The Role Of The Incubator Manager Commerce Essay

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The fast profit incubator leverages intrapreneurship from non-core technologies for commercial reasons. A key role is to identify and provide funding for unused patents. The needed knowledge mode in the fast-profit incubator is entrepreneurial knowledge, which involves knowledge about venture creation, building venture teams, finding markets, and transferring patents from the parent corporation to the new venture. The fast profit incubator aims to profit on business ideas, simultaneously allowing the parent corporation to concentrate on core competencies.

(2) The leveraging incubator matches core technologies to commercialization competence in order to create ventures that the parent company can re-integrate. The knowledge most used here is organizational knowledge, which denotes know-who competence and the ability to create connectivity between several units, departments and people by aligning core competencies in the company.

(3) An in-sourcing incubator concentrates on technology and business ideas from external markets that the parent might acquire after incubation. This incubator enables the parent company to incorporate new technology and further develop the core. It increases contact with outside entrepreneurs; it allows for strategic differentiation and partnerships for existing and emerging technology platforms and products. The knowledge used in this case is primarily technological knowledge, which is knowledge about the parents' core technology and complementary technologies.

(4) Market incubators focus on non-core technologies that, if successful, will increase the demand for the parent's core technology and products. The knowledge used here is complementary market knowledge about emerging markets, customer needs and the ability to segment markets effectively.

Method

This study uses case study methodology to explore the role of management in respect of stakeholders in a corporate incubator organization. An organization case study entails the detailed scrutiny of one or several selected organizations (Yin, 2003). A single case organization study allows the researcher to develop a deep understanding of its internal dynamics, and to extend his interpretations of the organization with observations about the context in which it operates (Bryman, 1989). Researchers can also take advantage of the case design to get closer to the practical problems tied to managing organizations (Wicks and Freeman, 1998; Freeman and McVea, 2001). Developing theory from the basis of empirical case studies is supported by Eisenhardt (1989), and Eisenhardt and Graebner (2007), based on the Grounded Theory approach (Glaser and Strauss, 1967). While some hold that multiple cases are needed when the aim is to establish theoretical propositions (Yin, 2003), others argue that even a single case can influence or even produce theory (Siggelkow, 2007; March et al., 1991; Weick, 2007).

Three incubated companies related to three types of corporate incubation-

Technology venture 1: Kongsberg Innovation and the internal leveraging role An internal leveraging unit aims at facilitating intrapreneurship by sourcing potential new business inside the owner. This can include non-core related business that eventually spins out from the parent or core competence that the owner company can re-integrate once developed. The following technology venture belongs to this category: A long-time employee of Kongsberg Defence and Aerosystems established a venture based on an e-commerce solution that promised to ensure easy, secure and cost-effective communication between buyers and sellers. The Kongsberg Group was the major shareholder in the company; however it represented a business that was far from its own core. Therefore, the Kongsberg Group wished to spin the e commerce company out and asked Kongsberg Innovation to assist this company. The team had already developed the technology and was struggling to penetrate the ICT markets with the new product. Kongsberg Innovation worked closely with the company manager in order to help his company advance sales of their ICT-product. One of their efforts was to help the CEO implement a sales bonus system to make the company improve on selling contracts. Another strategy was to hire a sales expert who first entered the company as a coach each week for over two months, and who eventually became an operative sales agent in the company. Moreover, Kongsberg Innovation assisted the founding of the company using its own connections to venture capital firms as well as giving advice during the process. Kongsberg Innovation's main contribution to this company was the type of knowledge contained in the entrepreneurial mode. Entrepreneurial knowledge was highly relevant for the company. On the other hand, it was also the only type of knowledge available within Kongsberg Innovation relevant to the company. Thus the e-commerce company was non-core to the extent that Kongsberg Innovation found it difficult to add value through the owners' knowledge resources. One staff member said: "In this case, I feel that perhaps we are lacking something. Neither we, nor the Kongsberg Group, nor the rest of the companies here know the ICT business very well". Based on a long history of employment, the entrepreneurs' range of relevant contacts overlapped Kongsberg Innovation's network. The same staff member said: "It is not as if the entrepreneur does not have access to people in the market, and we do. He can open the same doors as we can". From this process, Kongsberg Innovation experienced that they had little to contribute to new venture proposals, which deviated widely from the core business of their owner companies. What Kongsberg Innovation could offer was the entrepreneurial and managerial experience of the staff. This knowledge is general in nature meaning that it is relevant to all businesses.

