What is Startup Innovation Management, and what are best practices, tools and online templates for teams and organizations?
Definition of Startup Innovation Management
Startup Innovation Management is a systematic process used by established companies to identify and work with startups, usually as part of a broader “open innovation” strategy.
Description of Startup Innovation Management
For many established companies, “open innovation” or “co-creation” has become the answer for bringing innovative ideas from outside into the corporate environment. Through creating relationships and networks with startups, big companies gain access to new technologies, solutions and business models that might otherwise be too difficult to create internally.
In many ways, startups are inherently set-up for innovation because having a smaller environment with fewer employees means everyone has to pitch in to complete tasks in overlapping departments. This means less bureaucracy and more free flowing ideas on how to improve products, processes and the customer experience. Startups also have an edge in that they have an entrepreneurial attitude focused on “disrupting” business as usual by meeting unmet customer and marketplace needs. Startups also have the advantage of being able to make decisions quickly without layers of bureaucracy to slow them down.
More established companies, on the other hand, must work hard to not stifle creativity and encourage innovation. Many big companies now recognize the importance of open innovation and co-creation in general. Research indicates that 61% of big companies regularly team-up with suppliers, distributors, partners and franchisees to innovate with 58% working directly with customers and end-users to “co-create” new products and services. However, just 45% of big companies reported regularly rolling up their sleeves with startups.
The reason that collaborations with startups is challenging is that it can be a tough balancing act getting a big company to work at the speed of a startup. To get the most out of a collaboration, it’s important for big companies to:
- Get clear on the business strategy and how co-creation can support it
- Define specific customer problems to address
- Identify startups with technologies and solutions that can address problems
- Define a “proof of concept” (POC) project with the startup with clear deliverables and timeframes
- Ensure executive sponsorship exists with clearly defined next steps if the POC achieves specified results
To get the most out of a corporate collaboration, startups need to:
- Clearly understand how any proof of concept (POC) project will help drive the bigger visions and scalable market opportunity
- Define the success factors and expectations around the role of the big company in implementing the POC
- Ask for a service agreement from the corporation to fund the POC
- Confirm the expected next steps when the POC achieves the defined deliverables
Successful Startup Innovation Management involves balancing the needs between the big company and startup so that both parties benefit.
Tools & Templates
Many companies use CRM tools to manage their startup relationships. Some organizations use spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel, though more and more options exist within various online tools and cloud-based platforms.
upBOARD's Online Startup Innovation Management Tools & Templates
Unlike most traditional Startup Innovation Management processes, upBOARD’s online Startup Innovation Management tools allow any team or organization to instantly begin working with our web templates and input forms. Our digital platform goes far beyond other software tools by including progress dashboards, data integration from existing documents or other SaaS software, elegant intuitive designs, and full access on any desktop or mobile device.
Learn more about upBOARD’s library of other innovation management online best practice tools and templates, including:
Agile Innovation Process, Business Case Development, Business Model Canvas, Concept Development, Concept Screening, Concept Testing, Customer Empathy Map, Customer Problem Statements, Design Thinking, Innovation Funnel Management Process, Innovation Horizons Model, Innovation Roadmap, Jobs to be Done, Lean Startup, Listening Hats, Open Innovation Process, Painstorming, Rapid Prototyping, SCAMPER, S-Curve Mapping, Stage Gate Process, Technology Life Cycle, Technology Scouting, and Teece’s Win-Lose Innovation Model.