What is an Innovation Outpost?

In tech hubs across North America, the success of innovation ecosystems hinge on start-up culture, where ideas and creativity that are free to blossom without the constraints of politics, red tape or inertia that exist within most big companies. And as these small and nimble companies emerge we see that they can disrupt existing markets, offering compelling solutions to customers, and exciting career opportunities for top talent, making it tough for large companies to compete.

So, if you are leading an established big company, how can you stay on top of the technology impacting your industry? How do you develop innovative product ideas, or compete for talent that wants a creative work environment? It’s likely that the very things that make your enterprise successful (the structure, process and policies that you need to be stable) will also stifle creativity and impede innovation.

This is the quandry that gave rise to the Innovation Outpost. Clever execs from forward thinking big business are buildings teams of employees who don’t fit the corporate mold.  Working outside the corporate environment, in eclectic offices located in the midst of the start-up ecosystem, these teams are building prototypes, challenging old assumptions and developing a unique culture.

Here is how Communitech has described the Corporate Innovation program that is growing in Kitchener-Waterloo:

The Communitech corporate innovation program is designed to help you harness your innovation potential by taking advantage of external models to supplement internal strategies. It allows you to shift your big brand culture and think like a startup, tap into fresh talent and ideas, create unlikely connections, speed up prototyping and significantly reduce the cost and risk associated with trying new things—all while staying true to your brand.

Companies like GM, Fairfax, Canadian Tire, Canon, TD, and Deloitte have invested in this innovation strategy, and the results are starting to come together in real measurable ways – for customers, employees, shareholders and for the start-up ecosystem as a whole.

Artemis Canada is proud to partner with Communitech and their Corporate Innovation Partners, to identify leaders within the community who can spearhead and manage the various Innovation Outposts. If you’d like to learn more about these unique and exciting opportunities, take a look at the general leadership profile and reach out to Kristina for more information.