Best practices for innovation managers and business units to effectively communicate innovation requests

December 13, 2021
How to describe your problem and pain points objectively in order to find the best-matched sourcing results

It all starts with sourcing to find the most viable startup solution and set up an auspicious partnership on your corporate-startup journey.

The sourcing process

GlassDollar’s powerhouse sourcing team has a proven track record of consistently delivering high-quality results. By meticulously scouring databases and performing deep searches, we exhaust all available options and examine startups one by one to find the best fit for your needs. 

Leveraging learnings from dozens of corporations, GlassDollar uses a digital briefing form to collect information on internal challenges, including purpose, objective, metrics, and KPIs. As the main touchpoint with the project leader, the briefing form serves as the primary source of information for the sourcer to understand the problem of an innovation project and become an expert in that field. 

The sourcing process consists of interpreting and studying the problem description, researching the topic, performing the search, analyzing startups, and finalizing a shortlist. Based on the briefing form parameters, this information is then distilled into a matrix that assigns a fit score for up to 8 of the most applicable startups.

Sample image of GlassDollar's Comparative Matrix

Best practices on communicating your pain points & expectations management

Regardless of how your innovation solution provider will collect information from you (e.g., digital briefing form, interviews, free-form writing, etc.), make sure you have a straightforward approach on how to structure your thoughts. To ensure the best possible match between sourcing results and your project request, you should have two goals in mind: Effectively communicate your problem and ably manage expectations.

1. How to describe your problem clearly and effectively?

Good communication is critical. We will be focusing on the following four topics that help the sourcing team tailor the search for possible solutions:

Problem Description: Managers often describe their pain points on a general level, but sourcers require specific information to conduct a deep search. As an expert in your field, it is easy to forget what sits outside of the box. To enable the sourcing team to leverage their full capacity, take the following steps:

The description should be as complete and precise as possible, especially in application, objectives, business metrics, and impact.

Must-have features for the solution: What are the required features and technical requirements? This aspect captures the minimum requirements for a solution. It is a delicate field to approach because while these features can help pinpoint a matching solution during the search process, they can also immediately exclude many potential products that might be a good fit. To optimize your search results:

Status Quo of the problem: Is the problem initiative part of an ongoing project or initiated only by you and a small circle? When we understand the current state of a project, it will better inform our search strategy. Ask yourself the following questions:

Known Solutions: Are you aware of any solutions that would solve your problem? Naming existing solutions can help us:

We make sure to keep constant and open communication between the innovation project requester and Customer Success Manager for clarification if necessary. The aim is to ultimately improve the matching component of the results with your project requirements.

“If we do not have a good source of information, we cannot go out there and do the proper research. We cannot exhaust the market and find solutions if we do not understand the exact problem and the proper application.”
Erick Daniel Pano Paniagua, Co-Head of Sourcing @GlassDollar

2. How to manage expectations

At times, innovation requests are unrealistic or do not align with what the sourcing team does. In this case, you need to manage expectations during the process. 

Set the tone 

Let the project lead know from the beginning that there might not yet be an existing solution on the market for a particular request, or perhaps the technology might be underdeveloped and not ready for implementation. In addition, if the requester only wants to understand the status quo of a market or technology, the end result will not always yield solutions.

Convey the goals and skill set of the sourcing team

Make sure the BU understands what our sourcing team does - that we explicitly look for startup solutions to challenges that a specific technology or product can solve. For example, we do not look for suppliers for a marketing agency, but we could find startup products that could automate business processes and help save time.

It’s our mission to help you identify the best match out there. Working with startups can solve a specific problem in innovative ways, and they have the added value of serving more as your partner and collaborator.

GlassDollar offers an end-to-end PoC management software solution that helps global companies like BSH, Daimler, Telefonica, and Miele scale the adoption of impact-driven technologies.

Are you looking to make your startup collaborations more impactful and scalable? Then book a free consultation with our innovation success managers to identify the next steps towards optimizing your startup partnering activities.

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