FIRST THURSDAYS

…are private CAF community events where we catch up, support one another and extend our understanding of key questions. CAF Members are facing so many challenges just now — aside from sheer busy-ness, we have family members struggling with severe illness, we’re transitioning to a post-mask world, and we have a war on our minds. We know your energy is precious in these difficult times! We aim to make these conversations massively valuable on a personal and business level. Just in case it doesn’t work for you to come in any given month, we’ll capture key resources from each session here. The connection, humor, vulnerability and insight have to be experienced live, so join us if you can!

April

Outside-in innovation can be a wrenching experience when your internal stakeholders push away lessons and opportunities you know could make a huge difference.  Existing corporate structures are there to maximize stability, and they’re not eager to change to accommodate new things.  

Set up your internal stakeholders in advance.  Honor them with a mentoring or decision-making committee role, and help them know what to expect.  Look for opportunities to mate internal stakeholder needs with the value that your startups bring.  Above all, make sure the lessons you’re learning have a place to land! 

Another practice that can help a great deal:  Choosing startups that really are ready to partner.  

Watch for our Metrics Series and our Innovation Process Accelerator, not to mention our forthcoming startup readiness program!

March

Large organizations are traditionally designed for max stability and alignment.  When the ground underneath your structure is subject to change without notice, stability and alignment aren’t what you need.  A skyscraper, no matter how well-built, makes a lousy sailing ship.  

There are structures that seem more adaptive.  Consider for example:

*Netflix, where context is more important than control, or Apple, organized by function instead of by business unit, or pre-IPO SAIC, where employee ownership and an internal stock market aligned incentives across the organization.  

The CAF First Thursday Crew sees urgency, and opportunity, for firms to refashion themselves in a more adaptable way.  Just the fact that you’re partnering with startups is a good sign that you’ve placed a foothold in the future.

 

List of working group ideas & leaders — what should we add?


*Strategic Partnership — Selma Batur (MTU)
*Relational Agreement — Corentin Cremet (Orka)
*Metrics — Diana
*The Corporate Engagement Engine as a key to a more flexible organization — TBD!

February

Our small but mighty group talked about these tough times. How can CAF support the community, and all of us support each other, when there’s so much going on? What kind of power might we draw from communicating together between meetings? We explored new communications tactics and technologies we might use.

Discussed:

Grace’s research database on platforms is here

Brainstorm:  Offering for startups!  To discuss later in the Spring!

January

The Book

After five years in corporate-startup innovation, it’s time to tell the world what we’ve discovered! At the First Thursday event in January, Diana presented the latest sketch of our forthcoming book, working title: The CAF Open Innovation Playbook. With daily work underway, we’re expecting a completed manuscript toward the end of the year, and playtesting commences by summer! Watch this space to register for the playtest!

Strategic Partnership

CAF Partner Selma Batur, MTU raised her hand to lead a working group on Strategic Alliances.  

  • We’re seeking a symbiotic relationship with our partners.
  • Many ways to add value to an alliance:  Investment, POC, expertise, equipment, relationships … 
  • We need a framework for roles and responsibilities in alliances (discussion for next time this working group comes forward)
  • Books to read:  Holacracy and The Alliance
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