Customer focus​ innovation incubator and how to start one.

Today I have something amazing for you. Do you want to be a powerful innovator in your company? Do you want to work with your boss on the disruptive projects? Are you an innovator but you need a team, budget, and space to bring the future to people’s lives?

Start today with the 6 steps which will guide you through establishing innovation incubator.

It doesn’t matter if you work for a big company or a smaller business. Do you know what the secret is? It’s the customer. Your customers know everything, and you should start with them.

a) Where can you look for inspiration?

b) What steps can you take immediately?

c) How to pitch your business development and strategy managers?

Please watch the video (it’s webinar with slides) and find the answers. Engage your boss so you will become his / her partner in disruptive innovations.

That’s not everything !!!

I have also prepared text version + slides as well as an audio file (grab it if you are stuck in the traffic, or you can’t read or have no time to watch)

I used these steps to start shaping two innovation incubators for my customers, it works very well!!!


Hi, this is Arek Skuza. In this article, I would like to tell you today about how to start a company innovation incubator, which solves customer problems from the very, very beginning. I will also discuss the way you can convince your CEO to help you start with it. If you start solving customers problems your management team will supply you with all necesseary resources – that’s the best way to become the most powerful innovator in your company.

I believe that startup can bring growth and traction to your business. Thus, I help you to make it happen. Since company incubator is customer centric from the very beginning, let me start with a little story.

What McDonald can teach us about innovation performance and customer centric growth.

Mr. Christensensen, who is a Harvard business school professor, run a project for McDonald’s about the milkshakes. 

McDonald’s was trying to figure out how to make the milkshakes better and to sell more of them. Therefore, McDonald’s tried to convince people to give them feedback about enhancing the milkshakes. 

Mr. Christensensen’s idea is to hire a product to do the job. Finally, Mr. Christensensen hired a lot of products/ utilities to do the job for them. Just like when we hire a car to do the job for us, we hire a smart phone to do the job for us, newspaper to do the job for us. 

In this case, we also hire the milkshake to do the job for us. So, what’s the job of milkshake?

To find out, McDonald’s was running a test to different workshop with customers in their facilities. However, they couldn’t sell more milkshakes wherever they’ve found out. Then, Mr. Christensensen said to himself “okay, let’s find out why people hire milkshake to do the job, and let’s do it where the customers are”

So, basically, Mr. Christensensen sent his teammates to a few McDonald’s restaurants.

So, Mr. Christensen suggested meeting the customers in restaurants in the morning. The theme from Mr.Christensen team, they spent 18 hours in restaurants and realized that among others, most milkshakes were bought before 8 am. 

That’s called the attention. So, he sent people to McDonald’s restaurant next day, and they spent time outside. Here is what they have learned: the main motive that people buy milkshake is that they are about to have a boring drive to work.  Therefore, Mr. Christensen ask the customers “What did you do before milkshakes were invented?”

So, people used to say,

“I hire a banana, but I have to eat it in a minute, and this boring drive were still there” or “I hire a donut, but it’s sticky,” “I hire a bagel, but I have to put the jam on it because bagel is dry. So, to put the jam and cheese on it, I have to drive with both knees. Yes, with both knees. Then, I hire a snicker’s, but that made me feel guilty. Finally, the milkshake is perfect because it keeps me hungry, It keeps me full by 10 am, and then I have 20 minutes drive and I can still do something with my hand and I drink that milkshake and I love it”

So, what they realize that it’s not about enhancing milkshake so much. It’s about giving people a way to buy that milkshakes faster, right? And they also realize what is the competitor. It’s not another milkshake in another restaurant. It’s basically donut, bagel, banana, and snickers. Then, McDonald’s realized that the market for them is seven times bigger than expected.

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So, what are the takeaways? 

  • First of all, if you want to be an incubator that is customer-centric, just start where the customers are and they are in the restaurants, in shop, in stores. Out there !!!
  • The tip number two. Solve customers’ problems which are essential from the everyday perspective. Look for something that bugs customers every day. That’s your incubator will solve important problems.
  • Tip number three, build list of motives not features. The features of milkshake were not that important like the motives why people buy it, and that motive was a boring drive, right?
  • Tip number four, What I always have here is a beautiful incubator in our company. It can be beautiful open space with chairs, desk, or fancy monitors. 

Examples of Incubator activity that solves vast issues.

let me give an example of the company that were hunting for customer problems exactly where they are, and they hire startup to solve that problem for the customers. That’s a perfect incubator activity. To find a startup that can solve the problem of your customer, right? It’s not about desk, it’s not about the office space. 

It’s about startup and a company.

In the Philippines, people find it hard to have their money wired abroad. It’s a $34 billion problem, which Western Union tackle with a startup called Coins. Coins startup is a $10 million funded company. It’s not a unicorn. It’s not a huge startup with amazingly significant funding. It’s a $10 million funding only, and they tackle together with the western union $34 billion-problem, which is surprisingly customer-centric from the very beginning.

“What can you do tomorrow?” Right, just tomorrow, when you want to start it and convince your supervisor or CEO or boss to run incubator that is customer-centric.

I have a very simple six steps for you:

  • First, go to your customers like Mr. Christensen’s team did. Talk to customers just where they are and learn their motives. Don’t care about features so much. However, learn their motives, and the alternatives before they hire something to do the job. You should remember banana, donut, snickers versus milkshake.
  • Then, put those motives on the paper. It will define your incubator scope for your company. That motives are problems that you are going to solve for that incubators. Your CEO is going to love that.
  • Then, you want to check if there are already startups you can bring to that incubator that can solve those problems, meaning motives. To do this, go to Google search, put in the Google search bar the name of your motive and then the word “startup”, and the word “raised funds”. Why should you put rise funding? because you want to find startups that only have the funding in place already, so you can bring the case to incubator. Your incubator startups that can quickly tackle that issues for your customers.
  • Then, make a list of the startups, put them together with the motives, put them together with the competitors you found, meaning what people hired to do the job, and pitch your CEO with that list. You will be amazingly prepared for the first pitching conversation. 

So, this is how you can start a company incubator which solves customer’s problems from the very beginning. CEOs love it because it brings money, traction, and growth. Now you can be a chief of the customer-centric incubator, and you can start pitching your boss for building one and putting you in charge.

Will you share this post?

I have a request for you at the end. I would like you to help me spread this post. If you can, share it on Facebook, send it to someone by e-mail or Messenger. Send someone a link with the content: “Hey, this is something that I think you should read about!”.

Thank you very much in advance!

If you have any questions, requests, suggestions, or just want to write that we did a good job, well go ahead do it !!!!!

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