Startup Studios: Snake Oil or Elixir for the Corporate Innovator?


Startup studios are gaining traction as a tool for corporate business innovators. Is this simply the corporate innovation fad-du-jour? Or is this a viable solution for overcoming the challenges of driving entrepreneurial behavior and achieving successful innovation outcomes within the slow-moving, process-heavy, execution-focused enterprise?

Or is it something in between? Having delved into this with corporate innovators from around the world, in different industries, and at different levels of innovation maturity, it is clear that startup studios are emerging as a valuable arrow in the innovator’s quiver as:

  • An alternative to the standard corporate venture capital model.
  • A relatively low-risk, low-cost, and fast means by which enterprise leaders and innovation teams can get a hands-on sense of what is involved in new business creation, and what it means to use entrepreneurial tools and methods.
  • A means of capacity extension when the right talent is not available or easily accessible within the enterprise.

What the startup studios are not, however, is a way to avoid installing the essential pillars of successful business innovation or avoiding the challenges of standing up a new, divergent business within a mature enterprise.

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