Why Startups Should Pay More Attention To Co-Innovation
If you haven’t felt the sudden thickening of air in your boss’s cubicle when a new technology helps a competitor business grow (which hasn’t been used by you yet), you might find this blog post more pertinent than others who know the feeling and want to do something about it. Today, both tech and non-tech startups are gearing towards revolutionizing their business models with the next ‘hip’ technology that is ‘always’ on the brink of disruptive civilization.
But with technology rapidly progressing from intuitive chat bots for customer support to predictive analytics for hiring & recruitment, it has been an uphill ride for entrepreneurs to zero in on a single use-case when the tech scales are so fragilely and evenly balanced. The discussion in your boss’ cubicle usually ends with these two questions left hanging in the air-
- In which department technology should be most efficiently implemented?
- Internal Operations or Business Development? Customer Support or Recruitment?
- How much capital to spend on technology for each department?
If your boss or co-founder is a seasoned businessman, there will be a couple of quick exchanges made over coffee, and some guy X from company Y will come up with a temporary answer for the two questions, which instead of helping the company scale will put it in another spell of unyielding business cycle.
But the 21st century entrepreneur is a product of hardcoded righteous ideals and extraordinary perseverance. He carries with him the will to find the simplest of solutions to the most complex of problems, and ensures it is scalable.
So what happens when two like-minded entrepreneurs, complementing each others requirement, meet and after a brilliant exchange of ideas, agree upon working parallelly, fulfilling each others requirements, creating value for the end user, while maintaining personal and organizational integrity?
Today, businesses are increasingly looking to vendors, suppliers, lead users, consumers, university labs, partner organizations and independent inventors for new ideas and insights.
Maciej Kranz, VP Corporate Technology group, Cisco talks about three reasons why co-innovation is gaining more prominence at this time in his blog –
- The customers demand it
- LoB (Line of business) organizations have become major buying center for technology
- Co-innovation is the core element of modern development methodologies on a larger scale
I will stress upon the second point. For IT giants, service providers and consumers, technology forms the backbone of their success and they have been using it to their advantage for decades. But there is a fourth buyer in the market today – LoB organizations – the people who handle internal operations, logistics, etc. They are collaborating with each other and leveraging technology in new and disruptive ways – thus necessitating co-innovation.
Nothing comes without a price (and a struggle)
Oftentimes, businesses either get lost in the process of defining a sustainable co-innovation structure and have to bear the brunt of a failed co-innovation process in terms of mergers and acquisitions. So how do you find that sweet spot between co-innovation reticence and co-innovation recklessness? Let’s find out!
How Do You Implement A Successful Co-Innovation Model?
The bond of co-innovation doesn’t spring out of the result of an accidental meet. It is first identified, realized, and then nurtured to ensure that it can withstand the test of time, and of course, the test of evolving technology. It follows a three- step cycle –
Identify The Black Sheep In The White Herd Of Business Processes
Every business model has its hidden cons in the valley of pros. But how do you recognize them?
- Ask your team where does the pain point lie.
- Are they having trouble while implementing the task they have been assigned?
- How much time did it take them to finish it?
- Which assortment of tools did they use to accomplish the said task?
- Example – The Sales manager of a services company is finding it difficult to manage the salespeople it has recently hired.
- They are missing on their monthly targets and can’t communicate with their boss on a single platform.
- Neither is the manager able to keep track of their daily activities.
- What stops them from meeting their goals?
- An unstructured sales process and absence of a dedicated CRM
- Who gets affected? The customers!
Look For Existing Solutions That Can Help Weed Out The Black sheep
Crawl the web and look for a solution that solves the problems faced by your team. Keep in mind that you are looking for a solution that is not a temporary fix but a scalable one. It should allow you to innovate without affecting your existing/legacy system.
How to do that?
Attend events/seminars where new technology solutions are constantly being talked upon and ideas being exchanged. (I have found eventshigh and meetup quite useful)
In another example of solution searching, I recently attended a “Startup Saturday” event organized by Headstart Delhi. I was amazed to find the diversity of people who attended the event. It was a congregation of entrepreneurs who were ready to engage with people and find new solutions that they could benefit from.
What jumped out the most? The Hyperloop project that took co-innovation at a global stage.
The story? Elon Musk challenged young entrepreneurs around the world to come up with a scalable and efficient model for this concept of passenger and/or freight transport in 2013. A group of Indian students joined hands and are co-innovating with established Indian firms to create a new dimension of transport for the world.
Doesn’t that sound exciting? That’s the power of co-innovation at a global scale.
Take a tour of a coworking space and try to look for people who are working towards solving the very problem that you are facing.
Example – coworkingindiamag is doing a great job at it. While covering a lot of startup co-working spaces, they have created an online space to match solution seekers and problem solvers.
Pick One And Go All 8 miles
Once you have zeroed in on the problem, found a solution, now is the time to take steps to co-innovate.
When Pavan Verma, CTO and co-founder of Orgzit, talks about co-innovation -“Co-innovation is when an organization and a client of the organization work together to create new and valuable experiences, products, or services for the end customer.” he briefly hints at the idea of the role that the end customer plays in co-innovation.
Co-innovation should create value for the user. This is when we realize that there is more to co-innovation than meets the eye. You need to keep the end-customer in the loop and ensure that growth is perceived at both ends – client and customer.
Here is a process that you can follow –
- Organize a brainstorming session, define the deliverables, and set an agile timeline for exchange of ideas and progress.
- After each iteration, figure out if there is a black sheep that is proving to be troublesome.
- Eliminate it by referring to the aforementioned points of action.
- Keep yourself abreast of technology, always!
At Orgzit, things are taking turn for the best. Co-innovation is taking a definite shape – from idea to reality, and we are actively collaborating with entrepreneurs, working towards becoming their digital partners, thus, taking and implementing agile at a wholly new level.
Nitin, an engineer turned entrepreneur, strongly believes that the Orgzit technology platform coupled with creative partnerships for developing innovative solutions would act as the key enabler for opening new value chains or re-designing exiting ones for business to deliver immense value to their customers.
The team at Orgzit is dedicated to partner with other organizations and entrepreneurs to create more value for the end customer.
If you think you can co-innovate with us and leverage Orgzit’s powerful organizational features, give us a holler and we will be happy to collaborate.