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A guide to turning innovation into a Post Covid-19 rebound lever through an effective innovation vehicle

This publication explores the challenges faced by traditional corporate innovation structures, how they are exacerbated in times of crisis and what are the best practices for overcoming them through the implementation of efficient innovation vehicles.

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Pathfinder's 7 key principles for creating tangible value through innovation in a post-covid-19 world :

With the feedback from +90 client missions and exchanges from our Innovation leaders community, which includes +20 major French groups, we have tried to understand why corporate innovation rarely achieves its objective of creating tangible value and how to remedy this.

1 - Clear vision adapted to the means and objectives of the group

Where to invest? What are the priorities over the short and long term? Precise data and analysis of the value chain transformation combined with the evaluation of the assets that the group can raise are decisive.

2 - Strongly rooted leadership and strategy

Not to be embodied ad hominem innovation by a manager likely to change position, but to align it with the group's global strategy. This alignment will enable managers to take bolder decisions.

3 - Experienced and uncomplicated employees

The employees of the innovation vehicle must have a dual competence: a mindset and methods derived from the world of start-ups and a good knowledge of the group and its workings.

4 - Fully autonomous vehicle with good governance

The transformation of the group frequently comes up against the business-as-usual approach, which is very strongly anchored in the short term: a revolution in organisation is needed by placing oneself directly at the head of the group, where the creation of an innovation vehicle directly attached to the COMEX allows the group to be ambidextrous by digging into risky and sometimes off-beat issues of the core business (independent vehicle).

5 - Risk/Interest Balance for Project Leaders

To innovate is to learn faster than your competitors. If large groups are interested in the world of startups it is to copy their ability to do things quickly and with little means. The best way to interest co-founding project leaders is to give them significant shares in return for a limited salary and a status of corporate officer (no permanent contract) with a clear go/no go agenda. This model can be adapted for project leaders from the group.

6 - Measured performance

The right indicators must be defined according to the group's objectives and their monitoring must be rigorous in order to reposition the group if necessary. It is crucial that leaders and their teams are able to quantify failure, understand it and learn quickly from the challenges encountered along the way.

7 - Act like a VC not like a wanna be startup, with higher hopes of success thanks to the assets to be raised

Large groups should position themselves as venture capital funds and should even have higher expectations of success if they manage to make available the assets that their group can raise for the startups or new businesses in their portfolio.

1 - Clear vision adapted to the means and objectives of the group

2 - Strongly rooted leadership and strategy

3 - Experienced and bold employees

Where to invest? What are the priorities over the short and long term? Precise data and analysis of the value chain transformation combined with the evaluation of the assets that the group can raise are decisive.

Not to be embodied ad hominem innovation by a manager likely to change position, but to align it with the group's global strategy. This alignment will enable managers to take bolder decisions.

The employees of the innovation vehicle must have a dual competence: a mindset and methods derived from the world of start-ups and a good knowledge of the group and its process

4 - Fully autonomous vehicle with the right governance.

5 - Risk/Reward Balance for Project Leaders

6 - Measured performance

The transformation of the group frequently comes up against the business-as-usual approach, which is very strongly anchored in the short term: a revolution in organisation is needed by placing oneself directly at the head of the group, where the creation of an innovation vehicle directly attached to the COMEX allows the group to be ambidextrous by digging into risky and sometimes off-beat issues of the core business.

To innovate is to learn faster than your competitors. If large groups are interested in the world of startups it is to copy their ability to do things quickly and with little means. The best way to interest co-founders project leaders is to give them significant shares in return for a limited salary and a status of corporate officer (no permanent contract) with a clear go/no go agenda. This model can be adapted for project leaders from the group.

The right indicators must be defined according to the group's objectives and their monitoring must be rigorous in order to reposition the group if necessary. It is crucial that leaders and their teams are able to quantify failure, understand it and learn quickly from the challenges encountered along the way.

7 - Act like a VC not like a wanna be startup, with higher hopes of success thanks to the assets to be raised


Large groups should position themselves as venture capital funds and should even have higher expectations of success if they manage to make available the assets that their group can raise for the startups or new businesses in their portfolio.

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