Business CapGemini: Capping IT Off

The search for relevance in a sea of startups


David Blackwood

July 11, 2016

We’re all fishing for the next big business innovation. But as the startup market swells, how do you know which to net and which to throw back?

Startups are big news at the moment, whether it’s the continuing wave of unicorns disrupting established markets or the story of another multi-million-dollar investment that’s sunk without trace.

For today’s enterprise, the appeal of partnering with startups is clear. They can infuse creative ideas and innovative technology into ageing business models, helping to drive a new competitive edge. Take Ripple, who are quickly becoming the first blockchain alternative for settling global financial transactions.

“Engaging with the global startup ecosystem provides valuable insight as well as an introduction to new technologies that are pushing boundaries… startups innovate and incubate their ideas quicker than anyone.” Sam Hunt, London Applied Innovation Exchange Leader, Capgemini

Yet there’s always that one big problem: 90% of startups fail.

So how do you go about finding the right one? How do you identify which are likely to fail? How can you bring in the innovation you need, at a scale your business demands? Navigating this saturated startup market, with its constant churn of failed initiatives and ambitious new entrants, can be difficult for an enterprise that’s also maintaining business as usual.

Partner up

This is where the importance of your partners comes in. Having a partner that’s open to the idea of working with startups and appreciates the value they can bring to today’s business and technology challenges is vital. Education specialists Galvanize, for example, are addressing the skills gap in the technology sector by helping startups develop relevant capabilities required by the industry – data scientists, data engineers, web developers, etc. If your partner is on board with your corporate objectives and culture, and also understands the nuances and mindset of the startup market, they will help you make the right connections a lot faster. Relevance is really key. Although it is now far more accepted that failure can be positive – “fail fast, succeed faster”, as the saying goes – it’s still critical to filter your options and take an informed approach to innovation.

Plotting your course

Find a partner who can identify startups that align with your goals – and who can facilitate in building a strong two-way relationship. They should be able to bridge the cultural gap between a large enterprise, which is typically not structured for fast-paced innovation, and an agile new startup that has creativity at its core. Think of your partner as a broker or translation service between these two very different crews.

But don’t just jump straight in with any old partner. Ask them to prove their worth when it comes to understanding the market:

·        Where do they find their startups?

·        How do they work with startups to validate solutions?

·        What tools have they got to help startups deliver at the scale you demand?

If they can’t facilitate relationships at the front end, as well as integrating and industrialising innovation at the back end, you could find yourself drowning in a sea of failed initiatives.

David Blackwood

Discover how Capgemini’s Applied Innovation Exchange tackles the issue of finding relevant startups for specific business goals in a safe and repeatable way. 

This article was written by David Blackwood from CapGemini: Capping IT Off and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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