What to look for in an "Innovation As A Service" offering

Custom software development and engineering

Innovation as a Service gives you the creativity you’d find in an agile, hungry start-up but without drawbacks such as financial risk or scale constraints. Whether you’re bringing outside consultants into your organization or outsourcing innovation to labs, hackspaces, and focus groups, look for these five key characteristics in a service offering.


Range & diversity

You may be familiar with the “wisdom of crowds” theory best demonstrated by the example of a crowd at a county fair trying to guess the weight of a cow or the number of jelly beans in a jar. It’s rare any individual will get the exact answer, but the average of all guesses is often remarkably accurate.

It’s not just the number game that makes this work: that the crowd brings a range of backgrounds and characteristics and thus different approaches and insights to the task, which get combined in the average guess. If you asked 100 architects or 100 elementary school kids to each guess, there’s a good shot almost everyone in the group would be wrong in the same direction. With Innovation as a Service, you don’t just want the largest possible group of skilled people working on your ideas — you want a service that harnesses people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and specialisms to get as broad a range of inputs as possible.



To effectively develop ideas for your organization, whether internally or externally, an Innovation as a Service provider will often need access and insight to your operations. That means you need absolute trust that they won’t compromise your company’s confidentiality.



Ideas and innovations tend to be a bit fuzzy, but an Innovation as a Service provider should make things clear. Look for one who is willing and able to explain their work and results in a way you can understand. Those who hide behind waffle and unnecessary jargon may be trying to exaggerate their abilities and results.


Intellectual property

Make sure you’re clear about who owns the intellectual property for any ideas, processes or inventions created when you use innovation as a service. This isn’t just about whether you are able to use the innovations without further financial or legal obligations. It’s also about where anyone involved in the process gets rights that could later be used in competition to you.



A good provider will have a clearly defined process to make sure their work serves your needs. This can be as simple as a two-step process: coming up with ideas then selecting, refining, and focusing those ideas to solve your problems. The process could be more complex and detailed. Either way, be certain that their particular take on Innovation as a Service achieves your actionable goals.

Doing Many Proof of Concepts, or Rapid Prototyping to achieve decision making in digital products and then “graduating “ these to MVP is a fast way to disrupt your own organization. Allowing for the process to flow and ideation being the initiator, this will allow for Innovation to take hold in your business.

#BeBold #IaaS

Craig Wilson
Co-Founder, Chief Commercial Officer

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