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Innovating within Corporations: Key Takeaways Part 2

Constant innovation is the name of the game, but how can this be accomplished within large enterprises? Over the course of three blog posts, we'll share key takeaways from 1871's recent Corporate Innovation Summit which was based on one of 1871 CEO Howard Tullman's favorite truisms: "People don’t change when they see the light; they change when they feel the heat.” Read on for Part 2 of 3. 

David VanHimbergen presents at the Corporation Innovation Summit at 1871.

Read More: Innovating within Corporations: Key Takeaways Part 1

Recently, 1871 hosted the fifth Corporate Innovation Summit with long-time partner State Farm, which brought together several 1871 corporate partners to engage with one another in a collaborative environment. David VanHimbergen, CEO and co-founder of Tide Spin, provided key insights from his experience around founding an internal startup within Procter & Gamble:

  • When your industry changes, recognize the opportunities that it creates.

As Brand Manager leading Innovation for Global Tide, David realized that the dry cleaning market was being revolutionized by startups using technology to create on-demand solutions for consumers, particularly in Chicago where much of the city’s residential housing lacked in-unit laundry appliances. With the grocery market becoming an increasingly competitive space for Tide, David recognized an opportunity for Tide to supplement its existing at-home detergent sales and to leverage the Tide brand equity by entering the dry cleaning and laundry service space . Thus began Tide Spin, an on-demand dry cleaning & laundry service that better meets the needs of Tide’s urban customer segment.

  • Have a compelling, quantitative business case to get buy-in for your internal startup.

To get P&G’s support to start Tide Spin, David created a strong, financially sound business case covering both the benefits of entering the dry cleaning & laundry space, as well as why an internally developed solution would be better than an externally acquired one. That being said, David emphasized the importance of being upfront about the underlying assumptions of the business case to ensure expectations stayed flexible as they learned from their initial testing.

  • Act like a startup and don’t get bogged down by your corporation’s processes.

After spending 17 years with P&G, it would have been easy for David to continue following the corporation’s standard processes and procedures when founding Tide Spin. Instead, he leveraged 1871’s professional recruiting services to assemble his team and encouraged them to embrace the startup mentality of “good enough” solutions that solved problems in minimum time. This approach kept them lean and agile and enabled Tide Spin to go to market significantly faster than a traditional corporate product launch, as well as quickly iterate to develop a solution that ideally fit their customers’ needs.

Stay tuned for the final post in our three-part series, where we will share key learnings from Disha Gulati, CEO of Style 545, who left her position as Director of Global Analytics at Mondelez International to found her own startup at 1871.

Read More: Innovating within Corporations: Key Takeaways Part 1

The Corporate Innovation Summit is just one event in a series of programming 1871 hosts to promote a closer relationship between the corporations we partner with and our member startups.

1871’s Corporate Membership program can help further your organization’s innovation and broader objectives. With a Corporate Membership, your team can leverage 1871 resources like our 500+ hands-on training workshops, while also receiving support from the 1871 team in making connections with startups and other members of our entrepreneurial ecosystem. Many partners leverage our Corporate Membership to launch special projects, skunk works programs, and internal startups like Tide Spin right here at 1871.

If your corporation is interested in plugging into the ecosystem at 1871, contact for more information. 

Topics: Events, Insights

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