Build or buy? The Big Question of Corporate Innovation
Updated: Jul 18, 2022
Please note: There is a commercial collaboration between Valuer.ai and Network Development Hub, the international boutique advisory of which the author is co-founder and partner.
When I started my professional career in the insurance industry a couple of decades ago, the typical corporate saying around technology innovation was "we'll do it inhouse". There were several reasonable arguments for why that was the best option. Back then. Today, however, the situation is way more complex and fuzzy.
Today, the tech startup ecosystems are blooming across all continents. Innovative ideas are being incubated, accelerated, and launched on a global scale. International collaboration no longer requires local presence, and the acceptance of remote work (not least thanks to covid) enables expert resources to deliver their services independent of physical location. This means that no matter how smart you think you are, it is very likely that somebody else has already thought of the idea.
"No matter how smart you think you are, it is very likely that somebody else has already thought of the idea."
In a fast-moving technology landscape, it no longer makes sense to insist on building everything inhouse. Why spend lots of time and money to research, develop and test how the wheel works, when you can buy top notch innovative wheels in the market?
There is a significant hurdle, though; how to find the right wheel maker in a messy, fuzzy, and crowded landscape? Indeed, this is a significant challenge for both corporate ventures, investors and any entity looking for suppliers of specific innovative solutions.
The answer is artificial intelligence :-) Ok, that was cheesy :-)
Actually, data-driven scouting is very challenging, as there are endless amounts of data sources out there about companies, investments, etc. Many of these data sources are difficult to access, and the many data sources are definitely not harmonized. Different languages, different ways of describing technologies, industries, and use cases, and different laws and regulations, to mention only a few complications.
Valuer.ai has started the journey to solve this challenge. They have built an AI-driven platform for data collection, validation, processing and refinement to enable corporates and investors to see the bigger picture of tech innovation.
The example above is from a techology trend clustering for the global insurance industry. I'm not going to give you the sales pitch, that you can find on their website. However, I am going to give you this; before making the "build or buy decision", give yourself the time and space to have a proper look at the massive tech innovation going on in the market. No matter how smart you think you are, it is very likely that somebody else has already thought of the idea :-)