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Ugly Ducklings and Disruptive Innovations

Technology innovation is going faster and faster

In today’s digital and globally networked era, technology is changing faster and faster. The exponential acceleration of innovation puts quite some pressure on a company’s resources to sustain their competitive advantage.

Many disruptive innovations start as company’s ugly ducklings

Ugly Duck Ventures (UDV) believes that many disruptive innovations started as a company’s ugly duckling, i.e. an idea, invention or R&D project that is stopped and has not been acknowledged as a high potential opportunity. Something that has no resemblance with existing products or direct fit in the existing market. These nascent opportunities are therefore abandoned rather than being nurtured into a successful innovation.

Interest of UDV is to take care of these ugly ducklings for you

At UDV we are pleased to help clients with getting their core innovations into operations, but we are also more then interested to take care of your ugly ducklings. In doing so, UDV can enable a quick and validated assessment of nascent ideas, nearly expired patents or dormant inventions.

And create beautiful swans giving you a competitive advantage

When having identified ugly ducklings, we can apply various options to turn them into viable new business. From plain selling the innovation to companies in which these might fit in better, up to creating and building new ventures by organizing everything what is required to succeed. Turning your ugly ducklings into beautiful swans!

UDV has done this for multinational companies like Philips and research organizations like TU Delft & Nikhef/ CERN, but also started and sold companies ourselves.


Our Company Name - Ugly Duck Ventures

Fairy tale of Hans Christian Andersen

Our company name was inspired from the fairy tale of Hans Christian Andersen summarized by:

“The ugly duckling was born in a strange family. He didn’t fit in with his brothers and sisters. Therefore they abandoned him. However, by having faith in himself, he grew into a beautiful swan.”

We believe strongly in the Open Innovation (Chesbrough) concept and consider especially the non-core innovations very interesting. They tend to be neglected and can be regarded as the company’s ugly ducklings silently waiting to be turned into beautiful swans.

An example, often mentioned in this context by Chesbrough and others, is that of the Xerox’s ugly ducklings:

“11 innovations from a group 35 tracked projects underutilized within Xerox developed its fullest potential when developed beyond Xerox. These dormant projects went onto to become publicly traded companies. The total value of these 11 businesses exceeded the total value of Xerox!”