Edited by Shaker A. Zahra, Donald O. Neubaum and James C. Hayton
Chapter 8: InnoVen and the Monsanto Paradox: strategic exploration with the first external corporate venture capital fund
Jelinek and Day examine the growing role of corporate venture capital (CVC) and the hurdles corporations face in managing their CVC programs. They note that traditional venture capitalists (VCs) are more aggressive and willing to take greater risks than CVC investors. They also observe that CVC investments are neither steady nor systematic, a fact that reflects shifts in corporate fortunes and macroeconomic conditions. Jelinek and Day also note that several factors combine to limit CVC units’ access to the best emerging technologies, highlighting the great difficulties encountered in turning CVC into an effective means of corporate strategic transformation. Using Monsanto as an example, the authors develop several interesting insights into ways that can give CVC greater strategic potency and relevance. Their analyses show the importance of having purposeful intelligent actors; emphasize the importance of engagement across multiple levels as the organizational processes unfold at different parts of the organization; and note the need to pay attention to the organizational form and processes associated with CVC. Jelinek and Day’s discussion also underscores the necessity of the CVC’s unit addressing multiple goals of multiple people—a key ingredient in successful collaboration that promotes discovery across the boundaries of organizational units.
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