Today broad and disruptive innovation is not only ideal for large companies, it is a necessary component to maintaining a competitive edge. In order for companies to meet such steep market expectations, they need to broaden their approach to innovation.
The first step in doing so is embracing open innovation, which often includes collaborating with external startups or technology vendors to achieve a mutually beneficial end. However, not every startup is created equal.
One of the biggest challenges facing the modern corporation is running viable and accurate proof-of-concepts (PoCs) to decipher which solution is the best partnership for a given innovation initiative.
Testing and evaluating new technologies is fundamental to the success of every corporate innovation strategy because it fosters cooperation between different stakeholders and helps innovation managers make informed decisions from both a technology and business perspective.
When it comes to innovation activities, business and technology departments can sometimes be at odds.
For one, they look at different metrics for success. Business line departments look at efficiency and productivity, whereas tech departments focus on things like computing power, security and program efficacy.
When seeking out new technologies that can drastically change the paradigm of a business, these different approaches and other internal bureaucracy can grind progress to a halt.
Running a PoC aligns all of these seemingly disparate elements to create a cohesive look at how a potential new technology performs on the corporation’s production environment so that all of the departments can get the information that they need.
Make Informed Decisions
Too much choice can be overwhelming, and the number of startups claiming that they offer the most disruptive solution can make even the most savvy innovation department spin.
How can you know what technologies live up to their technological promises, and which ones are compatible and scalable with your company’s existing infrastructure? The key is to evaluate everything.
First map out what would make a solution a good fit for your business from both the business and technology perspective, then translate each of those factors into measurable performance indicators and run a PoC to evaluate each technology you are considering based on those indicators.
You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, and you shouldn’t adopt a new solution without evaluating its performance with a PoC.
Carrying out a thorough evaluation of the solutions you are considering implementing with a PoC allows you to try before you buy. Excluding PoCs from the innovation process leaves companies open to countless risks that could have otherwise been avoided.
Stay in Control
Acquiring other companies or adopting new technologies can fundamentally alter the culture of a corporation, so it is crucial to stay in control of what makes your business unique both internally to employees and externally to customers.
Change is not inherently bad, and it is something that any innovative company is likely to encounter.
Using a PoC to evaluate new technologies allows you to simulate how they will impact your business processes, and from there you can evaluate what other changes those updated processes will cause. That way, whatever internal and external shifts occur will be expected, properly considered by relevant stakeholders and anticipated accordingly.
Embrace the Process
Innovation can be motivated by different things by different companies. Some see it as a means to new revenue, others view it as the key to longevity, and many see it as a combination of the two.
Market pressure for companies to continuously evolve is extraordinary, and with it comes high consumer expectations.
By embracing the process of testing and evaluating technologies as an integral part of any innovation strategy, you take away a little of the gamble.
Branching out from the tried and true formula inherently carries some risk. But running meaningful, customized and accurate PoCs helps you predict how much risk you are actually facing.
Because of that, the PoC testing and evaluation process should never be overlooked, no matter what your innovation strategy.