Risk, Metrics, and Venture Capital: 10 key takeaways on what your innovation process should look like

Rafael Chaves Lopes
4 min readDec 16, 2020

On December 8th I had the amazing opportunity to join the group that is at the avant-garde of corporate innovation. I was invited to share my perspective on Venture Building and Portfolio Management at the Innov8rs Connect Conference from my experience as a startup founder.

I remember exactly one year ago, I was watching these exact talks, with awe, amazement, and brightness in my eyes, like a child seeing the Avengers in action for the first time.

And it really moved and humbled me to then see a couple of these same “idols” actually watching my talk this time and coming later to connect and exchange ideas.

I wrote this article to share the key takeaways from my talk Innovation Metrics: Building Ventures and Managing Portfolios from a Risk Perspective for those that could not attend.

And also as a thank you to all the innovators that inspired and taught me so much throughout this journey that brought me to where I am now.

So let’s get to it:

“Metrics are the instruments to take the calculated risks necessary to step ever further into the unknown of innovation.”

  1. Innovation must be looked at from a risk perspective. This goes against the popular belief that innovation is uncertain. The difference is that risk is measurable and, therefore, manageable. Uncertainty is not.
  2. When you try to develop high-risk innovation within a process designed for operational excellence and risk mitigation, you create the exact opposite effect. It’s like having Modern Times’ Charlie Chaplin operating the gears. It increases overall risk and, consequently, inhibits innovation.
  3. Innovation metrics aren’t about outcome, but progress KPIs. And the north-star is GROWTH.
  4. H3 innovation is about speed. “Fail fast” is about bringing all your assumptions to invalidation. The faster you kill the bad assumptions, the sooner you have CLARITY of your pathway to growth.
  5. Corporate innovators must think like venture capitalists. They want de-risked investments…
Rafael Chaves Lopes

I help corporations become ambidextrous organizations, measure innoavtion, and increase idea-to-success ratio.