Large companies can innovate like start-ups

Creating a ‘start-up’ division within a large company can be used to kick-start innovation, according to a leading academic on the subject

. Professor Keith Goffin of Cranfield School of Management will tell delegates at tomorrow’s Innovation Conference in Daventry how large companies can introduce innovative products – even their structure is not geared up to do so. “The structure of the parent organisation can prevent innovation,” he says. He points to the example of Lockheed Martin in the 1943. By creating a ‘skunk works' – which mimicked the approach and advantages of a small company – it designed the ‘Shooting Star’ jet fighter in just 43 days. Other large companies have overcome the problem by instigating other schemes: electronics giant Texas Instrument, for example, overcame the ‘not invented here’ syndrome with an annual award to recognise employees who took ideas from elsewhere and used them to take process or product innovation forward. · The Innovation Conference is held at the Staverton Park Hotel in Daventry on Tuesday April 24. To book a place, contact Jackie Hall on 01234 754505.