100 Open Startups
8 min readApr 2, 2020


Guerilla innovation: 20 “hacks” to continue promoting corporate innovation in the midst of crisis

Being a CIO of any company is a great challenge. The head of innovation faces multiple obstacles in his day to day . And with each passing day, it seems that the environment is even more uncertain , further unbalancing the famous innovator’s dilemma . Working remotely in the midst of the Covid crisis19, companies’ priorities are realigning, and your task to continue driving innovation may seem even more difficult. That is why today we talk about “ guerilla innovation “, a concept that I take the license to create in the image and likeness of the already well-known Guerilla Marketing (a concept that by the way Xavi Puig already adapted in this blog, when he told you about theguerrilla validation of ideas in your pipeline).

Crises are moments of change and new opportunities. Innovating in times of crisis is not only possible, but even natural. And today we want to take the opportunity to advise you on a few “hacks” to drive corporate innovation at any time.

What are these “hacks”? So what is “ guerilla innovation “? Simply, short actions that, with relative effort, you can carry out creatively to have a high impact on the organization from the area of ​​innovation. It must be said that innovation needs to be strategic, have the involvement and commitment of senior management , and think about the long term. But the innovation manager and his team should not stop thinking about short actions that demonstrate value that allow them to renew the organization’s confidence in the role that innovation plays in the success of its current and future business model. .

Obviously, these are actions that I recommend you do not only during a crisis like the one we are experiencing. They go beyond. You should incorporate them into your innovation plan in an orderly way, and with a strategic sense, to integrate them into the day-to-day of your organization, but it is true that they are actions that confinement cannot avoid doing, and that they can add value in a When the management and business units of your company are thinking about aspects such as:

  • How am I going to continue adding value to my clients?
  • Am I doing things right from my business unit?
  • How could I do better?
  • How can I differentiate myself to stand out from the competition in the uncertain future ahead?

These 20 hacks can help you provide the organization with answers to the key questions being asked to survive the crisis. Let’s go there!

Guerilla innovation: Hacks to add value to business units in the short term (based on their needs)

Innovation is meaningless if it does not add value to the business units. You need to find synergies, look for unresolved needs and challenges, to offer new opportunities to business units for today. How can you do it?

  1. It offers concrete short-term solutions to solve business unit challenges: Contrast with business units what their unresolved needs are and turn them into your innovation challenges . With them, it establishes criteria to prioritize them, and creates a joint work plan to feed solutions to these challenges, through a scouting task that you can carry out from the innovation unit. You can even send each week a summary of opportunities identified for the challenges of the business units.
  2. Virtually train the teams of the business units: Identify, in this meeting with the business units, gaps at the level of skills and competencies of the teams from those areas of the companies, to help them improve their performance and capacity for innovation. And once done, perform internal digital training for business unit teams . For example, around topics such as: agile tools, agile methodologies, creation of innovation teams, the importance of diversity in successful teams, the importance of empathy to identify customer needs to really be able to solve problems, prototyping and customer validation with a minimum viable product, etc. All of them, topics in which an innovation unit must be a specialist and provide solutions to the rest of the organization.
  3. Inspires business unit managers : connects business unit managers with heads of national and international innovation hubs, to connect them with the reality of new technologies and business models that are transforming ways of doing business. various industries.
  4. Create a group of innovation managers who look to the future of the business , identifying business opportunities outside the current core. How? With a simple newsletter between heads of business units. Show them each week how other companies are innovating, both in the sector you are in and in other industries, to create internal reflection and debate. Once a quarter, add all this knowledge to redefine the innovation challenges of the company and those business units, looking to the future. You can use the Landscape Monitor tool to anticipate change coming from outside before the competition.
Blended training in innovation at UOC Corporate, with innovation agents from Vida Caixa, and which as a result of the Covid crisis19 we have switched to 100% digital

Guerilla innovation: hacks to promote business intelligence

  1. Innovation radar open to the entire company : creates a digital tool in which anyone in the organization can share cases of technological and business solutions aligned with its strategic objectives. Visit our SDLI Radar for a first impression of what this radar could be like within your company.
  2. Carry out an analysis of the competition and how it is positioning itself in relation to the company’s innovation challenges . Understanding as “competition” not only the companies in your sector, but also other products, services and substitute industries. How to select who you include in the analysis? Put the end user in the center, think about the alternatives that are presented to him when he asks whether to buy from you or not. For example: are you a Radio channel? Include podcasters, and also Spotify in the analysis.
  3. Invite startups and trendsetters from various sectors to hold a digital conference specifically for your company’s workers . To make you reflect on how you can evolve as a company. Susana Lluna and Xavier Marcet organized an Instagram Live about how companies can react to the Covid-19 crisis.
SDLI Radar — Find innovation cases from all sectors.

