First of all, to understand this notion of ambiguity, it should be said that it is subject to many interpretations. However, ambiguity can be summarised as follows when talking about structures: it is the possibility for the structure to be interpreted differently by the actors concerned, thus opening up the spectrum or field of uses. Certain practices have a greater likelihood of adoption by organizations because they lend themselves to multiple interpretations and can be adapted to multiple agendas. Maintaining ambiguous ideas can enable an organization to make better use of them. The words used to express these ideas may have multiple meanings, refer to different situations, or may not be definable. In short, this allows the organization to interpret and use the structure in different ways, thereby reducing the natural barriers to change.
The depth and nature of the activities of a corporate incubator or accelerator are extremely variable in the reality of the company. Indeed, it is a structure whose geometry is variable in the moment, over time and over several fields. For example, in terms of functions, it may involve developing business between start-ups and the market lines of the companies concerned. But it can also be to ensure the coexistence of several other functions: anticipating tomorrow’s business without any real need to involve today’s market lines, contributing to intrapreneurship, investment, co-development, or managerial reinforcement for the benefit of start-ups. Ambiguity may therefore be more or less strong on the field of functions. Moreover, the different « expertise’s » that need to be covered regardless of the functions of the incubator or the corporate accelerator also reflect ambiguity on the scope of the latter’s « professions ». These are, for example, the professions linked to commercial development, collective intelligence, legal affairs, studies, strategic planning, mediation, etc. Mentors, who are stakeholders in the incubator or corporate accelerator, are living proof of the wealth of professions to be covered.
Managing the ambiguity of the “functions” and “professions” covered by a corporate accelerator or incubator is very beneficial. This makes it easier to mobilise idiosyncratic assets and resources at the right time, vis-à-vis the right people and in the right situations. The incubator or corporate accelerator can then adapt and also adapt its mode of operation according to these assets and resources, in order to bring out innovative solutions in an entrepreneurial dynamic.
I would like to ask you a question: isn’t the corporate accelerator or incubator itself a start-up? It’s a question that seems very interesting to me in the sense that I perceive in this type of structure the same attributes as those of a start-up: variable geometry in terms of functions, in terms of “business lines” to be implemented, with an entrepreneurial “mindset” and a concern for “real time”…