Treasure 111 – Innovation and Startups

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Are Innovation Labs preventing Innovation? How does collaboration with start-ups work? What is a startup pitch? Treasure 111 is all about innovation. In many places I use the concept of the Business Model Canvas. But don’t worry that it will get too dry. The treasure with a repdigit includes a nugget included, which trains your laugh muscles properly 🙂

Nugget 1 – Are Innovation Labs preventing Innovation?

Innovation Labs were recently featured in Treasure 103. Jared M. Spool gave thought to the thesis that these labs might even be harmful for innovation. It’s not that far-fetched.

The demand on modern organisations is ambidexterity. Often this ability is solved by a two-part organization. Some are efficient and others explorative. But I agree with Jared Spool. The message to the efficient part of the organization is now “The others are there for innovation”. But the efficient part of the organization has a big interface to existing customers. Their unsolved problems are the next innovations. A good argument that existing product teams are responsible for innovation. Detached innovation teams often operate in an ivory tower.

The team must therefore be able to develop a user-centered product. It is not enough to wait for the customer’s specifications or ask him what he needs. Methods such as Design Thinking and Value Proposition Canvas can help to create hypotheses and validate them with rapid iterations. So I agree with Jared Spool on the following statement:

Each product team has everything it takes to be an innovation team. We just have to empower the team to see what its job is.

Exactly here lies the value of innovation organisations for me. You empower product teams to explore. For example, my team deals with the topic “Supplier Enabled Innovation”. We are not close to our customers. But we can help the product teams quickly implement product increments with the help of external partners and validate the hypotheses. In the business model canvas, we help match key partners for the implementation of the value proposition.

An innovation organisation does not have to be a bad thing. If you want to develop products outside your existing core business or even completely new business models, it even makes sense to set up a product team. A separate lab can help to break away from existing conventions and open up new markets. How does your company address this issue?
(8 min, text, English)

Nugget 2 – How does collaboration with start-ups work?

As written in Nugget 1, it makes sense to implement and test the Value Proposition together with external partners. Especially for products outside the core business or new business models, start-ups offer themselves as partners. On the one hand, they often deal with topics in which established suppliers do not yet have sufficient know-how. On the other hand, there is a high degree of uncertainty. The aim is to quickly validate hypotheses so that the “bets” do not become too expensive. Start-ups usually master this approach very well. Benedikt Herles has identified 10 traps when working with start-ups. I would like to pick up three points in the initiation phase here:

  • Has your organization already a disruption-radar? I don’t care if you work with startups or not, this seems to me to be an extremely important tool. Most organizations have a good overview inside the company, e.g. about financial indicators or KPIs. The good organizations still operate benchmarks. What is the competition doing? Very few organizations probably have an eye for where someone is sawing in the chair of the existing business model. Do you have a disruption radar?
  • Another tool could be a start-up collaboration score card. I had the case this year that we were working with a start-up. The development team opted for a start-up that wanted to develop a new usecase together with us. The start-up was in an too early phase for me. But I couldn’t give a good reason why this is a problem. It was more of a gut feeling. The cooperation was quite bumpy. Meanwhile, topics such as financing of the start-up and cultural matching are also important for me. A collaboration score card would certainly help us to make the various criteria transparent.
  • A completely new insight was the point for me to make common cause with as many start-ups as possible. At first glance, this may seem like an awful lot of effort and waste. On the second view high uncertainty requires however also high redundancy. It therefore makes sense to place as many of these small bets as possible. Do you have any tips on how to make this as effective as possible?

(6 min, text, German)

10 Traps in collaboration with start-ups – the initiation phase

Nugget 3 – What is a Startup Pitch?

When it comes to selecting startups, you will look at many pitches. But what is a pitch? The Pitch Doctor Christoph Sollich helps Start-Ups to make a good pitch. At SXSW he showed his skills to the best of his ability. Despite all irony, his talk contains three elements of the Business Model Canvas, which I pay special attention to in a pitch:

  • Clear statements about the value proposition – Which problem(s) does the product solve? What differentiates the product from other solutions available on the market?
  • Who is the team? For me, people are the most important key resource that the startup has.
    Is the team balanced/diverse? What can the start-up itself do and where do they need partners? Can we perhaps even be a key partner for the start-up because it lacks certain resources?
  • What is the business model? The start-up will not survive long without a functioning revenue stream. This is also important for me as a customer in order to estimate the costs that will occur.

Alongside these three points, good storytelling is also extremely important to me. On the one hand, I determine whether the startup can bring its product or service to the point. On the other hand, good stories stick and move the listeners. For me, this is an indicator of whether a startup has mastered the first phases of the channel in the business model canvas.

But now – have fun watching!

(10 min, video, English)

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