Guerilla innovation : hacks to keep the innovation pipeline alive

  1. Does the company have half ideas without implementing or knowing how to evolve? With a minimum budget, you have digital tools at your disposal to validate them with potential users. I recommend you .
  2. Open a digital platform to share challenges and capture and manage the best ideas of the company’s internal talent . Don’t you have challenges to work with? Go back to the first point of this article, or start with a question very accessible to everyone: what small change would multiply your productivity in your day to day ? Of the proposals received, it involves the business units to carry out a “mapping” of the proposals, identify possible “quick wins”, and projects to be carried out. We recommend you to work with Induct Software for remote pipeline management.
Induct Software — manage your innovation pipeline

Guerilla innovation: hacks to improve customer and consumer knowledge

  1. Hold virtual sessions to identify the needs of customers and consumers , their “pains” & “gains” throughout their relationship with your company / brand . Transfer this to a “ customer journey map ”, and share it with the business units, to turn the “ insights ” into challenges, or directly into solutions.
  2. Open a landing page (or again a digital platform) to directly capture proposals from your customers / consumers.
  3. Study the consumer of the future , through virtual focus groups. Again, you can do it through We Are Testers , or using virtual tools like MURAL , which can provide you with methodology and visual sessions.

Guerilla innovation: hacks to communicate internally and externally

  1. Create an internal journal of the innovation initiative , open to everyone in the company, in which you share information such as projects, initiatives, people, news, milestones, anecdotes, learning, images …
  2. Launches an Innovation Podcast : interviews with intrapreneurs, summary of project status, anecdotes, and all the information related to the company’s innovation …
  3. It carries out digital events with external partners , on topics in which the company wants to be a reference. Creative Mornings is a great opportunity in this regard. Look what they are doing these quarantine days! Make business units visible at these events. Let them see the value you bring them through these partnerships!

Guerilla innovation: hacks to manage internal knowledge in the organization

  1. Virtual fuck-up nights. Create digital meetings in which an internal entrepreneur explains how his project has gone. More than success, especially learning. Almost that mistakes are better shared, rather than successes, in order to deepen the learning.
  2. Create the internal award for best failure, or best effort. This encourages curiosity, openness of mind, and experimentation. Essential elements to create cultures of innovation. We already talked about it in a post about happiness at work .
  3. Convert past innovation projects into case studies in which we share learning. What do we know that we did not know before this project? How can the organization take advantage of it?

Guerrilla innovation: hacks to create and strengthen partnerships

  1. Get in touch with innovation managers from other companies , inside and outside your sector. Create synergistic projects. Identify good practices in innovation management that you can apply too. A very good option to meet other innovation managers is to sign up for our Co-Shake
  2. Collaborate with national and international technology centers to share your innovation challenges, and evaluate possible technological solutions that can solve them. As a “mini” version of what Almirall Share does globally. Here Maribel Crespo , his manager, tells you .
Almirall Share — open innovation portal

Guerilla innovation: short-term actions to renew the confidence of innovation designed for the long term

In short: you are responsible for innovation and you have infinite obstacles. And also, in this environment of uncertainties full of swans, elephants and black jellyfish , everything is still more complex. The companies are reviewing their treasury and there is little room to think about the long-term future. But being responsible for innovation carries with it the responsibility of taking the attitude to face change, even in difficult times. So to continue driving innovation in the company!

Thanks for reading . If it has been useful to you, I appreciate you sharing on your networks. And if you come up with or are directly doing some kind of creative action to drive innovation in your company in these times of extreme complexity, please we would love to know what hacks you are applying!

Lots of encouragement, lots of effort, and good luck!