How business and corporate innovation compare

I get asked this question often: what is the difference between business innovation and corporate innovation? Allow me to share my take on this, but remember: it is just one man's opinion.

How business and corporate innovation compare

Okay. Disclaimer: this is just a case of tomayto vs tomahto. My take on this difference is subjective. Yet, I do get asked the question more than once: is there, if any, a difference between business innovation and corporate innovation? I feel there is. Innovating a corporate is different from innovating a business.

Business innovation

Business innovation is when companies implement new processes, services, or products with the goal of boosting the bottom line. It focuses on revisiting a company's business model and leverages years of experience in a certain industry. It's how Netflix moved from home delivering DVDs to streaming content.

Corporate innovation

Corporate innovation is, to me, operating at a more abstract level. It concerns transforming the organization to be better equiped to respond to change. To set the organization up for what Netflix did. See the nuance I'm after here? Corporate innovation is about getting the right "innovative" mindset. Business innovation is using that mindset to execute.

In practice

If I were to sell you business innovation, I'd come work at your company, learn about your product and existing customers. I would analyze the market. I'd deliver you a presentation with a SWOT analysis and some "low hanging fruit". Now if I'd sell you corporate innovation, I'd organize workshops with your teams and teach them how to apply Lean methodologies. Take them out of the building to talk to (potential) customers. Help them "growth hack" experiments and together validate our assumptions. Succesful corporate innovation makes your teams able to do business innovation by themselves. It puts them in a great position to combine years of industry knowledge with a more "let's test this!" mindset.