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The Delta Innovate Journey

Introducing Delta Innovate
March 2, 2021
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VP Services, Delta Innovate

In 2018, a pivotal conversation between Louis Buys, CEO and founder of The Delta, and an innovation leader within a South African Big Five corporation sparked an exciting realisation; there was an untapped market opportunity to combine the dynamism of startups with the extensive reach of corporates.

At that time, The Delta was a venture builder focused on working with founders to accelerate their launch to market; through this process, we had developed a venture blueprint - a structured framework for taking ventures from idea to market. We realised we could very easily take this exact process into the corporate context and apply this to corporate venturing activities. 

Recognising the potential, the concept of Delta Innovate was born. It became clear that by assembling a dedicated team focused on the unique needs of corporates, harnessing the agility of startups, and applying carefully crafted frameworks from our work with visionary founders, we could guide corporations toward reaching their innovation objectives faster than ever before.

Our unique strength lies not only in expertise but also in our extensive network, robust relationships, and deep integration within the startup ecosystem.  This interconnectedness sets the stage for corporate partnerships that hold exciting potential for collaboration between these two stakeholders.

Presently, our devoted team comprises over 30+ innovation specialists, who collaborate with leadership teams across Africa and Europe, partnering with them to succeed in their innovation objectives. 

Along our journey, we've delved into a diverse range of innovation tools and techniques, each contributing to what has now become our comprehensive innovation toolbox. In this article, we'll touch on how these tools evolved since our inception.

1. Pioneering Corporate Venture Building

When we started, our primary focus was on corporate venture building - our goal was to work with the corporate to mould embryonic ideas into ventures that could be validated, launched, commercialised, and thereafter seamlessly integrated into the corporate or spun out of the corporate entirely. 

We are very proud to have been a part of taking a number of incredible ventures to market with some of South Africa’s leading corporates. 

The ideas behind these ventures could either stem from internal business ideas or could be generated through the exploration of market segments, and by leveraging design thinking techniques to identify high potential market opportunities.

Ideas, be they internally conceived or collaboratively created, are taken through Delta Innovate's venture blueprint process. This encompassing framework involves iterative refinement and validation, a path paved with both traditional user research, design thinking and lean experimentation techniques. Through agile iteration and fast failures, we create evidence-backed ventures that create true value for the end customer, while complimenting the corporate objectives.

2. Crafting Customer Value Propositions

Venture building revolves around designing products that fulfil unmet customer needs. 

Through our venture-building work, we quickly recognised that the same principles of design thinking, lean methodologies, and agile practices are transferable to the creation and enhancement of traditional customer value proposition design (CVP design). 

This led to the design of our customer value proposition framework and our dedicated CVP teams, who are focused on identifying untapped revenue avenues and elevating customer experiences.

3. Supporting Continuous Innovation

Expanding on this foundation, Delta Innovate ventured into cultivating continuous innovation within the corporate fabric. Our corporate value proposition design framework applied within the innovation pipeline context,  enabled us to support the establishment of structured internal processes that streamline idea submission, evaluation, and progression through a structured journey of refinement, validation, design, and development.

4. Harnessing Design Sprint’s Transformative Power

Through our work across all of the above, we quickly started to see the power of design sprints in overcoming common corporate challenges. 

The design sprint accelerates the process of producing solutions to big problems, while simultaneously dissolving silos, expediting ideation, supporting alignment and testing solutions with real customers, within remarkably brief timeframes (1-2 weeks). 

By embracing design sprints and custom-designed design thinking workshops, Delta Innovate tackles challenges that had previously stifled progress.

5. Custom-Crafted Solutions: Tailored for Every Business:

In recognising the unique nature of each business we work with, we found that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to corporate innovation.

That is why our first step with any new partner involves the collaborative unpacking of business objectives and challenges and the development of tailored innovation strategies that align with partners' goals.

How Delta Innovate Can Help Your Team

Delta Innovate thrives on unlocking the potential within teams and business leaders. Through tailored innovation strategies spanning Design Sprints to Hackathons, we bridge skill gaps and catapult businesses into an era of unprecedented innovation.

Delta Innovate's journey is a testament to the power of collaboration, design thinking, and strategic vision. We stand poised to empower your business, transcending challenges, and ushering in a new era of innovation. Let us be your partner in this transformative journey, as we together forge pathways to success.

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