A crisis like the Covid-19 outbreak poses an immediate danger when it comes to the innovation activities of companies, because these activities depend on available resources that aren’t needed for anything else (slack resources). In particular, innovation activities related to breakthrough developments that involve high risks and where the expected results lie further in the future (corporate venturing) can suddenly be stopped. Previous research has frequently shown that corporate venturing plays an important role in the long-term survival of organisations. But, precisely these activities are the most vulnerable in times of crisis, because decision-makers do not always properly assess the value of these activities. On the other hand, previous research has also shown the value of anti-cyclical investing: companies that invest in exploratory activities during economically difficult times often emerge better from the crisis.
The intended results, to be expected in January 2021, are threefold:
- Identifying the best practices, to give companies guidelines for innovation management in times of crisis and to help them better protect their innovation activities in the future.
- Translating some of these best practices into a teaching case, with which students and experienced professionals can gain more insight into the various approaches and the results involved.
- Developing an ‘innovation resilience’ scan, with which companies can recognise the vulnerability of their innovation activities and adjust them in a timely manner.
The research will be conducted in close collaboration with Corina Kuiper, managing director of the Corporate Venturing Network.
About Vareska van de Vrande
Vareska van de Vrande is professor of collaborative innovation and business venturing at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). She joined RSM in 2007 after completing a PhD in industrial engineering and management science at Eindhoven University of Technology.
Van de Vrande’s expertise focuses on the areas of corporate venturing and collaborative innovation, including external technology sourcing, corporate venture capital investments, strategic alliances, and corporate-startup collaboration. Other research interests include (corporate) entrepreneurship, patents, and venture capital.
She has published articles in leading academic journals, including the Strategic Management Journal, Research Policy, the Journal of Operations Management, the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, the Journal of Product Innovation Management, IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management, and the Journal of Business Venturing. At RSM, Vareska teaches courses and modules in strategic management and corporate venturing at graduate and post-experience level.