The incubator approach
– This is how you do it

An  incubator is a hospitable, business war-room – placed outside the daily operations.

It offers a comfortable, engaging atmosphere that encourages idea flow and group dynamics. The incubator can be placed at a fixed location (e.g. close to a university or a partner) or it can move around to suit the state of the project.

As an example, the ideal work environment might be on a sailboat in the early phase, in a rented flat close to the customers during market experimentation, or in an external meeting room during formalisation.

The incubator is inhabited by the group of people necessary to make your vision fly – gathering just the right resources and competences in order to establish the proof of concept. The group consists of a core team, which focuses on the delivery, and a larger community of standby experts that can bring their knowledge into play. The specific recruitments are tailored to the nature of the business. A group typically consists of:

  • People from your company – covering strategy, business and implementation
  • External experts from universities, trendspotters, technologists, etc.
  • Potential partners, customers and lead users


Incubator projects should go through stages of discovery, experimentation and formalisation. An iterative approach enable you to handle the extreme uncertainty of the work, providing transparency and flexibility. In the incubator you can conduct activities such as:

  • Scenario-, business- and ecosystem modelling
  • Opportunity recognition and roadmapping
  • Learning plan creation
  • Various brainstorming techniques, idea maps and catalogues
  • Fast build-measure-learn loops
  • Field trip and customer/partner interviews
  • IPR evaluation and filing
  • Sketching and prototyping
  • Ramp-up planning and recruitment
  • And whatever that is needed to make it a success

Study one of my own cases here >>