How can organizations across virtually every industry keep innovation alive? Partner with startups. One of the best ways to think about startups is that they are an extension of your organization for the reason that their disruptive products can keep innovation alive with a regular cadence of review and adoption.
Leading organizations are very clear about the concept of innovating with startups which permeates as a company-wide mission both inside IT and with business stakeholders. Consider establishing an IT culture that desires to test new technology from startups in order to keep a pulse on rapidly evolving technical advancements. Why? We should be honest with ourselves… most of us don’t wake up in the morning with breakthrough ideas and just decide not to share with our colleagues.
Whether you’re in the public or private sector, you should pay attention to startups and digest new ways of working to effectively drive your digital transformation initiatives forward. As Clayton M. Christensen, author of The Innovator’s DNA said, “Put simply, innovation is driven by choice, not chance, at the most innovative companies in the world.”
Perhaps you feel you don’t need to look at startups because everything seems good. Be mindful. Resting on success is one of the biggest failures of most companies – which is why there is a continual rotation of companies falling out of the Fortune 500 every year. For example, legacy technology companies stick to their original flagship products to try and maintain the revenue stream as long as possible and don’t often invest heavily in research and development. History tells us that this is why disruption tends to come from new startups that are nimble and agile. Which leads to the main idea that public and private sector organizations need startups to better navigate, survive, and thrive in the disruption-heavy future of our world.
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Steve Jobs
Startups empower established organizations to increase the pace of innovation toward a future state vision that the business desires but may not be equipped to do on its own. An organization partnering with a startup can go faster because of the energy, drive, and entrepreneurship that the startup brings to the table. Startups can have unique things within their DNA that many organizations will be challenged to have. At the end of the day, these partnerships can help organizations become better, faster, and more agile.
Where do you go from here? Actually, there are various traits that make a startup a good partner of choice for your organization. First and foremost, the startup must have the mindset of solving problems and being solution-oriented in order to be most effective. Culturally, the founders and the leadership team must permeate the right attitude to make sure their employees understand that everyone has to work together to make something exceptional. Lastly, the startup can’t be afraid of taking risks and trying new things to adapt to the organizations they’re partnering with. This is the foundational aspect of partnership – you’re in it together.
Lastly, strive for impact, not for the big bang approach of scale. Too often CEOs desire scale from technology solutions as the success criteria for innovation projects. This can lead to unmet expectations and disappointment.
Within organizations, the IT leadership needs to have a mindset of innovation. A mindset of desiring to evolve and knowing that change is a constant whether they participate or sit idle.