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Open Innovation | Foresight | Startup Scouting

How to Use Open Innovation for Startup Scouting

By creating effective channels for startups to contribute towards your next-generation products, services, and business model, organizations can tap into new innovation and collaboration opportunities. In this blog, you’ll learn more about using open innovation as an efficient way to scout startups.

Why use open innovation?

Open innovation is a practice of sourcing ideas and solutions from a wide range of external audiences that can be applied to innovate products and services. This practice can be used when companies want a distributed, participatory, and more decentralized innovation process. It is a collaborative approach to problem-solving that taps into the collective intelligence of a wide range of people. Open innovation submissions can include ideas around specific challenges or opportunities, proposals from potential startups and partners, and input directly from customers.

Startup scouting as an essential part of the end-to-end innovation process

As startups are designed to address the prevalent gaps in the market by recognizing the opportunity spaces, scouting them is an essential step in the end-to-end innovation process. Startups are built upon ideas that are of great relevance to consumers, groundbreaking or highly innovative, and have the potential to produce cutting-edge solutions and disrupt business models. Thus, startup scouting can maintain a competitive advantage by bringing in this highly relevant information from the environmental investigation and analysis process.

ITONICS Campaigns can be a powerful tool to collect innovative ideas and solutions from startups as it allows flexibility in configuring how you gather submissions. For startup scouting, an open innovation platform can be used as a channel to contribute ideas for competitive solutions. Once you have decided whether to create a top-down or bottom-up campaign for ideation, set the timeframe (which can be always-on or time-bound), and selected the fields of information you want participants to submit, you can embed a form on your platform to receive submissions from startups as part of the open innovation process.

Scouting startups using open innovation

First of all, a set of clearly defined focus areas can help to get targeted proposals from startups for specific search fields. These can be tailored to your organization's innovation needs and challenges. The ITONICS External Gateway feature is specifically designed to leverage crowd knowledge and expertise from external idea submitters.

With External Gateway, you can configure an external form to easily allow idea submissions from users outside your ITONICS ecosystem via a link. The site can be integrated into other web pages as desired, for example, your company’s homepage. The design of the External Gateway can be freely customized using HTML, CSS, and inline Javascript to match your corporate design. All the submissions are gathered on one digital platform, and a startup ecosystem is built effortlessly.

To create and enrich startup profiles instantly, you can leverage the ITONICS Crunchbase and Tracxn integration. This can also be used to manage startup portfolios actively and identify opportunities faster.

Building on idea submissions through ratings and workflows

Once you have completed an idea submission phase, the next step is determining which ideas are most relevant to your business. To do this, getting your team members' opinions on the submitted ideas is essential. To see how different team members view the proposals, ITONICS provides the rating feature. The rating configuration can be set according to your needs.

Rating idea submissions in open innovation

The ITONICS Innovation OS can be used to manage workflows effectively for further evaluation of submissions.

Open innovation campaign overview

Using a centralized platform to manage your startup scouting and easily link potential partners to ongoing projects, trends, or technologies streamlines the ideation process and facilitates decision-making through the availability of interconnectivity and visualization tools.

By using ITONICS as the tool for your ideation campaigns, you can collect and evaluate ideas not only internally from employees but also from external parties. The workflows in ITONICS Campaigns are configurable to your needs. The ITONICS Innovation OS serves as a single source of truth for your organization to track the journey from idea to execution.

Best practices in open innovation for startup scouting

Using open innovation, the German engineering and technology company Bosch has launched the Bosch Open Innovation Partnerships platform that allows the company to co-create with startups, universities, and other external experts.

Bosch Open Innovation PlatformSearch fields on the Bosch Open Innovation Platform

Another example is the Austrian motorcycle, bicycle, and sports car manufacturer KTM, which has set up its Become a Partner Gateway to allow startups and partners to submit their solutions and ideas and to start a collaboration. 

KTM Open Innovation Platform

What’s next?

The ITONICS Innovation OS provides a centralized platform helping you drive innovation from ideas to execution. To bring idea submissions to life, you can use various tools in the software to evaluate them and prioritize the most promising ones. You can organize and structure the information to provide quick views on objectives, risks, workflows, budgets, and KPIs.

If you want to see for yourself how ITONICS can improve your startup scouting process, get a demo with one of our experts!

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