Author: Craig Haney

The Nimble Hippo: Hire an outsider to lead your corporate innovation outpost

When large companies open innovation outposts at the Communitech Hub in Waterloo Region, Ontario, we insist that they choose people from outside their organizations to lead them. Why would we tell our partners to avoid selecting these leaders – or activators, as we call them – from within their companies? It’s simple, really: If they really want to change the conversation about innovation, they need new perspectives; fresh sets of eyes on the problems and opportunities these companies face. In our case, that means activators usually come from within the Communitech ecosystem. They might be from a startup, a fast-growing...

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The Nimble Hippo: Getting started on a collaborative model of innovation

Throughout the year, curious executives and leaders from companies and governments from all over the world come and tour the Communitech Hub in Waterloo Region. Invariably, they are astounded by the mix of startups, mid-sized companies and large multinationals all working in the same building. The executives typically ask about intellectual property rights, where the offices are and how people have meetings. Given the openness of our space, it’s difficult for them to comprehend. But by the end of the tour, after talking to the outpost lab leaders who run our corporate incubators, the visitors are able to see...

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