As a follow-up post, I am pleased to be able to share some insights from Jan on how they act in the early stages of building relationships with potential partners.
This is the advice from Jan based on their experiences.
- Get beyond the usual suspects. Traditional business development folks easily get overwhelmed and focus on “the usual suspects”. In our Open Innovation efforts, we try hard to reach new potential partners rather than the companies that we already knew.
- Set expectations up front. We try to be very clear about what potential partners can expect in order to avoid the “false positives” mode. For instance, for entrepreneur day, we promise a yes/no response within 48 hours after the event. A yes means that we explore the possibility of running a customer trial with the potential partner. We explicitly communicate that even after a successful trial, we still maintain the right to not proceed with that partner, etc.
- Avoid confidentiality and IP issues in the early stages. All events and initial contacts are explicitly in “the public domain”. No NDAs are signed, no promises are made. The goal of initial contacts is to create enough interest from our end to get into deeper discussions that may take place under NDA.
- Facilitate the building of a community where external innovators may even decide to get together and partner with each other, rather than with us. We’ve had at least one and probably more cases of where this happened. We are delighted about this and feel it’s an important success factor.
Stefan Lindegaard is a speaker, network facilitator and strategic advisor who focus on the topics of open innovation, intrapreneurship and how to identify and develop the people who drive innovation