Mid-September we kicked off the #CommerceAccelerator. This is the third in the series of Innovation Accelerators at Sanoma. We have two big goals for the program: i) to build new business lines and ii) to learn new skills. As a direct result of the first two accelerators we have established six new start-ups and by the end of this accelerator almost 450 of our most talented employees will have learned new skills about Lean Innovation. We believe this will boost our capability to succeed in the overall digital transformation of the company.
This accelerator has two new angles. Firstly, we are focusing on “enabling commerce” rather than creating and distributing content: how can we use our ability to inspire, engage and reach consumers to enable commerce? And secondly we have opened up the process to include about 70 students from 6 European universities, to bring an extra richness of talent and ideas. This has given a great new twist to the proceedings.
Vote yes to make it happen
Previously we have selected the top ten ideas and their owners to build pro-MVPs. Tomorrow evening is the moment of truth! In a live webinar we will select the top five that will be given the opportunity to go to bootcamp. At the bootcamp we will be build working prototypes and evaluate the potential of both the concept and idea owner to take the next step in our intrapreneurship program and establish a new venture at Sanoma. Places at bootcamp are highly coveted and are a ticket to build your idea and show your talent at our company.
Wisdom of the crowd and expert opinions
Three of the five winners will be chosen by the public vote with the final two positions awarded by a team of experts (the “wildcards”). We took a first view on the ten competitors in the expert team last week and made a preliminary ranking for the wildcards. The experts tend to use the wildcards to strengthen alignment with the overall strategic goals of Sanoma. It was really great to see the pitches and concepts – it’s going to be a hard fight for the places tomorrow! In previous accelerators it’s been remarkable to notice how similar the voting of the wisdom of the crowd and the experts has been. In some ways that gives a certain level of confidence that we are making the best choices. (In others, I wonder if I could save some money on the experts :-)).
There are three key criteria that will be considered when voting. 1. Strategic fit with Sanoma. 2. Ability to operate. 3. Financial attractiveness. Most of the ideas tend to score highly on the first two points, partly due to the guidance we give during the process and partly because of the experience of the participants. My biggest question usually relates to the financial attractiveness of the idea – particularly with regard to scale. What are the ideas that could really succeed at scale?
Last week we reviewed the first quarter performance of the new ventures Hubly and SpotandShop that we created from the #ContentAccelerator. I was truly impressed by the progress Birgit and Nikky have made, including first sales already! It’s really brilliant how they have taken the opportunity and brought it to life. Respect! I hope this is a sign of what is to come from the #CommerceAccelerator.
So, I’m excited about the outcome of tomorrow’s voting. Good luck to the ten teams competing and thanks to everyone who joined the program. It will be great to see the winners at bootcamp in Amsterdam during the week of 9 December! Looking forward >>.
I’m interested to hear how other corporations boost innovation, or any feedback or comments you have on our program – feel free to drop me a line!