The traditional way to attract new innovation talent is quite “passive”: open job positions on the job gate or Linkedin page, advertisement, investment in corporate culture, and so on. It’s all about waiting for people to apply for your job positions, assuming that, out of hundreds of applicants, you’ll find the right person to fill the right position.
Today, instead, corporations are increasingly relying on “active” ways to scout talent. Why? Because there are already thousands of ambitious experts out there who are trying to solve (or willing to solve) the same problem that you’re tackling. Why don’t you invite them for a beer?
So, what can I do?
Here are 3 initiatives that, amongst other, are particularly effective in helping your company scout talent and innovators.
EXAMPLE 1: Launch an innovation challenge (easy to set-up, good for attracting junior un-specific talent)
An innovation challenge is an open initiative (often in a 24-to-72-hour format) to get external expertise to solve specific challenges. By launching a call for innovators, you attract people who are either interested in the challenges you’re proposing and/or in your organization.
It could transform into a startup incubator to create ongoing external collaborations.
+ Brings in external knowledge to solve internal challenges
+ First step to apply open innovation in an organization
– Uncertain quality of ideas.
– High PR-effort needed.
EXAMPLE 2: Activate a corporate startup incubator (middle way)
An external startup incubator is a corporate initiative to support, grow and evaluate external startups for a specific period of time. If scouting talent is a major target in your innovation strategy, startup incubators let your company get in contact with, select and collaborate with a vast pool of individuals who are working (or are willing to) to the same challenges that your company is facing.
Example: we helped Orange to set up Orange Fab, a corporate incubator. During the scouting process, we talked to 60 startup teams and selected 3 teams who are eventually joining the Orange incubator.
It should transform into a startup investment fund to sustain external collaborations.
+ Good way to experiment with radical innovations
+ Good way to explore startup collaborations before investment
– Difficult to connect activities with core business
EXAMPLE 3: Activate a startup fund (complex due diligence, good for attracting senior talent)
A startup fund is a corporate fund that invests in external opportunities. It aims to generate growth through external capabilities in line with the strategic objectives of an organization. By reaching out to startups, you get in contact with talented individuals who, by their own ambition, are actively disrupting your own business with an entrepreneurial spirit and a clear strategic view.
Often startups get acquired after they’ve shown business potential
+ Ideal space to generate growth with external capabilities
+ Bring in external assets
– Startup scouting is a time-consuming & difficult activity
– M&A is by default a risky activity
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