One of the main objectives of a corporate innovation strategy is to work with disruptive startups in their industry and eventually integrate that startup’s technology into their main products. The process typically starts with a proof of concept (POC) to test how well the startup’s technology integrates with the corporation’s existing products.
What is a POC?
A proof of concept (POC) is how startups demonstrate to a corporation that their technology is financially viable. The startup essentially creates a prototype in a sandbox-environment to prove their technology is capable of handling real-world applications. The overall objective of a POC is to find solutions or improvements to a corporation’s existing technologies and products.
Best Practices for Implementing a POC
- Corporations should have a clear strategy before working with startups. Have specific business use cases in mind to provide direction.
- Have startup-friendly legal documents. Startups often get bogged down during the legal process and slows down the entire POC process.
- If you have sensitive data that can’t be easily shared, make a sandbox of historical data to test.
- Have an engineer on the innovation team that’s able to evaluate the technical aspects of the startup technology.
- Make it clear to startups from the beginning if you are seriously considering partnering or if it just exploratory.
- Have someone on your innovation team with startup experience. This person should know how the POC will realistically scale out.
- Minimize the number of business units involved with the POC directly. Avoid forcing the startup to sign off with several different team leads.