SRI International and startup accelerator SparkLabs’ strategic consultancy business have launched a partnership to help government agencies and public companies in Forbes’ Global 2000 list drive their innovation efforts. We sat down with SparkLabs Foundry co-founder and CEO Scott Sorochak to discuss how the partnership will expedite agencies’ technology piloting initiatives as well as help expand SRI’s technology portfolio with SparkLabs-selected startups.
SRI International: First of all, congratulations, and thank you for sitting down with us to chat about this exciting partnership! You talked in the official announcement about the “paralyzation of innovation” that oftentimes plagues Chief Innovation Officers. What is the “paralyzation of innovation” — and what generally leads to this in startups?
Scott Sorochak: The narrative around the phrase “Paralyzation of Innovation” speaks to the problems most global Multinational corporations experience related to deploying innovation within and across their global organizations. The problems can be visually understood from the picture below:
Typically Heads of Innovation departments get their fiscal budgets approved in Q1 and subsequently define their yearly Innovation goals and objectives along with assembling their cross organizational teams to then execute upon those goals. In Q2, those teams are typically conducting global outreach to companies that can help leverage their internal staff in achieving their innovation goals. This effort involves attending conferences, seminars, trade-shows, sending out RFP’s and working with existing partners to help identify those external companies which may be well suited to partner with. Once a short list is created, Q3 is typically used for “piloting” various technology and service companies to determine: Technical, resource, culture, KPI and cost fit within the Corporate Innovation structure. By the time the pilots are completed(some extending well into Q4), most Heads of Innovation are already starting the planning for the next year Innovation needs/programs…..all the while, the current year Innovation needs are still in the “exploratory/early” stages of determining corporate fit….In the last 2 years and having met with over 150 Chief Innovation Officers at the largest commercial and government entities around the World, over 85% of those we have met with, state this “Paralyzation of Innovation” image depicts accurately why so many are not delivering on Innovation at their company.
SRI: How will the SRI / SparksLab Foundry partnership tackle this “paralyzation” problem?
Scott: By utilizing the SparkLabs Foundry platform of over 1,000,000 startups of all sizes and funding stage, SRI and SLF will be able to meet with CIO’s from around the World, understand their Innovation needs for the current year and in “real time”, help to filter and curate the most relevant startups to Pilot immediately and thus, dramatically reduce the time to market related to innovation across the Corporate or Government entity. The value to the Corporate and government entities translates to months and quarters of resource and cost savings.
SRI: How will SRI & SparksLab Foundry leverage this partnership to accelerate their innovation programs/initiatives?
Scott: SRI and SLF will be working collaboratively on each of their customers’ innovation needs, quickly helping each to identify, filter, curate and deploy key startup/corporate/government innovation pilots and programs and proving resource and cost savings from the first month of engaging. Both companies have extensive global innovation channels and will be sector agnostic.
SRI: What can we expect to see materialize from this collaboration in 2020/2021 (i.e. tech on the horizon that we can expect to see an influx of investment in)?
Scott: Based on the last few years of diverse customer growth at both companies, SRI and SLF aim to establish incremental net new customers in commercial and government markets globally in sectors such as: Govtech, Healthtech, Cybersecurity, Fintech, IoT, Mobility and general Technology.
SRI: Thank you for the great insight, Scott. We are excited here at SRI to see what materializes from the collaboration with SparkLabs Foundry, and for the new technology we can look forward to seeing in the near future.