Accelerators – spreading like wildfire – the essential fuel for innovation in the economy?
The growth of Accelerators in the US is now being matched by Europe and elsewhere (see Nesta’s hot-off-the press report about the 19 schemes now up and running at http://startupfactories.eu/). Moreover as corporates turn increasingly to open sourcing for their innovations, the new businesses emerging from Accelerators are providing the fuel for their increasing appetites for innovation. It is not a matter of whether big organisations or small are the better sources of growth in our economy; they both form part
of the larger innovation eco-system.
An E-/Bulletin from
The Centre for Leadership in Creativity
in association with Nesta
Edited by John Whatmore
* A plethora of opportunities for new businesses – fuelled by IT and telecoms
* Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus – a Phoenix and a
* BT’s R&D uses Hothousing in a big way
* Accelerator Learning Programmes – for very early-stage
* Pressure cookers for business: where have accelerators come from
and, crucially, where are they going
* A Miscellany:
– Nesta to meet incubator leaders to discuss the ‘accelerator’ model
– Other European countries more methodical in their approaches
to innovation: PRIZM – the latest evolution from TRIZ
– Express yourself in the new Dance your PhD contest! Or just
draw your work.
* * *
A plethora of opportunities for new businesses –
fuelled by IT and telecoms.
Among highlights for 2012: apps for people on the move’s Smartphones; advanced ‘analytics’, enabling organisations to make even more use of search engines for selling; and businesses made possible by the ability of mobile devices to enable people to share and exchange things; but existing Angel organisations are not yet proactive in their support. (http://goo.gl/aV9Os)
Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus –
a Phoenix and a new model
Mix together different disciplines and technologies, theory goes, and the sparks of creativity and innovation will fly; but many science parks (like incubators) have been more like property companies than crucibles of alchemy.
The Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus (http://goo.gl/g92x8) has risen over the last seven years like the Phoenix out of a laboratory whose heart had been ripped out by the loss of a contract for the big new Synchrotron Radiation facility (evidence for another theory: that there is no opportunity like a crisis!).
It is a new centre of innovation and enterprise with an interesting model
( – centres of excellence in three fields of science: accelerator science, computational science and sensor/detector technology) beside a large number of hi-tech small businesses, all glued together by an ethos of openness and collaboration).
It can show excellent metrics of success, and just now is about to enter a more challenging but potentially yet more rewarding phase (ie attracting the interest of large corporates).
BT’s R&D uses Hothousing in a big way BT has for some time had special spaces designed to support small problem-solving conferences, used for ‘problems to fix’ and ‘[new] concepts to market’, but also for reviewing and developing strategy. They are now being used as the precursor for all relevant R&D team projects, where projects are divided into 13-week stages, and are prefaced by a Hothouse – an intensive workshop designed to search out new approaches for the ensuing stage of the project. (http://goo.gl/jjWfG)
Accelerator Learning Programmes – for very early-stage venturers are emerging, designed to develop their capabilities to the point where their propositions are of investable quality. The formats of their learning element are very similar; but the mentoring element and their sources of funding differ – according to how commercial they are likely to be. (See http://goo.gl/44KKq and links to examples.)
Pressure Cookers for business – what next
From their origins in the 1940s to their latest embodiment as Accelerators in 2011, ‘Pressure Cookers’ in business have been getting longer and longer; but there are some that are even longer than these 13-week Accelerator programmes, like Springboard at Cambridge, which I recently caught a glimpse of. So what will happen to the concept of the Pressure Cooker? How will it change and develop?
I suggest here that some will be longer and some shorter; they will become specialised to different fields; longer ones will be split up into smaller bites; learning will be personal and on-the-job; and mentoring will become a team effort. (http://goo.gl/HJL6S)
The Centre for Leadership in Creativity (a ‘virus for creativity’) carries out research and providesconsult-ancy and peer-to-peer learning for organisations where creativity and innovation are vital.
The Centre for Leadership in Creativity 138 Iffley Road,London W6 OPE
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