Although the business entrepreneurs have always been on the border with technological and scientific developments related to this crop, it took on the task of finding solutions generated by entrepreneurs, other research centers, universities, and companies that could solve one of the most critical challenges in the sector. In total, it received 64 proposals from 15 countries around the world with solutions focused on assisted harvesting, automated harvesting, robotics, technologies, and the internet of things.
It is just one example of organizations that have used open innovation models in Latin America and the Caribbean to find solutions and develop new products. It also shows the scale that this model can reach and why it has become so striking.
Startups: An open platform to solve a business challenge
100 Open Startups is an initiative of a non-profit corporation that articulates public-private networks and promotes meeting spaces to promote innovation and transform collaboratively.
In this blog post, I share the elements behind 100 Open Startups, the platform used by the Coffee Growers Federation challenge, and explain how you can take advantage of it to promote open innovation and solve a business challenge:
Identify the challenge – What area can benefit from an open innovation process?
The process starts from identifying a business challenge or specific problem that a company wants to solve or a new product or service that it wishes to develop and introduce to the market. This transformation consists of identifying needs, opportunities for improvement, or new horizons. It defines the technical aspects examined, the impact of the expected solution, the type of relationship with the potential solver, and how to measure the effectiveness of the result with indicators is determined.
For example, Coffee PickINN defines as a challenge: making coffee harvesting more efficient in Colombia? Because this step is the most critical part of the value chain and the secret of grain quality. In the country, the process is manual, so the costs are higher, labor is scarce, and it is not accessible to technical due to the geographical conditions of the land.
Share the challenge with possible solvers – the innovation network opened in Latin America and the Caribbean
Solutions to innovation challenges can come from research results of universities and their technology transfer offices or entrepreneurs, among other actors.
100 Open Startups connects, classifies, and generates business opportunities between large companies and entrepreneurs through a system of evaluation of crowdsourcing (open collaboration). In addition, it is open to the public and is accessible for solvers. To participate, you must register and report some basic information about the venture.
In the case of the CoffeePickInn challenge, it was possible to find solutions with different approaches. From entrepreneurs with business models and financing platforms to acquire tools to technological developments based on the Internet of Things (IoT) and specialized collection robots used in other industries.
Guide diverse and creative inputs with mentors and expert advice
Open innovation processes frequently require additional technical advice, including technological surveillance, evaluation of the state of intellectual property, and economic valuation of technologies, among other things.
In the case of the connection platform between entrepreneurs and companies, 100 Open Startups have evaluators of other entrepreneurs, senior executives from the region, and accelerator experts who make collective evaluations. It allows identifying the attractive proposals with the most substantial potential. Thus, both parties find opportunities and evolve the value offer that will enable them to solve a business challenge.
It would be best if you had the opinion of different areas of the organization in the process so that the solution is technically viable. From the financial point of view, you have the approval and commitment of implementation. The research team carried out technical management, innovation, representatives of the leading regional and external consultants.
Establish a strategic alliance that appropriates and finances the innovative solution
You achieve success when there is an “entrepreneur-company” or “corporate company any” alliance. The idea is to work hand in hand and bring the result of research from the laboratory to the market or make a commercial alliance between the enterprise and the company to develop or sell a product or service. Likewise, some ventures receive funding from organizations or angel investors interested in betting on an innovative project.About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud platform where their QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools are hosted in an efficient SSO environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.