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Open Corporate Accelerator (OCA)

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Organization Design Toolkit (103-slide PowerPoint presentation). Recent McKinsey research surveyed a large set of global executives and suggests that many companies, these days, are in a nearly permanent state of organizational flux. A rise in efforts in Organizational Design is attributed to the accelerating pace of structural change generated by market [read more]

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The necessity to accelerate Innovation is not unique to a particular industry.  Incumbent companies in numerous industries are thoroughly cognizant of the competitive risks presented by the inadequacies of their Innovation chains.  They are also aware of the capabilities of startups in quickly utilizing technologies.

This realization has given birth to the concept of Open Corporate Accelerators (OCA), which involves less investment than the conventional Corporate Accelerator model.  

Traditional Corporate Accelerators are usually started by a solitary company for its own gain.  In contrast, OCAs accept several sponsors and can entice a wider collection of more developed startups.

OCAs may comprise of academia, corporate sponsors, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), suppliers, and companies from various industries.

An OCA differs from a traditional CA in 4 key aspects:

  1. Sponsors, individually, lose absolute control with regards to the program edifice and thematic focus of the platform, as is the case in Open Innovation programs.
  2. Brand prominence is lost in an OCA model by individual sponsors since sponsorships are not exclusive.
  3. OCAs are a way for sponsors to fill specific gaps in their product or processes rather than exploring generalized Innovation, the fit for which is unclear in the initial stages.
  4. Exclusivity of the innovative solution is lost in an OCA due to mass participation of sponsors as well as solution providers.

Sponsors can follow 3 best practices to capitalize on the Innovation prospects presented in the OCA model.

  1. Develop assurance internally for outside Innovation.
  2. Willingly take up cooperation with competing companies (co-opetition).
  3. Select areas to pursue.

OCA also diminishes the ambiguities associated with collaborations involving early-stage startups with unproven solutions; and it produces more successful implementations in less time.

Similar to conventional Corporate Accelerators, Open Corporate Accelerators also follow a 3-phase approach.

  1. Search and Selection
  2. Solution Conversion
  3. Solution Assimilation

Let us delve a little deeper into the phases.

Search and Selection

Pairing startup technologies to BU requirements is a significant challenge in phase 1 of the OCA process.

This can be accomplished by holding recurring events dedicated to certain technologies, during the course of which startups interact with relevant BUs. 

Solution Conversion

Major challenge of the 2nd phase of OCA process is demonstrating that a startup’s solution can fulfil requirements of the sponsor precisely.  Startups discover that fulfilling sponsors’ development conditions is a demanding issue, particularly with regard to quality and time expectancies.

Such hurdles can be overcome by making startups and BUs design and handle Proof of Concept (POC) projects conjointly.

Solution Assimilation

Upscaling the solution is the defining challenge of the 3rd and final phase.  Startups normally have many projects and are under great stress to marshal and schedule the resources needed to attain scale. 

POC projects help quickly decide whether a solution is effective or not.  Changeover from solution adaptation to assimilation is achieved effectively by ensuring that the startup’s solution and team are well entrenched within the sponsor organization.

Interested in learning more about Open Corporate Accelerator (OCA)?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Open Corporate Accelerator (OCA) here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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About Mark Bridges

Mark Bridges is a Senior Director of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is your go-to resource for best practices in business management, covering management topics from Strategic Planning to Operational Excellence to Digital Transformation (view full list here). Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. Prior to Flevy, Mark worked as an Associate at McKinsey & Co. and holds an MBA from the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago. You can connect with Mark on LinkedIn here.

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