Build Your Corporate Growth Factory in 100 Days

Posted on 20/07/2016

At Vertical Strategy, we believe that large corporations, with the right strategy, can be digital winners. To succeed they must unleash their inner entrepreneurs and provide them with an environment in which they can test out new business models and explore how to radically improve the customer experience. One of our clients, Danske Bank, has become a disruptive digital player in the Danish banking sector, because of the products that their internal incubator (MobileLife) has launched over the past few years. Based on our learnings, an incubator, when successfully implemented, is able to integrate the ‘muscle of a corporation’ together with the ‘soul of a startup’. These are the characteristics:




As seen in the diagram, large corporations can actually have a range of advantages over most startups, due to their existing brand, know-how, financial strength and existing customer base. The challenge of corporate incubators is to adopt the value-providing characteristics of a startup (‘soul of a startup’). To achieve this the incubator must include the right strategic combination of people, structure, and culture:


  1. People: In any organization everything begins and ends with people. This is even more important when operating in an uncertain environment. As a corporation, you need to identify your employees, who have the ability and want to navigate in unknown waters. Assembling an A-team is an absolute must.
  2. Structure: Dealing with daily operation takes away focus from developing entirely new business models. The team you put in charge of the incubator should ideally be physically detached from the core business, so they are able to develop new solutions without the interference of managers and legal teams.
  3. Culture: The incubator should be allowed a certain degree of autonomy and independency from the mothership, as innovation rarely works within the boundaries of existing corporate culture. Decision-processes, incentives, and goals need to be re-aligned to nurture a creative and risk-taking culture.


How To Get Started?

The transition to establish a corporate growth factory is not a trivial task. Once the team of internal entrepreneurs have been identified by the company, Vertical’s approach is to systematically activate the innovation process – from idea generation to scaling – through six simple steps (see below):


Corporate Incubator Framework.pptx

Launch In 100 Days

We believe in learning by doing. By following our program, a corporation will have worked with all the required processes of establishing a growth factory – in just a 100 days. This might sound fast, but the whole point of a growth factory, is establishing a team that are able to think and act quickly. Throughout the program, the incubator team will have investigated the startup landscape, re-organized their organizational structure, analyzed the customer journey, developed three new business ideas, tested the ideas in the market, and collected actionable results. In doing so, our goal is to provide the team with experience in all the different tasks to become a self-sustainable idea factory.





If you would like to receive our ‘Strategize Guide’ (the first two weeks of our program). Please reach out to us. In this guide, you will receive the tools to identify startup threats, growth opportunities, your unfair advantages and explore possible end-scenarios in your industry.


Written by Karsten Petersen and Johan Bender