Incubators are becoming more sector specific; and more tightly managed

New Directions for Innovation 
Incubators become more sector specific – a huge new bioscience incubator is born at GSK, and the Cabinet Office launches a £10mn fund for Social Enterprise Incubators; and more tightly managed – with novel forms of ‘accelerator’; and the first corporate to run incubators as a continuing series of accelerators, and on a global basis (see item 1 below).

Applied Creativity
An E-/Bulletin from
The Centre for Leadership in Creativity
Edited by John Whatmore
Nesta Associate               
September    2012

*      I visit perhaps the biggest business ‘accelerator’ in the world and ask
        what it does and how it does it.

*     Harwell’s Incubator spaces are developing fast

*      An initiative with several new twists on the business ‘Accelerator’

*      McKinsey (and others) support a new accelerator with a different
        slant

*      Might an Olympic swimmer’s ideas for cross-training suggest how to
        make inter-disciplinary and inter-business working more effective?

*      I’ve been reading Tim Harford, (the ‘Undercover Economist’s) new
        book:’Adapt: why Success always starts with Failure’

*    Making use of to-morrow’s IT

*      “Tax crackdown on company awaydays: don’t make it too much fun,
         advisers warn.” FT 23/24 June.

                                    *                        *                        *

I visit perhaps the biggest business ‘accelerator’ in the world and ask what it does and how it does it.
Telefonica, an international telephony company, comparable in size to Vodafone, and owner of O2 among other international businesses, has committed itself to establishing an international network of the latest form of incubator – out of concern that it was becoming dependent on Silicon Valley for it new products and at the lack of available support for the growing number of innovative start-ups in South America.
London’s Wayra Academy is its tenth such accelerator, and its largest so far; and after London, three more will open in Europe. Wayra claims to have had some 12,500 project proposals for places in its academies, and to have started 172 new businesses from its global accelerators so far. And I ask what are the advantages and the disadvantages of size.
The generous terms are likely to have attracted high quality candidates. Both the teaching and the learning from one another will be more diffuse than in smaller ‘accelerators’; and the mentoring will be more difficult to manage; but the big throughput and the possible benefits to the sponsor will be enhanced, though the investment is substantial.http://goo.gl/3VP7P)

Harwell’s Incubator spaces are developing fast
The new European Space Agency Incubator at Harwell has yet to establish itself as a new-business community. It has available outstanding technical support in the shape of a number of world-class scientific organisations on the site; and it provides generous funding for technical support. But its business support is limiting: it provides no business mentoring; it provides little business advice – there is little call for it; and channels to access for venture funding are at present small in scale. (http://goo.gl/AtY5X)

An initiative with several new twists on the business ‘Accelerator’
A competition is being run by a start-up to find a new start-up that will itself be ground-breaking in their industry (advertising), and will be provided with substantial launch-funding, showered with contacts and mentors/advisers – all in the glare of publicity. http://goo.gl/uDYDg

McKinsey (and others) support a new accelerator with a different slant
A new accelerator programme is attempting to produce better start-up teams to generate hi-tech IT businesses – by means of a series of escalating team-building events prior to its 13-week programme, which will culminate in an event enabling some teams to raise funding for their future and some individuals to use their skills in other start-ups. (http://goo.gl/CpFpH)

Might an Olympic swimmer’s ideas for cross-training suggest how to make inter-disciplinary and inter-business working more effective?
There are a number of examples of successful ideas emanating from intriguing inter-disciplinary partnerships, but finding useful partners seems more like an exercise in progressive trial-and-error than a logical process.
So is speed-dating the best way of helping young businesses to get inspiration from one another in science parks, incubators and accelerators? http://goo.gl/nqezV

I’ve been reading Tim Harford, (the ‘Undercover Economist’s) new book:’Adapt: why Success always starts with Failure’, and I’ve relished the insights that behavioural economics offers about the real reasons why people make the choices they do. Seek out and try new ideas, expecting some will fail; start small; solicit feed-back and learn from your mistakes are the valuable mantras he offers for anyone with a new business and for any organisation aiming to innovate successfully in this disruptive world of to-day. But failure is not just difficult to manage; in some contexts it is unacceptable. http://goo.gl/YyHlW

Making use of to-morrow’s IT
Google and Facebook announce new link: not only do to-morrow’s Googlespecs have an embedded camera and phone as well as internet access, but they also have an embedded RFID tag and a QR code tag. Your Googlespecs can ‘recognise’ other wearers and bring up their features and their Facebook, Twitter and Googlplus details on the lenses of your own Googlespecs.

“Tax crackdown on company awaydays: don’t make it too much fun, advisers warn.” FT 23/24June.
 Memo: to all Tax Inspectors
From: Chief Inspector of Taxes
Subject: Corporate AwayDays as benefits in kind

The Centre for Leadership in Creativity (a ‘virus for creativity’) carries out research and provides consultancy 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           
Tel/fax: 020 8748 2553                          E-mail:  john.whatmore@btinternet.com

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