Enterprise Innovation in 2023 & Beyond: What’s Next
Enterprise innovation has advanced considerably in recent years. Innovation teams and labs have become table stakes inside high-performing enterprises, and even the discipline of innovation has diversified in approach. Innovation still encompasses “moonshot” ideas dreamt up in classic R&D teams, but innovation today also refers to more grounded efforts like “leading with need”: aiming for incremental, measurable improvements in real-world problems. When done right, innovation helps enterprises play both defense and offense successfully, future-proofing themselves for a new era.
But not every enterprise has mastered innovation equally well. Previously limited to technology verticals and job functions, innovation is infiltrating more verticals like healthcare and financial services as well as across horizontal functions like finance, sales, even HR. The macroeconomic climate plays a role as well. Stubbornly high inflation rates, supply chain pressures, the labor shortage, and a looming recession – all these factors have, perhaps paradoxically, accelerated innovation efforts in the service of digital transformation and automation.
An Ecosystem Approach to Enterprise Innovation
Enterprises are experimenting with how innovation practices “live” inside their organizations, whether centralized or distributed. An ecosystemic approach to innovation is gaining ground fast – that is, thinking more holistically about the ways enterprises can solve interrelated, high-impact problems. Ecosystem-level innovation with emerging technology providers can enable enterprises to uplevel an entire function with dramatic impacts – that is, assuming integration and collaboration are successful.
Last fall we issued the inaugural Battery 2022 Cloud Software Spending Survey, in which we found that IT spending was considerably more resilient than one might have expected. We’ve recently updated this survey as well as expanded its scope, focusing on innovation as well as a few other thematics and currently plan to issue a new report on a twice-annual cadence. Watch this space for newly released data very soon.
Expanding the Battery Business Development / Innovation Team
Battery’s business-development team has long fostered mutually beneficial partnerships between enterprises seeking to incorporate emerging technologies and startups building these solutions. With the launch of Battery Collective, we’ve built a thriving community of digital makers from the worlds of product, data and engineering, drawing the enterprise and startup ecosystems closer together. Recently we recognized we could solve even bigger problems, both vertically and horizontally, by extending our business-development practice into innovation specifically.
To that end we’re welcoming Kelly Cooper as a director of business development to our team. Kelly is a former operator and consultant who will work closely with executives at Fortune 500/Global 2000 companies to help them pursue innovation initiatives and accelerate growth, including by partnering with Battery portfolio companies.
Kelly has first-hand knowledge of how enterprises function and which best practices to innovation yield the most success. She brings depth in financial services experience to this work as well as breadth across many other industries like life sciences, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods and retail. At the same time, she’s well-versed in the mindset of early-stage startup founders. She knows how to prepare founders to foster maximally productive partnerships and technology integrations with staying power, while also advancing their own organization’s goals to scale.
“Innovation today encompasses a huge range of challenges and opportunities,” said Kelly Cooper. “While some companies are still reacting defensively to the workplace impacts of COVID-19, and developing innovative collaboration strategies for the workplace of the future, others are paving the way forward with truly disruptive technologies, like applying blockchain to institutional funds transfers. The definition of innovation is incredibly broad, with experimentation ranging from chemistry-driven flavor development in food and beverage, to data-driven customer return predictions in retail, to the application of generative AI on customer service centers in banking.”
Kelly added, “Regardless of their objectives, innovation teams are focused on creating proofs of concept, failing fast, learning quickly, and bringing viable, measurably better solutions to market more quickly. Enterprises also recognize the value of diversifying their tech stacks: no one vendor can solve all their problems anymore. Ecosystem-level innovation is key, but defining the problems clearly, identifying the right tech partners, and managing successful integrations are all tricky and crucial to long-term success.”
“We expect Kelly to hit the ground running with innovation labs in enterprises across the country,” said Scott Goering, Partner in Business Development at Battery Ventures. “Kelly has deep experience in all aspects of the innovation conundrum. She’ll be a great, collaborative partner in this work for both parties.”
We invite innovation-oriented enterprises to join us on March 9, 2023 in New York City for a roundtable discussion over dinner to explore innovation goals in 2023 and best practices to achieve them. Feel free to get in touch with Kelly directly if you would like to discuss the event or your enterprise’s innovation goals more broadly.