Listening Tour Community Page


Wins, Woes, and What's Next for Corporate Innovation Groups


We’ll be sharing our approach, what we learn, and ways to engage with us on our listening tour here!

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Listening Tour Updates

Coming soon! We'll be talking to corporate innovation groups in the health care, financial services, consumer packaged goods, apparel, insurance, and non-profit sectors over the next few weeks. We'll share what we're hearing here. Don't worry, we'll send you a quick email to let you know when we've got something new for you.


Haven't signed up for the listening tour yet?

Interested in chatting with us 1:1?

Drop a line to Clay Maxwell

Listening Tour Resources


Check our "North Star" for the listening tour


See how we're structuring our conversations


Some of our related blogs and research


Design Brief


We like to kick-off our projects with a Design Brief in order to formalize and align as a team on our goals, the scope, and how we'll evaluate whether we've been successful. Below is our initial draft. While it serves as our "north star" that anchors us as we diverge and converge throughout research, we also like remain flexible and open to new directions that might emerge from unexpected information and insights. 


Project Description

Corporate Innovation Groups (CIGs)  have immense complexity to contend with, and therefore many suffer in pursuit of their goals (or in comparison to those of the mother ship). So rather than overstating that it's just not working period, (which of course isn't true despite a number of units having turned off the lights recently) we want to explore our assumption that it's much more likely that many are simply carrying far too much risk given the complexity of their mandate and their situation relative to the rest of the organization.

We’ll conduct a listening tour— a series of 1:1 conversations with leaders of CIGs— to explore how they are thinking about managing risk, approaching business model innovation, and accelerating new ventures into the market.


Target Users


We're talking with current and past leaders of CIGs from a diverse set of industries and approaches to structuring their innovation groups. We want to hear from those who have experienced relative success with the CIGs, as well as those who have since been shut down by the core business.

Listening Tour Community

Innovators, business leaders, designers - anyone looking to grow their existing innovation group's capacity or establish an innovation group at their organization.


Areas of Exploration

Through our interactions with innovation leaders, we're focusing on the following:

  • Strategic risk factors
  • Project risk factors
  • Testing and scaling new business models
  • Different models for structuring corporate innovation groups (CIGs)
  • Key mindsets and behaviors to embrace across the organization


Expected Outcomes

As a result of talking with innovation leaders and engaging with the Listening Tour community, we'll deliver the following to tour followers:

  • Exclusive interviews with corporate innovation practitioners across industries
  • Reflections from the Peer Insight Ventures team on interviews and our experience working with CIGs
  • Opportunities to engage with corporate innovation practitioners and peers in the listening tour community
  • Actionable insights, such as...
    • 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


Success Metrics 

We'll know we've been successful when we have confidence in the following:

  • Shared understanding of CIG risk-factors and how to better manage them

  • Deeper understanding of how to facilitate and protect disruptive business model innovation within a large organization

  • Alternatives for how to accelerate ventures into the market without pre-maturely triggering BU antibodies


What else would you add? Drop a line to Clay Maxwell


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Hunches & Questions


At Peer Insight, we're big fans of assumptions. We find that by surfacing them early, we can generate focused questions and design our research to enable us to confirm or disconfirm them efficiently. In the pursuit to validate (or invalidate!) them, we'll uncover insights that both focus our path forward, but also reveal new, more specific assumptions. This process of anchoring to assumptions ensures that we stay on course, zero-in on the areas where we have the most uncertainty, and also continually identify any blindspots we might have. Below is our initial list of assumptions along with some examples of the types of questions we'll ask to put them to the test on our listening tour.  


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).

"How are you thinking about [1] strategic risk factors (sponsorship, space, metrics, etc.) and [2] project risk factors (technical and economic risk)?"

  • Where/when do you tend to carry too much risk?

  • What stands in the way of moving to more optimal risk level?


CIGs need a "Charter" that specifies how to navigate murky waters, prioritize resources, make decisions, and communicate their mission back to the larger organization.

"Tell us about your CIG…"

  • How has it evolved to what it is today?

  • How do you approach/think about...

    • Your “charter” / mandate
    • Your innovation process + methodology
    • Your decision-making process
    • Your ROI / external evaluation criteria
    • Your success metrics / internal evaluation criteria
    • Your funding mechanisms and budget(s)
    • Your staff/talent/team
    • Your project pipeline (sourcing and choosing)
    • Communicating work internally (i.e. to non-innovation employees)
    • Communicating work externally (i.e. to clients/customers, partners, shareholders)
    • Coordinating work with business units/core business
    • Scaling innovation projects
    • Location of the CIG / facility


CIGs support disruptive innovation by examining, investigating and testing entirely new business models.

"How are you thinking about business model innovation?"

  • How do you effectively test and scale new business model concepts in a way that doesn’t tigger BUs to come in and slow/stop momentum?


CIGs need to deliver innovation back into the core business in a way that complements, as opposed to supplanting, existing lines of business.

"What is the process for integrating successful growth projects back into the core business?


What other questions would you ask? Drop a line to Clay Maxwell


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