Speed Dating for Business

Does your organization need to kick start innovation, open entrenched mindsets or stimulate new opportunities? If catalyzing innovation is your goal, then speed dating may be the best game.

Speed dating, in a business context, matches external entrepreneurs, teams and start-up organizations that bring fresh ideas, unique voices, different experiences and contrarian mindsets with internal stakeholders, brands or teams in need of a jolt. A selection process based on core criteria that has been created by the organization, acts as a filter to determine if the right chemistry exists between the external and internal counterparts. The connection becomes the foundation of a new relationship that is now on a common trajectory towards meeting specified goals.

Bonin Bough, vice president of global media and consumer engagement at Mondelēz International, Inc., the snacks division of the former Kraft Foods, shared with our UCLA MBA Digital class just how he is employing this strategy. Mondelēz International is collaborating with young, ambitious mobile startups with the goal of transforming consumer engagement and path-to-purchase for their iconic brands, including Oreo, Trident and Chips Ahoy!, through a new, first of its kind program aimed at igniting the company’s consumer connections by working and collaborating with some of the brightest and most innovative minds in the space –start-up entrepreneurs.

The program, Mobile Futures, begins and ends with start-ups. After a rigorous open call period, selected startups will be matched with a Mondelēz International brands to work together to quickly scale and activate new brand pilots into market within 90 days. The second phase of the program is about putting those entrepreneurial lessons to work inside of the organization – sparking “intrapreneurship” among their brand participants. The brands – with the help of their start-up partners – will create and incubate new mobile ventures born out of Mondelēz International – also in just 90 days. At the end of that second relatively-short 90 days, the teams will present their new venture concepts to investors and venture capitalists to secure seed funding to continue the growth of the individual initiatives through a re-ignited innovative, internal culture.

Unlike traditional matches which are intended to last until “death do them part,” with this union, the relationship is typically terminated once the goal is met or time constraints are up with the external folks leaving the original organization. “Happily ever after” means that internal teams have gleaned from those visiting entrepreneurs a spirit of intrapreneurship that continues to push the innovative envelope propelling sustained competitive advantage and validating the strategy of speed dating.

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