, there would be no market for our product, no matter how "cool" or innovative it was.  Neither Dave's nor my team were crowned "America's Greatest Makers." However, before the program concluded, we began to believe in the value of talking to our customers. As entrepreneurs, we are resilient. Therefore after the show, Dave found the time to jumped into a new startup that had been lingering in his mind since 2011: GlanceMirror.

GlanceMirror is a smart mirror that can update you about your health, meetings, and social media activity. Dave, knowing the value it provides, started his customer discovery process immediately. Within the first week, his team spent $40 to create a concept prototype that was shared with the public. Dave shared his customer discovery journey so far, "the Innovation Acceleration Group has helped me to direct the vision of the company. Every new connection, opportunity, or feature needs to be weighed against the value it will provide to our customers. Why spend hours of engineering time on a feature nobody actually wants?"

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IAG Innovator Highlight, Hakeem Javaid

Team BLOCKS with Andre Marquis and Mark Searle of IAG 

Hakeem Javaid met the Innovation Acceleration Group (IAG) in the first Intel’s Make It Wearable Challenge. Hakeem and his team, Blocks, set forth to make a modular smartwatch based on Intel's Edison Module. The competition invited entrants from 26 countries to create the most innovatove wearable products for a $500,000 grand prize. The IAG instructors and mentors pushed these global entrepreneurs to connect deeply with their customers to solve significant problems and rapidly create the best product with a scalable business model. In our Berkeley parlance - to iterate and pivot at the pace of a Silicon Valley startup. By the conclusion of Make It Wearable, Hakeem’s team learned that the conceptual prototype they originally walked in with had to be updated significantly to meet the desires of their customers. “I found myself struggling to define an ideal persona of each customer segment,” Hakeem told me on a Skype interview. “One of my favorite quotes was from Andre’s [Marquis] first lecture. He said something like, ‘It’s good to interact with your customers early on because then your customers are able to help build a product they love.’ Since then, I try to do this with all my products.”

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Does Your Innovation Process Assume You (Or Your Bosses...) Can Pick Winners?

The Bad News

You can't pick winners. The data from investing is overwhelming:
  • 12% of venture capital funds outperformed the market.(1)
  • 7% of angel investments account for 75% of returns.(2)
  • 0.6% of 2,100 actively managed US equity funds tracked between 1975 and 2006 outperformed the market. (That is, none….)(3)
The data from product development is just as bad:
  • 87% of university patent licensing offices lose money.(4)
  • The probability in the US of a pharmaceutical progressing from the first Phase 1 clinical trial to FDA approval is <10%.(5)
  • Of the 1,900 new CPG brands that hit retail shelves across the U.S in 2011 almost 70% accrued less than $7.5 million in year-one sales (aka lost money).(6)
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