Venture building is a business- and product development approach that enables your organization to create new products, services and processes from scratch. One of the key aspects of venture building is that it is able to do so, without interfering with the existing company infrastructure at an early stage of the development process.
The traditional method of corporate venturing (new business, tool- or product development) usually involves many parts of the organization. We have come to see, that most of the times someone from second-tier management is appointed to lead the way on a new project.
This project can be anything from the development of a new product or service, to creation of a new tool. These special business units, generally draw their resources from the existing organization and its employees.
Whereas this is a practice that can show to be successful, as it strives on the experience of the existing staff, it can also interfere tremendously with the current operation. This in turn, causes friction as it sometimes unclear how resources are to be allocated. Furthermore, we see that technical support (IT-resources) are quickly torn between new business/solution development and their current tasks.
What could a venture building team look like?
One of the solutions to these issues is to work with a dedicated venture building team.
A venture building team generally consists of:
- Project lead, product-/process owner who is end-to-end responsible to create the suitable solution
- (UX-)Design resources to help make the product(s) tangible
- Technical resources (IT-support)
- Business development and/or marketing support to test the product “at market” or within the organization
- Integration management team members who facilitate the organizational re-introduction (when the project was successful)
Speed of execution
Speed of execution is a key element of success
One of the main benefits of working with a dedicated venture building team, is that these employees can focus their full attention on the task at hand. From our experience, it can be difficult for a full-time employee to take on a second task, next to their already existing job and deliver on both parts of the job with the same quality of output.
Speed of execution can be of the utmost importance
When time is of the essence, as it usually is, deploying dedicated teams to develop new solutions from outside of the organization, can help significantly. The venture building team is able to focus its full attention on developing a marketable solution for the group.
Since venture building teams do not necessarily use resources that have been with the company for a long time, they tend to come up with new approaches to problems.
Even when a certain approach has been tried within the group before, it can help to have a venture building team work a different angle. What helps in this respect, is that a venture building team can be staffed on one single project – and solely to work on that project.
Venture building teams can be staffed with dedicated experts
This allows us to find industry experts with dedicated expertise, to help out and come up with a long-lasting solution to the challenge. This type of dedicated expertise would be difficult to deploy within the existing organization, because they would be used for different “current” problems that are available.
“You don’t need to panic when you are going the wrong way. Make as many mistakes as you can.”
One of the most underrated benefits of venture building is the fact that these teams are allowed to make mistakes; their decisions, do not interfere with the regular business. These teams, have and see fewer limitations than those that could be available within the organization.
These limitations do not always have to be long term technical show stoppers, but can just as well be political in nature.
The lower the barriers to innovation are, the more out-of-the-box the solutions can become. From our experience, making mistakes is the best way forward and an important part of the path to innovation. Hence, by eliminating the barriers to failure, we enable true innovation to take place.
Organizational acceptance for new solutions
A long term benefit of creating full-fledged solutions outside of the organization, is the fact that the finished product needs to have a different quality level. The product that developed, should be able to thrive as a standalone venture.
Thus, it is generally more polished, understandable and thought-through, than a product that is developed as a side project within an organization. This allows for an easier re-integration of the service and in our experience a generally higher acceptance to the solution by the core team members.
At the end of the day, it is important to develop solutions that are able to thrive within the organization and possibly beyond that. Venture building can be an interesting option for mid to large-cap organizations.