How Innovation as a Service is Important for Start-ups and Corporates

Innovating before it's time is the right step forward

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Have you ever walked into a party and found that you’re the only one there because you’re early?


Standing on your own, a series of thoughts make you contemplate your decision. At first, you question whether you’re at the correct party. Then, you wonder if the party is worth attending, making you consider whether to leave or stay.

Soon, you see the host of the party, who doesn’t find it strange that you’re there early. Over time, you see other guests enter and now, being the first one turned out to be a good decision.  

Now, let’s put this in the context for you, the entrepreneur with an innovation. 

Party = your innovation

Host = corporate

Guests = competing start-ups

The above scenario instantly relates to why being early at a party = the importance of Innovation as a Service (for the start-up and the corporate).

Several start-ups fail to succeed because they have an innovation that is ‘beyond its time’, which could simply mean, they have no customers in sight. Corporates fail to succeed in staying ahead of the curve because the practice to create the new comes at a cost of both time and capital.

The two scenarios are pieces of the same puzzle and when put together, come in the form of collaboration, i.e., Innovation as a Service (IaaS).

What Makes IaaS Such a Key Tool for Both Parties Involved?

Simply because everyone wants to experiment. Everyone is also apprehensive. A corporate is, as it might dilute their current value and a start-up is because while they are in the process of creating a value, they might not know the takers for it.

Although corporates have their own innovation labs, the abundance of solution providers is growing way beyond just the Bay area. For a corporate to think outside the box, IaaS requires them to look outside the box too. That’s where the start-ups are.

Once the solution is with the corporates, all they need to do is process and develop, making IaaS a perfect assembly line for success.

What’s in it for the Startup?

  1.  IaaS, as mentioned above provides them with a clientele, not only for now but one if tended to successfully will remain for a long period.
  2. Providing a service for a large corporation enables a startup to create further value about them through brand association. A larger clientele from this association and through the help of the corporate being served.
  3. Conducting a proof of concept on a core audience while getting paid for it and better, monitored and mentored by industry experts is 360 degrees support that is invaluable for a growing venture. The startup shouldn’t treat this alliance as their cash cow but a means to it.

It’s not only a win-win situation for the start-up, open innovation also provides acceleration to the corporates. Just like in a puzzle, both the pieces are as important as the other, the innovation needs the last piece of the puzzle, as the organization requires the start-up.

However, a stat of 98% startups failing within IaaS provides an alarming issue. The problem isn’t always what these start-ups are offering but the lack of bridging these gaps with those who can get them to the ideal taker.

What makes IAAS a hard sell for startups is the access to these corporates and more importantly, the access to the corporates specific to them. At times, the start-up is truly at the wrong party!

How to Innovate for the Ideal Corporates?

Organisations like IncubateHub, 100 Open Start-ups, act as mediums to join the dot for innovators and the implementers.

In a gist, the avenue of IaaS provides the start-up a platform to showcase their solution and a corporate to service the solution. Like a match made in heaven, this one originates in an innovation lab, providing security for the startup to sustain the test of time and the corporate a solution to grow further.

The next time you’re early at the party, wait it out. Perseverance will pay off for the hard work. There is always a host and if you have answered to the correct invitation, then you’ll be the life and the centre of the party.