Is the “Unicorn” dream healthy?


An obsession for the “rare” billion dollar startups, is becoming challenging for entrepreneurship, observes Michael Eisenberg of Aleph Ventures.

The term Unicorn was coined to describe a rare big opportunity that can be identified with this rare and mythical creature. Since its conception, the term Unicorns – innovative startups with a billion dollar valuation – have caught on as a trend and investors are looking for “the next big idea” in every investment prospect. However, the best big businesses were not created out of a financial pursuit, but to solve a core need, notes Eisenberg. Supporting innovative ideas may not necessarily create billion dollar companies, but trying to find mythical valuation in every innovation would certainly discourage many good innovations.

Read more here.

Increased interest in Open Innovation from blue chip companies

Innovation is a key driver for business success and Nordic blue chip companies are focusing more and more on the importance of Open Innovation along with its upsides.

This became even more clear when ETEQ Venture hosted The Nordic Cleantech Innovation Day 2015. Experts argue that no company, no matter how big, could innovate effectively on its own. They also add that sustainable innovation involves more external relations with unfamiliar sources of knowledge, hence Open Innovation is more pertinent to sustainable innovation than to ”normal” innovation.

The main objective of the conference was to link high-growth technology members with dominant blue chip companies and demonstrate the importance of open innovation.

The Industry Partners were indeed positive and discovered interesting technology as well as new approaches to dealing with Open Innovation during the conference.

Arla Food is one of the Industry Partners of Nordic Cleantec Innovation Link, and Harry Barraza, Head of Open Innovation at Arla was one of the panelists at the conference. He spoke of the benefits of Open Innovation – not least in blue chip companies like Arla.


Click here to watch Harry Barraza talk on Open Innovation.


Does it pay to be green?

With the constant increasing focus on sustainability, many executives have asked themselves about the relationship between environmental performance and business performance. Are they mutually exclusive? More specifically, is increased focus on green technology negative, neutral or is it good for business?

According to Jens Frøslev Christensen, CBS professor and expert on innovation, people’s general perception that it does not pay to focus on green innovation, is fundamentally wrong.


At the recent Nordic Cleantech Innovation Day 2015 event, Jens Frøslev elaborated by saying, “Research on the relationship between environmental and financial performance has yielded mixed results, but mostly shows a positive relationship”


In addition to this, Jens Frøslev presented “The Content For Strategic Bets”-matrix, making it possible to assess current relevant factors in favor of sustainable innovation.


And with the currently increasing demand for sustainable products/services, now more cost-effective and scalable than ever before, it may be the right time to think green.

Why you should embrace radical innovation

There is no doubt that incremental innovation is the dominant form of innovation. Radical innovation is generally complex, involving a lengthy and risky process.

Especially smaller firms, or new market entrants, can play important roles in introducing radical innovations. The distribution of radical innovations nearly always depends on incremental improvements, refinements and modifications of complementary technologies.


It is important, however, to keep in mind that innovation differs by sector.
The type of innovation and the rate of technological changes obviously differs from sector to sector.

Some sectors are characterised by rapid change and radical innovations, others by smaller, incremental changes. Interestingly enough, in the high-technology sectors, R&D plays a central role in innovation activities, while other sectors rely to a greater degree on the adoption of existing knowledge and technology.


Mats Nilsson, R&D Manager at Alfa Laval attended the Nordic Cleantech Innovation Day 2015 and emphasized the importance of constant radical innovation. Mats Nilsson illustrated that radical innovation may not yield higher gross margins on short-term, but looking ahead a couple of years, the benefits of radical innovation is clear – radical innovation yields higher gross margins, as illustrated in his Research RoInnovation Level model.

Research Innovation Skærmbillede 2015-09-15 kl. 14.58.33


… Keep experimenting!