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What is corporate innovation?

Corporate innovation is partnering with innovative startups that meet corporate needs through sourcing startups, finding matches to corporate needs and driving corporate growth through startup innovation.

How do we find innovative startups?

Finding the most innovative startups starts with defining the corporate need. F6S analysts are experienced in both innovation scouting and corporate innovation and can help refine corporate needs to ensure a positive startup innovation outcome. Once the corporate need is defined, sourcing startups begins. 

The innovation scouting process involves evaluating the most innovative startups against specific parameters including market (the more specific the startup innovation the better), funding stage, geography, current suppliers, experience with proof of concepts and many more innovation scouting parameters. 

After the most innovative startups have been identified, the next step is to benchmark the comparative fit of the startup innovation to find the most innovative startups that fit the startup scouting corporate needs. The short-list of innovation startups should then be reviewed by the corporate innovation area that is seeking the innovation in startups from the innovation scouting process. 

F6S recommends a series of interviews with startups that make the short-list that results from sourcing startups. It is important to screen each innovative startup not just from the standpoint of corporate needs, but also from the innovative startup perspective for suitability and availability to meet the corporate needs. 

Last, the corporate innovation lead will review the final scouting startups and choose which innovative startup to propose for a corporate innovation partnership. The startup scouting process is the start of an extensive and often expensive process. F6S strongly recommends paying close attention to corporate needs, the corporate innovation outcome that is desired, a rigorous startup scouting process that reaches all startups in the scouting innovation target areas and last, making sure that the relationship is beneficial to both corporates and startups.

How do we discover innovation in startups?

Discovering innovation in startups starts with understanding how innovative startups are disrupting the market. F6S recommends starting with a short-list of market leading startups and benchmarking each startup based on multiple parameters such as their business model, team, traction and the uniqueness of their technology. The next step is to meet with the most innovative startups from the short-list. F6S recommends that corporates involve both commercial and technical colleagues who can further evaluate the startups and identify whether the innovative startup can solve the corporate need.

What's the process of scouting startups?

The first step in scouting startups is to establish a corporate need, identify any special scouting requirements such as platform integration requirements or business model and determine what KPIs will be used to evaluate the success of the startup Proof of Concept (PoC). This information together will make up your startup innovation brief.

The second step is to begin scouting startups and analyzing their fit to your corporate needs based on the innovation brief. For successful innovation scouting you will need access to startup data, partners that can recommend innovative startups and a team to analyze the scouted startups. 

Once you’ve identified all of the innovative startups that are a perfect match, you should benchmark them again to create a short-list of scouted startups based on input from the corporate business unit who will be responsible for conducting the PoC.

The final step in the startup scouting process is to hold meetings with the startups and the business unit who will further assess the scouted startup’s solution and determine whether a partnership can be mutually beneficial.

How do we source startups?

Successful sourcing innovative startups for corporate innovation requires an approach able to reach into the broadest possible range of the startup ecosystem. This is essential because most successful corporate needs innovation briefs are narrow and it is difficult to find the most innovative startups for innovation scouting without looking at the universe of potential innovative startups.

Many people that are sourcing startups find innovation startups through referrals from partners like F6S, investors, accelerators, universities, friendly corporates doing corporate innovation, innovative startup founders and colleagues in organizations dealing with innovation startups. 

A helpful adjunct to scouting startups and finding the most innovative startups for your corporate needs is checking out platforms like F6S, accessing reports about innovative startups and reviewing content that covers corporate innovation and innovative startups. This type of innovation scouting is helpful, but rarely delivers a comprehensive landscape of the most innovative startups that would meet corporate needs 

In the same line as the previous method, attending conferences, demo-days and other events where innovation in startups is the focus and you can find innovative startups can be helpful. However, the same limitations on fit to corporate needs, the low probability of finding the most innovative startups that fit your corporate needs and the low scale of sourcing startups this way apply.