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3 factors for the success of a pilot between startups and corporations

When entrepreneurs start the exploration journey with a corporate company, the quick proposal or request of a pilot usually arises as a solution to the link between both parties, but ... Is this the magic bet for success?

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

By: Abi Boragine, Head Of Business Development at Wayra Hispam

In an open innovation process, startups approach companies with a so-called pilot model , in which for a stipulated time a test is made of how they would be solved the pain points or needs of the company in order to demonstrate the savings, efficiency and convenience of implementing the solutions.

When entrepreneurs start the exploration journey with a corporate company, the quick proposal or request of a pilot usually arises as a solution to the link between both parties, but ... Is this the magic bet for success?

The answer is determined, to a large extent, by three factors that can condition the integration and way of working, between the startup and the corporation: first, the state of maturity of the solution is decisive; second, it is important to take into account the organization's intention or culture of innovation and lastly, the level of exploration and personalization of the product or service.

Factor 1: State of maturity of the startup

In the world of technological development, due to a process of evangelization and learning from both the startup and the corporation, solutions are constantly evolving and improving for their clients. However, the path is constantly changing and, therefore, solutions can be found that still do not achieve a Total Product Market Fit , and continue to explore horizons or business models.

For this stage, a validation is usually very important, looking for a pilot that provides greater certainty about the benefits and results, where the commitment to innovation and the exploration of possibilities to find solutions to the challenges of the organization is reinforced, and thus give more tranquility to the corporate environment, who will be able to validate with antecedents the differentiation of value that will be achieved. Thus, the pilot's focus should be on demonstration and concrete fact-based support.

Factor 2: Culture of innovation

In companies with little culture of innovation, it is a good strategy to carry out a pilot whose vision demonstrates the ease, solidity and competitive advantages that the corporation will have when incorporating the solution into the processes and protocols.

Early adopters provide opportunities to carry out a fully measured exercise, to determine if a solution or product really works, if there are people willing to try and buy the solutions, make adjustments and generate new " spin off ".

Factor 3: Exploration and customization

The third factor refers to the moment when it is allowed to co-create a solution with the client. This link allows the corporate to direct its efforts towards new developments with the expertise of the startup and, the latter can gain ground and experience to consolidate. When this type of situation happens, it is best to propose a proof of concept, which is developed together and requires additional validation. During this test, the solution could even be modified to achieve the desired result. In addition, it is always important to bear in mind that the proof of concept could require more effort and resources, but at the same time, it will allow to achieve a more linked result between the startup and the corporation.

One practice highlighted by Wayra , Telefónica Movistar's corporate investment fund, is the delimitation and adjustment of expectations between the corporate and the startup ; where from a simple document, both parties can detail the committed resources, the scope of the pilot and the indicators to be taken into account to define the success or failure of the project.

It will be difficult to have all the variables controlled, entrepreneurs cannot stay in eternal planning stages and companies cannot afford not to innovate and lose ground in a world in full digital and changing transformation, so I invite you to venture with pilot models, as an important measured and controlled gateway for innovation and entrepreneurship.