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4 Jul 2020

Grant for research on effect of Covid-19 on innovation and corporate venturing

Which factors determine whether innovation and corporate venturing activities survive a crisis such as Covid-19? Prof. Vareska van de Vrande from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and Corina Kuiper director of Corporate Venturing Network have been awarded a ZonMW grant as part of a subsidy by the Dutch Ministery of Health, Welfare and Sport and national research organisation NWO: ‘Covid-19 Science for Society’.

Corporate venturing

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.

Intended results

The intended results, to be expected in January 2021, are threefold:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Developing an ‘innovation resilience’ scan, with which companies can recognise the vulnerability of their innovation activities and adjust them in a timely manner.

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