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What is a Corporate Venture Studio?

What is a Corporate Venture Studio?

Imagine yourself in a sizable corporation, possibly as a representative of the company’s R&D department. The current talk about the company’s innovation strategy revolves solely around Generative AI, as if its fate depends on this tech.


However, just a year ago, Generative AI was a relatively unfamiliar concept. During that period, startups were pitching other ideas, and executives worked to keep pace with other emerging trends. So, what triggered the sudden surge in interest in Generative AI, diverting attention from other initiatives (that might not have received enough focus in the first place)? Before ChatGPT, did corporate innovation teams or consultants take the lead in advocating for this technology? Not really.

Why? Well, Generative AI was a novel and uncharted technology, and no one was willing to jeopardize their data, customers, or core infrastructure for it. Furthermore, a majority lacked a thorough understanding of its potential capabilities. Consequently, it hadn’t found a place on the priority list or roadmap — just yet.

But hold on a moment — haven’t we come across similar narratives in the past about innovations that rose and fell? Reflecting on those times, what unfolded as a result of those activities? Brilliant concepts often fade away due to a lack of expertise, insufficient funding, focus, or relevance. Or could it be something else, and is Generative AI destined for the same fate? What additional steps can be taken to elevate the innovation game?

Enter the venture studio.

A venture studio serves as a real-world testing ground for bold ideas, propelling innovations through the provision of a secure, collaborative, and experimental space separate from the parent company. In this dynamic environment, internal and external teams tackle the task of challenging the status quo, aiming to birth companies with the potential to surpass even the parent company. Here, failure is not frowned upon but rather embraced as an integral aspect of the iterative entrepreneurial journey.

While most chase innovation, a venture studio spots inevitabilities and builds to prove their viability.

Image by Gerd Altmann

In the spring of 2021, Generative AI didn’t prompt us to rearrange our priorities due to our lack of awareness regarding its potential impact. Instead, we established sandbox environments to assess its potential influence on future profit and loss through strategic changes, ensuring a secure exploration. Today, we might find ourselves revisiting the process of testing and innovating the utilization of Generative AI.

A venture studio breaks free from the recurring sandbox pattern by enabling the testing of new approaches in real-world scenarios. Employing compact teams, limited budgets, and strategic risks, venture studios collaborate closely with corporate innovation, venture investments, and occasionally align with internal prospective product plans.

While most chase innovation, a venture studio spots inevitabilities and builds to prove its their viability.

With systematic application of venture building, ideas bloom into ventures within the studio’s nurturing environment in a journey from bold concepts to the realization of groundbreaking ventures. Here each step involves crafting, experimenting, and executing, under guidance in the vast expanse of possibilities, to achieve impactful outcomes faster and better.”

– Inge Grini / Intellectual Labs AS