The competitive landscape for businesses is fierce and nowadays you can’t survive without constantly innovating.
This has many companies starting “innovation outposts.”
An innovation outpost is a small offsite team that develops and incubates new products and ideas for the parent company.
For example, online shoe and clothing retailer Zappos started Zappos Labs, which has proven its worth time and time again.
Some of Zappos Labs’ creations are Ask Zappos, where customers can take a picture of apparel they love and text it to a stylist to find out where to buy it, and ZN, an app-based digital magazine complete with editorial spreads, fashion articles where consumers could purchase products directly.
And while Zappos had great success with an internally run innovation outpost, most companies just don’t have the resources or expertise required to do so on their own.
In those cases, they can turn to digital product development companies like ours.
So, assuming you like the concept of an innovation outpost, the next question is: Do you build your own or turn to a partner like us?
Perhaps it’s no surprise, but we think most companies would be best served by partnering. Here’s why:
A fresh perspective
When you work for a large company, you often fall under the curse of the expert. You learn ways things are done, what’s not possible, what is or isn’t realistic.
But quite often what you learn is wrong.
The problem with expertise is that it can shut you off to new ideas – “We’ve seen it and done it all so we know what works and what doesn’t” or “Why would we rock the boat if what we are doing works?”
However, that thinking is a sure-fire way to fall behind the competition.
Right or wrong, much of today’s top talent would prefer to work for the next big thing, not the current big thing.
These folks want to work at creative workplaces with challenging work, a dynamic environment and room to grow — something they often feel they won’t experience at larger companies.
By turning to companies like ours as an innovation outpost, you can tap into that top talent.
We have a culture here that attracts top talent by giving our team variety in their work, the opportunity to push the envelope with new technologies and the time to> work on their own projects (the free iced coffee and beer help, too!).
Less risk to you
Large companies have a tendency to be more risk-averse because failure comes with a big audience and widespread ramifications to revenue, reputation and careers.
We thrive on the risk that comes with innovation. This moves the risk-taking burden from the company to ourselves.
We are not afraid of the unknown which opens us up to exploring new ideas and experimenting with new innovations.
Larger companies tend to have a complex infrastructure with many departments. These departments justifiably come with competing interests and goals when it comes to the health of the company including legal, accounting, engineering and marketing which doesn’t leave much space for innovation.
As a partner, we are free from those competing interests as well as other day-to-day tasks of the company allowing us to independently laser focus on delivering key innovations.
Innovation is crucial to the success of your business but sometimes it’s difficult for it to find a home inside your business. If you think an innovation outpost is right for you, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.