I presented the North-Star Initiative to Mayo Ventures leadership. The meeting was an overview of the development of innovation ecosystems through the creation of innovation centers focused on industry clusters. Mayo has been a leader in the Rochester region in direct corporate to startup incubation. The conversation spanned the center model of co-opition between corporations, government, academics and entrepreneurs to spur the overall ecosystem and bring new ideas to market at a combined scale vs. individual efforts.
The ARCCoM event was any amazing experience to participate in. The opportunity to learn from so many diverse speakers in the area of global innovation and collaboration was inspiring. Below I’ll break out some of the insights by categories of speakers and also share some of the key topics and questions that where raised from the discussions.
- The corporate executives shared their experiences and business practices in the area of global collaboration and business development. Many of their case studies highlights the competitive advantages to capitalizing on innovations around the world. These where very progressive organizations that realized that innovation is happening all the time around the globe, not just internally, and that only those organizations that could partner in joint ventures would be leading in the market.
- One of the best practice themes that was emphasized was around working in global markets. They would make great investments in building partnerships in the markets and building organizations with talent from the regions. This made the development of new assets / business models a direct part of the region and ultimately successful
- A variety of models where shared. They differed on two main areas. The first was if they where independent businesses or university based. The second was who they where built to serve i.e.: The start-ups, corporations or academic institution. The best models served the needs of the full ecosystem vs. just a subgroup.
- Each Innovation Centers had philanthropic money to create the center, team, and basic capabilities. This was a combination of Public and Private funding.
- Centers very quickly had cutting edge start-ups and research that was of great interest for Corporations to have visibility to deal flow and direct engagement in the centers
- Full of research and patents, but having a hard time commercializing products due to lack of experience and capital
- Online education, networking, and mentoring is key in developing a global ecosystem of exchange
- Need international corridors in place to other centers to help in the accelerations, incubation, and commercialization services to other markets.
- Global expertise and investment capital critical to success
US Commercial Services
- Broad global services and network to facilitate B2B ventures
- Case studies of MN companies working in foreign markets and vice versa
The networking and conversations with attendees over several days and social events was fantastic. Many insights into actually doing business and procedures required based on actual markets.
- Innovation Centers are being built in many countries and are thriving. They are seen as critical parts of the ecosystem for competitive advantage
- Corporations are directly funding and participating in the centers to help scale the overall capabilities and maturation of startups
- Start-ups are able to accelerate with less time & capital and pivot quicker to viable solutions for commercialization
- Centers are very interested in building international corridors for ease of collaboration and access to other markets
- Universities play a support role with education and subject matter experts
- Online Education is playing an increasing role of brokering knowledge and networks
- US Commercial service can be a key partner in entering new markets and B2B joint ventures
- Politics in the media is not always representative of business opportunities. People from around the globe could share the difference between what their own media was saying the realities their markets where experiencing. The many case studies of success demonstrated that even in difficult times there can be very valuable collaborations and shared interests
Support the MN Chambers as they host international events bringing businesses, academics, and innovations center representatives from round the globe
I was a speaker and panelist at the ARCCoM Fall 2015 International Innovation event. This event hosted representatives from Russia, Europe, and North America to participate in a dialogue about B2B collaboration and building Innovation Corridors for start-ups to collaborate with markets internationally. The event began on Oct 8th, hosted at the Carlson School of Management and included daytime sessions and evening social/culture events over several days. Speakers at the event included Corporate, Academic, State Government, Federal Government, Innovation Practitioners, Innovation Center Executives, and Start-up speakers. Below is the event agenda, content and speakers. I will expand on the learnings in a second blog post.
October 8, Thursday, CSOM, room 2-206 8:30 am – 9:00 am – Registration and light breakfast
9:00 am -10:20 am – Greetings and introductory remarks
- Anatoli Korkin, Chairman of ARCCoM, St Paul, MN, Welcome and introduction
- Mark Ritchie, Minnesota Secretary of State (2007-2015) and President/CEO, Minnesota World’s Fair Bid Committee, St Paul, MN, Introductory remarks
- Alexander Stadnik, Russian Trade Mission, Washington D.C., introductory remarks
- Thomas Bruns, United States Commercial Service, Washington D.C., Introductory remarks
- Steve Riedel, Minnesota Trade Office, St Paul, MN, Minnesota trade with Russia: Current status and opportunities
- Jamshed Merchant, Consul General of Canada, Minneapolis, MN, Introductory remarks Vladimir von Tsurikov, Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis, MN, Museum of Russian Art mission in international cultural exchange
10:20 am -10:40 am – Coffee break
10:40 am -12:00 pm – Business opportunities and technology innovations
- John Pournoor, 3M Corporation, St Paul, MN, Solving National Needs and Creating Public Value
- Robert Gaiiuliin, Tatarstan Trade Mission, Washington D.C., Business opportunities in Tatarstan
- Vasily Kutsakov, Skolkovo Foundation, Moscow, Russia, Skolkovo Foundation: How experts and enterprises abroad can get involved
- Todd Lefko, International Business Development Company, Minneapolis, MN, Possibilities in the Russian water sector
2:00 pm – 3:20 pm – Technology innovations and academic partnerships
- David Williams, Cheval Partners, Minneapolis, MU,Building innovation ecosystems- durable business services to support and grow innovation
- Kendrick White, Marchmont Capital, Nizniy Novgorod, Russia, Connecting Russian universities to global business – the new International Proof of Concept Association (IPOCA) as a mechanism to develop cross country collaboration
- William Petuskey , Arizona State University, AZ, Opportunities for internationaleducation, research and technology innovations at Arizona State University
- Liliya Kiryanova and Sergey Zamyatin, Tomsk Polytechnic University, Tomsk, Russia, Partnership opportunities with Tomsk Polytechnic University
- Yuri Kistenev and Aleksandr Zamyatin, Tomsk State University, Tomsk, Russia, Partnership opportunities with Tomsk State University
3:20 pm – 3:40 pm – Coffee break
3:40 pm – 5:00 pm – US – Russia partnership proposals and opportunities
- Leonid Grichiner, Russian Publishing House “Zerkalo”, Minneapolis, MN, Introduction to Russian-speaking business community in Minnesota
- Alexandra Johnston, DFJ Aurora, San Francisco, CA, Russia-USA business
- Partnership: A view from Silicon Valley
Vlad Pavlov, RollApps, Palo Alto, CA, rollApp’s experience of offering application virtualization platform in the USA and Russia: similarities and differences between the two markets
- Alexander Shalumov, Presidential Academy of national Economy and Public
- Administration, Automated system ASONIKA for electronic device design and reliability:Expending international research and business opportunities
- Tatiana Tatarchevskly, University without Borders, New York, On-line education and social entrepreneurship: Internet platforms for international collaboration
October 9, Friday 10:30 am – noon; CSOM, room 1-127
- Thomas Bruns, United States Commercial Service, Washington D.C., Overview on Russia market and economy
- David Edmiston, United State Commercial Service, Minneapolis MN, Overview on Commercial Services Organization and examples of facilitating international business
- Round table discussions on Russia’s water and wastewater treatment Sector.
