NEC Corporation in 2020: Innovating for the Future
In 2020, NEC focused on providing advanced IT, network, and data solutions, including cloud computing, AI and machine learning, Internet-of-Things platforms, and 5G networks as well as communication equipment installations. An award-winning company, NEC ranked fifth in the world in AI-related patents.
The case study describes NEC’s pathway towards accelerating in-house innovation, and commercializing what its global labs had invented. In 2013, the company established a Business Innovation Unit (BIU) to boost in-house innovation, and tap into the sense of urgency, risk-taking, and promise of rewards that helped drive technology start-ups elsewhere. In 2018, the BIU formed a Silicon Valley subsidiary called NEC X to structure a new “inside-out” accelerator. By 2020, two start-ups had graduated from the program, and others were well underway.
Could NEC X become a trailblazer, creating new standards and processes for “inside-out” accelerators?