Follow us on a Listening Tour to understand how corporate innovation groups thrive, bumble, or fumble

Corporate Innovation Groups (CIGs) are charged with making new, high-risk possibilities a reality. They are often outfitted with shiny new lab spaces and some autonomy to explore new opportunities. Some groups have successfully innovated by taking measured risks their executives could tolerate; others, however, fail to remain relevant. 

This summer, Peer Insight Ventures will hit the road to talk with insiders who have lived through the ups and downs of setting up and running Corporate Innovation Groups (CIGs) that are tasked with exploring adjacent and breakthrough growth opportunities for their respective organizations. Building on our 14 years in the field, we'll investigate the success and failure modes of CIGs and identify ways teams can build a more resilient innovation capacity at their organization.




We want you to join the conversation! We invite you to share your questions, ideas and experiences. We’ll update you about insights we’ve gathered and how our thinking evolves via our newsletter, our community content page, and solicit your input as we go along. 


We've noticed a trend...

From our 14 years collaborating with Corporate Innovation Groups, we've seen what works and what doesn’t - and we see many of these long-standing challenges persist today in the face of a growing innovation imperative.



As we partner with Corporate Innovation Groups to identify new opportunities, form concepts, and test them via in-market experiments, we get a first-hand look into their inner workings and evolution. Although every CIG operates differently, they all have immense complexity to contend with. As the innovation landscape evolves, we're continually interested in understanding how innovation teams can succeed despite the threats they face from all sides - external competitors, disruptive startups and internal business units.

Although a number of Corporate Innovation Groups aren't living up to expectations or have closed their doors, we believe there's still a case to be made for the role of these groups in business innovation. We believe there are common failure modes and by avoiding them, teams can form a more resilliant innovation system.

Dive deeper on Corporate Innovation Groups: 


We have a hunch...

A significant percentage of CIGs aren't living up to expectations, and many are failing to deliver results. We believe that understanding common failure modes can point to ways these groups can thrive. We’ll treat the below failure modes as assumptions that we’ll explore and poke on during our conversations along the listening tour. Here’s our initial list:
  • CIGs need to calibrate and right-size the type and amount of risk they carry [1] relative to the rest of the organization, and [2] on individual projects they pursue (i.e. portfolio strategy).
  • CIGs need a Charter that specifies how to navigate murky waters, prioritize resources, make decisions, and communicate their mission back to the larger organization.  
  • CIGs support disruptive innovation by examining, investigating and testing entirely new business models.
  • CIGs need to deliver innovation back into the core business in a way that complements, as opposed to supplanting, existing lines of business.

These assumptions will help guide our Summer 2018 Listening Tour. We'll evolve this list as we glean insights and surface new questions in our conversations.

The Listening Tour

We're putting our hunches to the test by conducting a listening tour with leaders of Corporate Innovation Groups (CIGs) with a diverse set of experiences to understand how they’re thinking about risk, business model innovation, and realizing new ventures in the market.

From the stories we hear, we'll synthesize the learnings into actionable insights for you and your team, like...

  • Strategies that have worked to navigate/avoid common failure modes

  • Ways to identify and flag warning signs within your own CIG and how to address them before they become make or break issues

  • Collective wisdom from earlier trailblazers that will allow your CIG to remain hyper-focused on getting to that first dollar of revenue


Sign-up to follow along and shape the journey!

We don’t want this to be a one-way conversation! At Peer Insight we practice radical transparency, so we’ll share out what we’re hearing as we go and invite you to offer up additional questions or areas to probe based on your own experiences.

What you'll receive...

  • Periodic newsletters with exclusive interviews and content from our conversations with CIG leaders

  • Chances to speak directly with the Peer Insight Ventures team about your ideas and experiences

  • An invitation to a webinar event at the conclusion of the listening tour where we share what we heard and how we made sense of it

  • Tools and templates that you can apply to your corporate innovation challenges

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Meet your tour guides!


Natalie Foley

CEO, Peer Insight

With a background in strategy, technology implementation, and change management, Natalie has led projects for Peer Insight, IBM and PricewaterhouseCoopers in various countries, functions, and industries. She has worked across sectors, with clients such as Allstate, DTE Energy, the World Bank, Kimberly-Clark, Dept of Homeland Security and the Good Samaritan Society. She worked on U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Afghanistan team from 2004-2006 and traveled extensively there


Clay Maxwell

Managing Partner, Peer Insight Ventures

Clay is a Managing Partner at Peer Insight. As a gifted enabler of organizational growth, with extensive experience in corporate innovation strategy and ideology, he has led service design and innovation work across numerous industries with clients such as Colgate-Palmolive, Intel, Emerson, Intuit, Kimberly-Clark, and Merck. Clay also has extensive experience in business model innovation and strategic venture partnering. Prior to joining Peer Insight, he worked for Creative Realities helping analyze and improve large organizations’ innovation processes. Clay is a member of the board of the Association for Managers of Innovation (AMI), a non-profit. He graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in psychology and history.


We’re Peer Insight Ventures

We partner with companies to explore potentially disruptive business models and accelerate corporate ventures by standing them up in the market as low-risk ventures that maximize learnings around product-market fit. We've successfully accelerated ventures to their first dollar of revenue, validated their potential to scale and developed strategy to integrate them back into the core business for scale-up.