Boosting R&D: Meet new ideas, creative people and future partnerships

Danish Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania (DCC) invited me to speak at the conference Innovation – from Idea to Execution (May 21th 2014, Vilnius). President of DCC, Thomas Solupajev-Ronlev, asked me to elaborate on how traditional, established companies can benefit from interacting with new, early ideas from startup world.

For a start here’s a suggestion on how to connect with 100 new ideas and start new partnerships. By excercising this startup funneling process your company will potentially boost R&D and get in contact with lots of interesting, creative people.

Getting from 100 Ideas to 1 Partnership:

  • 100 ideas: Launch a campaign where you will ask the public to share their ideas with you. This might be ideas within a specific area or all kinds of ideas. It can also be answers to a specific question you adress. People will go to your webpage and answer a number of questions by webform. You will keep the idea confidential between the team and your company. Your lawyer will write a relevant IPR policy which you let all teams know about.
  • 40 ideas: Find the 40 best ideas and let these people know that they have selected to go for next step. Address each of the selected teams 3 specific suggestions on how to improve their idea. Give them 3 days to improve it.
  • 20 ideas: Now select the 20 best ideas and invite them for 1 hr meeting. At this meeting you and relevant collegeauges will discuss the idea with the team. During one week you and your collegeauges will meet lots of new inspiring ideas,  interesting people and boost the companys pool of creativity. The teams will meet good, solid respons from highly skilled people.
  • 5 prototypes: Next step is to test out of the 5 most promising ideas. You will define how to prototype each of the ideas with the teams. The prototype will last maximum 3 months.
  • 1+ partnership: Finally you invite for an open Prototype Pitch where the 5 teams will pitch the result of their prototypes. A panel will find and announce which of the teams your company will partner up with.

You may say there is only one winning team. You can also say that all 100 teams get the chance to pitch their idea for a potential customer. And you can say that the teams be able to develop their idea in direct interaction with the market. Most likely both teams and company will learn a lot doing it!

Of course a lot ot things needs to be planned to make it work: Where to address the campaign, which kind of ideas to look for, which collegeauges to invite for meeting the teams etc. That’s a matter of designing the process right and you will improve by the iterations. You may alos scale the process to meet less ideas. Such as 100 ideas -> 10 interviews -> 3 prototypes. Or you might sustain the process and invite 1 team on a monthly basis. Basically it comes down to how much your and your company need to meet new ideas, talk to creative people and find better partners.

Enjoy and see you in Vilnius!

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