6 things you need to do when you start startup scouting

Startup scouting can be initially intimidating – there is a wide variety of startups, which can make the whole process look like searching for a needle in a haystack. Different tools can help speed up the process. Before deciding what tools to use, we suggest you follow this guide — and especially if you’re scouting for the first time — which briefly describes 6 steps to ensure a successful corporate innovation process.

Startup scouting has become an agile approach to reaching a corporation’s innovation goals by generating new products and services. Therefore, startups can provide innovation impetus to speed up the innovation process such as product development, implementation of new technologies, and new business opportunities. Furthermore, a thriving corporate innovation can be extensively influenced by startups internally. It can provide access to new technology, boost corporate desire for transformation, reach new levels of customer awareness, collect new information in the operating field, and from a more practical point of view, reduce fixed costs.

However, before an acquisition or joint R&D, establishing a strategic plan containing determined elements will be crucial to building the foundation for a cohesive partnership. This refers to the fact that startup scouting not only involves identifying and evaluating corporate innovation milestones but also involves cooperating with external stakeholders. Including innovation managers and AI scouting technologies during this process, such as Novable, can majorly increase the probability of finding the right startup with whom to start the journey.

1. Define what you're looking for

Scouting relies on strategic perspectives, which are linked to growth strategies, transformation strategies, product innovation and corporate management. Therefore, it is extremely important to define what is needed in order to develop a good corporate innovation and understand why it is necessary. Defining the scope can start with brainstorming about industry trends and understanding concrete issues connected with the future. Another interesting factor to consider is whether the corporation is looking for a startup that is ready for the market right away or that will disrupt the market in the coming years. Breaking down the needs based on the product, the market, the business strategy, the management team and the corporate innovation goals, can help formulate the scope.

2. Align stakeholders

Working towards corporate innovation involves both people within the company and outside the company (or external to the company). In order to reach specific milestones, it is extremely important to align all the different stakeholders and consistently follow the established strategy. It only makes sense that the innovation management team, product management team, top management team, and other teams have the same understanding of strategy and work toward a common innovation goal. This way, it will be more likely that the desired goal will be reached. There are several tools to facilitate stakeholder alignment: one-on-one meetings, workshops, surveys, online platforms, learning sessions, etc.

3. Build a scouting stack

Innovation startup scouting is a challenging task, which can not be accomplished with the implementation of one single tool or by one person alone. It is necessary to introduce various elements in parallel to make the startup scouting successful. Therefore, building the tool box that includes scouting platform, team management facilitator, data base etc. is extremely crucial. Using Novable can be one of those innovative components in the tool box that will help to ease the process.

4. Write clear briefings - leave room for serendipity

Writing a very clear briefing with a specific description of what the corporate innovation specialist is actually looking for is absolutely vital. Developing corporate innovation requires a clear understanding of the balance between clarity and openness in the briefing. It is a delicate exercise because there is a need to carefully draw boundaries in the startup scouting activity. Leaving room for serendipity too will raise the opportunity to find startups that are very interesting. There is a direct link between how you structure your thoughts in writing and what results you will be getting in return. There is much external aid that helps develop the right balance. At Novable, our Agents can guide innovation managers and corporate development specialists to formulate the right briefing, that will not reduce the reach of suitable startups while leaving room to develop the unknown of unknowns. 

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5. Assign a dedicated team

Startup scouting is an incredibly difficult task and requires enough resources to carry out the process. Even if a company has chosen to use external help, such as Novable, it is still vital that a specific internal person is dedicated to the task. This person needs to be knowledgeable about the future innovation milestones, overall trends in the field and most importantly have enough time and focus to contribute. That will eventually prevent wasting the invested money.

6. Interact with your scout

The backbone of startup scouting is human relationships. Fluent communication between partners, scouts, internal employees, and external stakeholders will enrich the scouting process. Shared knowledge between different parties will provide complementary aspects to technology. Therefore, it is important to choose your expertise carefully. Specialist with valuable knowledge in different innovation startup fields (healthcare, finance, sustainability, product development, etc.) will support the corporate process of searching and identifying.

If you understand these 6 key elements, you are already on the right track. These elements come from our experience with large companies all over the world and we do recommend staying open for other interesting approaches. Leading to desired corporate innovation and development of synergistic partnerships. 

All of this is possible with the help of Novable. Start your campaign here!

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