Startups are a resource not on your payroll and can help rebalance the skills needed. So, companies now and then run a hackathon or a so-called challenge prize.
All good intentions aside, it's often lip service.
So, after a couple of times, company leaders start asking for real business impact.
What to do?
Recognize the analogy: Experience replaces products. Access replaces ownership. Digital and deep tech replace manual.
And so it is in corporate innovation: Partnering with startups strengthens or substitutes doing it yourself.
No wonder, across industries, startup collaboration rapidly becomes part of the procurement and innovation supply chain.
Contrary to many critics' views, working together with startups isn't inevitably destined to fail. Based on our ongoing research, around 45% of collaborations do succeed.
However, it requires that companies upgrade their fuzzy front-end process: From identifying and connecting relevant internal stakeholders and capturing internal needs to collectively deciding on the best fitting startups in the market.
Here's the problem:
a: Startups are high trust organizations with weak control mechanisms and high stakes.
b: Large enterprises are low trust organizations: Hierarchies with abundant control mechanisms, high self-orientation, and hidden agendas. Collaborating with startups doesn't fit their org charts.
c: Directors of a company's main business lines may be wedded to their daily business KPI's and do not appreciate the value of working with a startup.
Put together: Innovating with startups is like a maze with twists and turns.
Startup Relationship Management might then be the route to go to help solve the above and grow (more) Return on Collaboration.
Connecting with startups needs internally connected people.
And so, engaging with startups requires, first and foremost, an organizational process that is simple and intelligent to align stakeholders throughout the company. And that exactly is what Startup Relationship Management can do.
It comes with organizing startup collaboration as a sustained process rather than a series of one-off actions.
Another facet is that decisions taken in the fuzzy front-end of startup collaboration will hugely impact partnerships' success or failure on both sides.
Startup Relationship Management is thus a structured approach to build and oversee a pipeline of startup opportunities and relationships to meet a set of particular business objectives or innovation themes.
By adopting Startup Relationship Management, company stakeholders appreciate an aggregated view of startup collaboration candidates and their value potential for the company at any given moment in time. It creates awareness and collective urgency. And it stops the smoke and mirrors often surrounding startup collaboration.
Introducing Startup Relationship Management marks the shift from seeing startups on the side as an anomaly to bringing them closer to the company's core processes as a resource for performance improvement.
Scoutely SRM is the first tool custom-built for Startup Relationship Management. It makes stakeholder alignment, startup search, networking, and collective decision-making a breeze, but I'm biased :-)
Agritech startups value John Deere for its relationship approach.
Looking for the right startup? Be aware, no startup scout provides 100% coverage. A scouting stack can alleviate that problem.