A Quick And Effective Start.
How Can We Help You?
We help leading companies to upgrade their business building capability. Typical assignments include:
- Assess, accelerate, and scale corporate startups.
- Assess the business building approach.
- Upgrade the incubator’s business building system.
- Align Core and Innovation.
- Define Core/scaleup collaboration models.
"Is our venture ready for Scaling-Up?"
- What you get: A precise scorecard for your venture, including indication of gaps to be closed before Scaling-Up.
- Typical Quick Wins: Increased efficiency and effectiveness in Validation; Augmentation of the existing Validation approach.
More than 20 industry-leading companies and two leading business schools agree: The trick in validating corporate startups is to validate “worthy to be scaled,” “ready to be scaled” and the corporate context. Missing out on one of these could easily lead to failure.
But how do you work through these issues efficiently and rapidly?
In a joint validation project, your teams can get access to the Lean Scaleup pre-Scaling toolbox. This toolbox contains the essence of dozens of validation projects in many industries. The content is organized by maturity stages and validation tracks and pinpoints deliverables and relevant thinking tools — all on a user-friendly SaaS platform. Think of this toolbox as your step-by-step guide.
With this toolbox, we construct a scorecard that pinpoints where your venture is on its journey and what is missing to make a substantiated decision on Scaling-Up.
“How should we transition our venture to Scaling-Up?”
- What you get: A set-up for your venture’s Scaling-Up success.
- Typical Quick Win: Well-defined milestones for metered funding and lean governance. Alignment between day-to-day business and the scaleup.
To succeed in Scaling-Up, you need to have a set-up for success. This set-up is created in a transitional phase between Validation and Scaling-Up. In this phase, day-to-day business and the corporate scaleup align and agree on the collaboration to de-risk and accelerate the Scaling-Up journey.
Without this, it will not be possible to materialize the theoretical “unfair advantage.”
Even worse, there will be permanent “areas of tension” between the day-to-day business and the scaleup – slowing down and eventually endangering the success of the scaleup.
In this transitional phase, we typically pressure-test key assumptions about scalability. We establish alignment, including the collaboration model with the relevant corporate functions. We develop a Scaling-Up plan, including milestones and metered funding requirements, and a 100-day plan so that the scaleup gets off the ground quickly after the Scaling-Up decision.
“How can we de-risk and accelerate our incubator’s ventures?”
- What you get: A blueprint for advancing the incubator’s operating model towards ‘Diligent Entrepreneurship.’
- Typical Quick Win: Scorecard for a venture’s position on its innovation journey, pinpointing the gaps to be closed.
Almost any large company has an Innovation Center, Business Model Incubator, Digital Lab, etc. these days.
But all too often, the teams work with ineffective approaches. They …
- use methodology that is not fit-for-purpose (designed for VC-backed startups, but not for a corporate context)
- are too distant from Core’s decision-making priorities
- work too much behind their desk and spend too little time with potential customers
- do not have a mandate for the end-to-end process — their scope is limited to the early stages of the innovation journey.
We help your explorative unit to achieve what we call ‘Diligent Entrepreneurship.’
This approach builds on seven pillars:
- A well-structured pre-Scaling journey, built on defined maturity stages and defined validation tracks
- Thinking tools for every deliverable that address the “so what” and help to decide whether the deliverable has been achieved
- A well-defined corporate context in which the corporate startup is aligned with the corporate trajectory and the strategic priorities of the corporate functions
- A scorecard that shows the status of the deliverables and hence pinpoints where exactly the corporate startup is on its innovation journey
- Clearly identified ‘leaps of faith’ – areas that could not be fully validated
- A lean governance board where the board members understand the validation principles
- A funding apparatus that is tied to maturity milestones
“How do we create a startup-like autonomy in the corporate context?”
- What you get: A set of arrangements that allows the scaleup to move at pace while being compliant with essential corporate rules.
- Typical Quick Win: Defined areas in which a scaleup can make decisions – Increasing speed and resource efficiency for the scaleup and for Core.
One of our clients made the count: The company has more than 800 corporate rules. Some of the are hardwired in IT systems (for example, RFQs), some of these manifest as corporate policy (recruiting), some of them as SOPs (account management) and some of them as corporate standard (business cases).
