What To Look For In An Innovation Partner

finding the right innovation partnerIf you’re a successful company, you’re probably not used to innovation. You’re used to being good at what you do, and that’s the opposite of innovation. Smart innovation that evolves a new and marketable product often requires an innovation partner.

There are a lot of reasons for that. But they boil down to a deceptively simple concept:

Two heads think better than one.

The Lone Company

A person or a company left alone with an idea will have a very difficult time bringing the idea to life. That’s because of all the competing thoughts, emotions and responsibilities. These impinge on the idea from numerous angles and remove studied understanding, time and energy that could otherwise bring it to full form and fruition.

That’s why a company that considers raising its intellectual property from under cobwebs and transforming it into a marketable product needs another brain, and an independent one at that.

The Independent Innovation Brain

This is a brain that can find, validate, and perceive how to incorporate technology and creations that will be profitable, while not shaking up the already successful company.

Who can do that?

  • Someone with a lot of research know-how.
  • Someone with a lot of real world connections.
  • Someone who can locate the experimental product developed by, say, a university in Berlin, that fits the missing ingredient in your innovative concept.

That’s the sketch of an innovation partner.

It’s someone who has a track record for bringing new products to the market, and stands before a team of researchers who are dedicated to finding nascent technology on demand, which can lead to successful innovation.

It’s also someone like Andy Defrancesco who isn’t constrained by the innovating company’s culture, logistics and desires. A person who can think to the bottom of an idea, comprehend the array of resources that support the idea, its development, and importantly, all of the reasons that exist not to do it.

The key to successful innovation is knowing when to drop the idea. The right innovation partner won’t be afraid to drop an idea that’s not viable.

Imagine how difficult it can be to do that when you’re working inside a company, where you’re beholden to the ideas of leaders and colleagues and walled in by common knowledge without access to a broader picture.

Styles of Innovation Management

An innovation partner can assess on different levels. These include vetting an opportunity, such as entrance to a new market, or the adoption of a new technology. And they include vetting an innovation idea itself.

How Companies Remain Successful Isn’t Innovation

To commit to a protocol that will thoroughly vet a potential product or service isn’t what most successful companies do to remain successful. Finding the right innovation partner is the best investment for a successful long term innovation breakthrough.

Andrew Benson is Suffolk University alum working in retail, selling sports memorabilia. He enjoys blogging about sports, new products, technology, and business innovation. You can find Andrew on Google+

Also published on Medium.