- Moderators: Steve Riedel, Minnesota Trade Office, and Todd Lefko, International Business Development Council.
1 pm – 2:30 pm; CSOM, room 1-135
- Panel on E-Learning as a Vehicle for U.S.- Russian Collaborative Projects in Social Entrepreneurship, Education, and Science
- Moderators: UMN, UMD, University without Boarders
2:30pm – 4:30 pm; CSOM, room 1-135
- Panel on International Corridors and Innovation Centers
- Moderators: David Williams, Cheval Partners; Kendrick White, Marchmont Capital
See images from the event at:
The journey of corporate officers to participate in a regional innovation center can seem like a long road to ROI. Officers that I have spoken with where strong skeptics of the value proposition and time horizons. The level and ways of participating were very unclear initially. Paying forward in both the regional capabilities and for services seemed a risky proposition. Not being able to predict, plan or guarantee success in the innovation space also seemed like a minefield to navigation. Those brave enough to explore the potential have now become the strongest advocates for the model. Let’s explore the types of value they discovered on the journey:
- Paying upfront: In the philanthropic phase of center development created new regional capabilities around registration, data collection and ultimately visibility into the opportunities within the region. This created a platform to discover start-ups, corporate partners, international partners, investors, mentors, subject matter access, industry expertise, new channels, new commercialization capabilities, etc.
- Deal Flow: The data platforms allowed early access to the funnel of start-ups, ideas, and partnerships. This allowed for a competitive advantage in getting early access to the most innovative ideas in their developmental stage. The opportunity to act early became empowering and a key input tor strategic planning of corporate direction and investments
- Disruptive Innovation: Early access to deal flow could also identify disruptive ideas and trends that business would need to prepare for. Again critical opportunity to act or plan accordingly
- Partnerships: By offering directly at the center, with dedicated staff, companies placed themselves at the nexus of deals, ideas, and partnerships
- Co-opitition: By directly collaborating with other companies at the center, strong collaborative relationships where formed. Exploration, ideation, investments, and risk could be shared between B2B partnerships. The ability for consortium partners to invest in a much larger portfolio of innovation and bring all the support and assets of the consortium for commericalizing at less cost/time became a reality
- Research: Academic institutions providing training and research programs directly into the centers made these immediate accessible for start-ups and corporations
- International Networks: Global companies and government delegations frequently visit centers and directly office and invest. Opportunities abound for international joint ventures and market access
- Talent Development: Corporations can rotate personnel into the centers to expand their access to ideas and trends. Training and mentoring opportunities to develop new skill sets. Sponsoring students as interns working on corporate projects is a good way to develop new talent for recruitment.
- Culture Shift: Integrating more corporate talent into the center can help shift older culture norms to stay current with prevailing business trends and agility of organizations
- Fund of Funds: New funding models letting investment sit in portfolios of start-ups can spread the risk and scale the number of new ideas corporations have a vested interest in
- Internal Projects: Internal projects of a corporation can access the services, labs, research, and subject matter experts of the centers
- Analytics: The combined resources of the corporate members can help in more extensive market analytics and research.
- Industry Parks: Have corporate facilities and personnel in the a joining industry parks speeds collaboration and in accessing the centers
- Best Practices: Methodologies, processes, research ,etc are all learning opportunities for corporations to adopt these practices internally
- Boards: Joint boards of cross industry expertise can help board members stay on the pulse of innovation and organization needs of their own companies
Seeing existing center swelling with corporations having dedicated office space and personnel. The number of corporate facilities being built in the adjacent industry parks. The number of joint ventures and joint patents. The number of start-ups being accelerated, incubated, and commercialized through the centers are all good indicators of the attraction of the value propositions. In some examples, corporations are relocating their global HQs to the industry parks seeing that the advantages at being at the nexus is critical to their business success and influence in the market. In less than a few years most centers outgrow their facilities due to demand.
Many companies today participate in centers across the globe. For many this experience leaves them wondering why they don’t exist in their own region. For the corporate officers evaluating the journey, it is not a matter of speculative investment but and imperative to have the strategic advantage of participation, engagement, and influence at the centers.