Most companies understand the need to become more innovative. But developing a corporate culture to achieve this aim can be a difficult journey. That’s quite understandable given that most corporates have developed rigid structures to achieve specific goals that are not easily adapted for harnessing new ways of thinking.

Enterprises that excel at corporate innovation understand the strategy framework of build-borrow-buy, says Dr Jonathan Giuliano who teaches strategy and innovation at Scheller College of Business at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

He says these companies understand how to build and launch innovations, or when borrowing is effective; that means how to borrow and share capabilities and resources – say, licensing a technology in the smartphone industry, or forming a joint venture in the pharma industry. And such companies also understand how, when, and what to buy, perhaps buying technologies, or acquiring and scaling start-ups.

Successful corporate innovators know how and when to do all three– build or borrow or buy –productively, effectively, and systematically. “This is extremely difficult to do – even more difficult to sustain for competitive advantage – and only a comparatively tiny percentage of global corporations do this well,” says Dr Giuliano.