What can telcos learn from Silicon Valley?

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Many telcos have visited the Valley in search of new and “open” innovation opportunities, but the returns often seem fleeting. We talked with a 20-year veteran of the circuit to understand why, and what needs to change if they are to embed and operationalise such innovation.


Format: PDF filePages: 41 pagesCharts: 10Author: Kate SpencerPublication Date: July 2021

Table of contents

  • Executive summary
  • Introduction
  • What are telcos hoping to do in Silicon Valley?
    • The dominant innovation outpost models in Silicon Valley
    • What to learn in Silicon Valley: Four levels of learning
    • Increasing acceptance of evolving business models
  • What should telcos do differently?
    • Purpose: Match effort to expectation
    • Whom to learn innovation lessons from in Silicon Valley
    • People: Who goes to the Valley, and who stays home
    • Practices: Dos and don’ts
  • Telco dynamics and challenges
    • Ambidextrous transformation is a hard art to master
    • Two-speed IT puts the brakes on digital culture
    • Capital-intensive infrastructure companies have a bigger turning circle
    • Design thinking must infuse the transmission belt
    • Telcos may struggle to win the battle for tech talent
  • Conclusion
  • Index

Table of Figures

  • Figure 1: Four major routes to innovation
  • Figure 2: Levels of learning.
  • Figure 3: Ecosystem business models are often catalysts for innovation
  • Figure 4: Innovation maturity matrix
  • Figure 5: Types of innovation.
  • Figure 6: Innovator Archetypes
  • Figure 7: Innovator archetypes and innovation models
  • Figure 8: Silicon Valley Happy Family
  • Figure 9: The innovation transmission belt
  • Figure 10: Elisa’s ambidextrous innovation model

Keywords: accelerators, collaboration, corporate venture capital, corporate venture studios, Culture, Design thinking, disruptive, disruptive opportunities, disruptive threats, ecosystems, efficiency, Elisa, Experiment, experimental mindset, external expertise, incubators, Innovation, innovation lab, Innovation Labs, intrapreneurs, Jean-Marc Frangos, leadership, Learning expeditions, Open Innovation, opex, partnering, R&D, Research University partnerships, risk appetite, scouting, silicon valley, start-up, Technology scouting, technology shifts, transformational, uncertainty, venture-building

Companies & technologies covered: Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, HP, Intel, Robinhood, Figma, Stripe, Uber, Productiv, Brightline, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, Plug and Play Tech Center, Sequoia Capital, Elisa