It is not possible to win in Scaling-Up following these 800 rules. The scaleup needs to have a dedicated ‘venture management system‘ with entrepreneurial freedom and a small set of 20 or so rules. The trick is to make these 20 rules compliant with the essence behind the 800 corporate rules.
We know the spots in which the venture’s management model needs to align with Core on the 20/800-rules situation.
We also know the levers for how to achieve alignment.
This enables us to develop an actionable model for your corporate scalps how they could have entrepreneurial freedom within well-defined (and practical) boundaries of the corporate context.
"How can we reduce tensions between Core and Innovation?"
- What you get: An outline how to solve the inherent ambidexterity problem for your company.
- Typical Quick Win: A common language between Core’s Senior Management and Innovation, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of subsequent discussions.
Core – the day-to-day business – and Innovation build on two incompatible management systems. The former builds on flawless execution of defined processes to deliver predictable productivity, the latter on agile reduction of uncertainties to capture new value pools with a scalable business and operating models.
Both systems are needed to future-proof the company – the former “pays the salaries”, the latter “pays the pension.” We help our clients to make ambidexterity work by focusing on the aspects that matter most:
- Are you clear on what you want to achieve and how to measure success?
- Can you inspire your teams with a true purpose?
- Do your people experience the purpose they were sold?
- Is your business really ready to scale?
- Do you have a genuine learning culture?
- Do you have an overarching goal and portfolio management?
- What is the right organizational home for scaleups?
- What do you need to arrange to get an effective gearbox?
- Where are new structures needed and what can remain inside existing structures?
- How do you empower the “Pirates in the Navy” – the venture leaders and their teams – to work effectively in the areas of tension between the two systems?
How can we secure corporate support beyond funding?
- What you get: A Senior Management pitch – backed by real-life cases from other companies – to get the right set-up fast: The collaboration with Core’s relevant functions and an effective, lean governance.
- Typical Quick Win: Identification of the decisive corporate assets and capabilities to remove Scaling-Up roadblocks and to accelerate and de-risk the journey.
One of the fundamental challenges in corporate business building is how to align Core and the scaleup to create the ‘power of both’: The global scale of the corporate, without the bureaucracy, and the agility and speed of a startup, without the chaos.
This alignment does not come by itself. Core and the scaleup have their own agenda, goals, and incentives. These are different and, in most cases, incompatible. The trick is to embed the scaleup’s goals into the KPIs of Core’s relevant functions and to establish a solid collaboration model. By doing so, Core’s functions have an incentive to support Scaling-Up.
The collaboration model creates an environment in which both ventures and core are aligned towards the success and growth of the initiatives. The alignment comprises ‘hard factors’ such as KPIs and well-defined resource secondments but also ‘soft factors’ such as the culture in working together. The idea is not to aim at changing the culture directly, but rather to create structures and an environment where the ‘power of both’ can unfold.
“Our business building needs a SWOT analysis.”
- What you get: An actionable SWOT analysis – Where and how should your company work on its business building approach.
- Typical Quick Win: A “two next steps” plan for focusing resources and avoiding ineffective work.
More than 50 percent of European companies see business building as a top-3 priority on the corporate agenda. But the success rate is disappointing: Only 1 out of 8 corporate startups makes it to scale – and from the ones that do, only 1 out of 4 creates an annual revenue of USD 50m or more.
Business building is a complex endeavor.
And it touches on a fundamental challenge within the company: How to balance winning the NOW with creating the NEW?
Some of our clients have already created unicorns, some are on a good trajectory.
From this client work and the sum of Best Practices behind the Lean Scaleup we know the Key Success Factors for building new businesses inside a corporate.
This enables us to provide you with a down-to-the-point, fluff-free outside-in view on where your company stands and what should be done. Armed with this view, an outline of your company’s solution and some quick wins you can start to align with C-suite on building/upgrading a key capability for the future.
Companies that co-created / work with The Lean Scaleup framework.
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- Discrete Manufacturing
- Financial Services
- Mobility & Logistics
- Process Industries
- TIME industries