Is Your Company Truly Open To External Inputs?

Thursday, 26 January 2017 07:35
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Greetings! Large companies are realizing that external inputs are essential to help fuel the innovation they need in order to be competitive. Many are looking to partnerships with startups to inject novel capabilities, fresh thinking and nimbleness into their innovation operations. I assert that they could also get a lot more return from their external submission initiatives than they currently do.

Curious to learn more? Read on, dear friends...

Is Your Company Truly Open To External Inputs?

Companies that are seeking to be "open" to external inputs are actually far more resistant to them than they should be.

When we considering that traditionally cautious/conservative corporate technical personnel are typically the first persons to review external technologies and or ideas submitted to a large company, a 96+% rejection rate shouldn't be too surprising. It is far less risky for them to reject something foreign than to embrace it, much less champion it. While there are plenty of perfectly valid reasons why large companies reject external leads, conspicuous among them their respective technical robustness and maturity, I am convinced that they could derive far more value from these inputs than they currently do if only they managed them opportunistically versus defensively.

Consider the rich fodder that external submissions can represent: (1) a customer insight, typically expressed as a problem statement, (2) a product concept (or idea) to address the problem, (3) a technology (or execution) that embodies the concept. When a company rejects a submission, all of these elements get rejected, even though each of them may have value towards building a different, strong business opportunity.

Consider the following hypothetical example: Acme Chemicals submits its patented anti inflammatory technology to Beta Healthcare as a superior sunburn reliever because Acme knows that Beta sells sunscreens. At present, Beta isn't looking for any sunburn treatment products, so it rejects the submission. However, the technology also has strong and proven applicability in healing acne, diaper rash, cold sores and more...unknown to the submitter, some of these areas could also be of interest to Beta, but the submission has already been passed over by Beta and its potential value is lost.

I suggest that technology submissions/ideas not simply be screened, but rather incubated by a team of new business developers. They could look at submissions as not only potential solutions for existing/current problems, but as inspirations for totally new business opportunities. This practice could be applied to all submissions. I readily admit that there will still be a high scrap rate taking this approach, but I also believe there will be far more and juicier "meat " generated than companies realize.

Would your company like to run an experiment? I guarantee that I can help your company uncover some very strong new business opportunities. Ask me how. Contact me today.

"Connecting You With The Right Solutions" BFS Innovations, Inc.

Since 2005, BFS Innovations has helped its Fortune 500 clients with technology scouting, new business creation and business development services. Contact Michael today at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or at 614 937-2408 to discuss your company's needs.

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