Technology venture 2: Kongsberg Innovation and the in-sourcing incubator role The goal of an in-sourcing incubator is to hatch new technology ventures from the external market and to develop the company with the aim of integrating it as a part of the parent corporation. This presents the organization with the opportunity to take in innovative technology, fresh ideas and competent new employees. Developing new markets from core technologies has been the typical way to make business at the Kongsberg Industrial Park after the splitting up of the weapons factory. It is therefore appropriate to surmise that the companies would welcome external technology and newcomers as a part of a dynamic corporate culture. In this spirit, Kongsberg Innovation could serve as an in-sourcing incubator, i.e. a listening-post to new technology and business developments and a hub of connections between stakeholders. One staff member put it this way: "The owners get access to new technology and get news of what is happening out there through Kongsberg Innovation. Some of the technology ventures we have here are potential acquisitions for our owners which can provide them with new technology". One such opportunity came to Kongsberg Innovation at a seminar on innovation and enterprising when an entrepreneur expressed his intention to solve problems of organisms contained in ballast water. Non-native organisms from travelling ships that release ballast water pose a costly and global problem, as new organisms tend to destroy established sea life in the receiving shores. This represented both a good market prospect and a relevant extension to the enterprise portfolio of Kongsberg Maritime (one of the owner companies of Kongsberg Innovation). Entrepreneurial and technological knowledge sums up the most important addition to this company. Kongsberg Innovation arranged knowledge transfers in workshops and meetings at which important input and counselling came from the owner companies' own marked developers. This redevelopment of the business plan gave rise to a more potent business concept that not only cleansed the water, but also prevented ballast tank corrosion. The owner companies also gave the company access to demanding customers in the maritime sector who outlined their specifications to them. Finally, Kongsberg Innovation supported the company in merging their technology with complementary technology from a similar project at Det Norske Veritas, resulting in a radical improvement of their ballast water treatment system.

Technology venture 3: Kongsberg Innovation and the profit incubator role Kongsberg Innovation resides in a commercial and highly competitive business milieu, and most of their owner companies are international enterprises. However, Kongsberg Innovation is not primarily seeking to profit from their incumbents to the same degree as a fast profit incubator. The manager of Kongsberg Innovation stated: "The point about Kongsberg Innovation is not to sit in ownership positions and maximise profit". Nevertheless, in some cases they have had exit opportunities that would have created a good return on their knowledge investments. In one instance, a company outside Kongsberg had invented a new concept for cleaning ship's hulls and sought partnership with Kongsberg Innovation, which they saw as an gateway to very relevant technological knowledge and access point to an important network of customers. Similarly to the foregoing technology ventures, Kongsberg Innovation aided the transfer of various knowledge modes to the company. Among the knowledge resources that Kongsberg Innovation was capable of providing to this company, technological knowledge was pertinent. The cleaning system was driven by an underwater ROV (remotely operated vehicle) in order to remove algae and seaweeds from ship's hulls without the use of divers and brushes. Kongsberg Maritime's knowledge of hydro-acoustics helped develop underwater positioning equipment and cameras were attached to the ROV to facilitate algae detection. The removal of algae was to be undertaken with high-pressure water, but its compatibility with the positioning devices had to be tested. Here, Kongsberg Maritime experts helped the company test a prototype using in-house facilities. Entrepreneurial knowledge was also a central knowledge asset in the bundle of value additions that Kongsberg Innovation provided to the company. For instance, the staff arranged a workshop together with the idea holder and market managers from the Kongsberg companies in order to work on his business concept. Market managers from one of the owner companies supported them in redeveloping the business plan. In addition, the Kongsberg Group bought into the company and positioned one of their managers as chair of the board of directors. When sales turned unexpectedly difficult and the board's diagnosis was that the company's CEO had too little sales experience, Kongsberg Innovation hired a new executive with an established excellence in sales in order to obtain more cleaning jobs. In less than one year after becoming a partner with Kongsberg Innovation, the company sold the first cleaning contract.

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