Accelerator failure and the need to measure
Every few weeks someone sends me a new link talking about why innovation hubs, accelerators, and labs don’t work. Some recent highlights include:
- Andy Howard’s researched piece on Why corporate innovation labs don’t work compares labs in British Airways with Daimler to note that its not the space as much as the people, commercial intent, external collaboration, organisational structure, and customer insight.
- Ajeet Khurana provides a perspective from the startup scene in India in his article How startup accelerators, incubators, and mentors are failing our entrepreneurs, pointing to a need for a structured approach to quality mentors. Ajeet goes into more detail in his LinkedIn post titled Startup Accelerators, Incubators, and Mentors Are Epic Fails.
- An article by accelerator and hub RocketSpace highlights three reasons Why Corporate Accelerators Fail as a resource drain, average talent and companies and distance from entrepreneurial ecosystems.
- Singapore-based Richard Turrin identifies 12 reasons why most innovation labs are failing.
The question of “Is this whole ‘innovation ecosystem’ thing really working?” should be asked. Anyone in a new field should ask:
Are we making a difference or are we making noise?
The criticism we all seek to avoid is that of “innovation theater”.
These articles and this line of thought underscores my focus on measurement. My own question for my PhD is “What is the role of the innovation hub in building community resilience?”
To get to the answer and address questions in the post above and have a conversation beyond opinion, we need better ways measure.
Technology challenges from chatting with my dad on Skype
One of the other driving thoughts behind my research and the need to measure is on how to not leave communities behind in technology advances.
My folks and I tried to video call this weekend. First we tried Skype, but the call would not connect. Then we tried Google Hangout, and they got a message about outdated software. I was in the process of trying Zoom when they decided to call it a night and give it a shot later.
Apart from my highlighting my own limitations as remote tech support, I was again reminded that our technology advances can continue to leave segments of the community behind who are not actively involved in the space on a day to day basis.
At the risk of seeing the world through a single lens, the need again comes to measure the impacts of innovation on everyone, not just the few who create the value.