In the era of digital transformations, innovative ideas are a dime a dozen. However, just because someone in your organization has a good idea doesn’t mean it’ll translate to strong results. Execution is the most crucial part of innovation. You have to be able to fully execute one good idea rather than execute pieces of 100 different innovative ideas. This often leaves decision makers with a difficult question—can you outsource innovation effectively?

While outsourcing usually means hiring external creatives, development teams or consultancies from an executive’s point of view, successful innovation outsourcing requires a more holistic perspective. By creating innovation partnerships, your company can achieve digital transformation success through outsourcing. Here are a few things to look for when forming an innovation partnership.

Finding the Right Fit from a Process Standpoint 

One of the main outsourcing challenges that many companies face is finding a way to allow corporate bureaucracy mesh with an agile, start-up frame of mind. Taking the start-up perspective is necessary for effective digital transformation; but if you’re trying to go back-and-forth between an outsourcer’s agile process and your own waterfall processes, you’ll just kill the innovative spark you’re trying to create.

With an innovation partner, you can inject an agile mindset into your business without having it contend with adjacent corporate processes. Who knows, you might even start trying to learn from the innovation partner’s methods.

The Big Picture Must Take Center Stage 

The problem with in-house innovation projects and piecemeal outsourcing is that creatives lose sight of the big picture. You can’t just dive into coding or marketing or designing and expect the product to fit perfectly into your business plans. An innovation partner will take a step back and ask:

  • Why are you even in business?
  • Who are you building this idea for?
  • Why are we bringing this idea to life?
  • How will this solution affect users and your business?

You probably haven’t thought of some of these questions in years; but if you want to maximize your ROI, you should be able to answer each of them clearly. Innovation partners can take some of the pressure off and help you think about these topics that have fallen by the wayside for so many years in favor of more immediate action.

Don’t Think Inside or Outside the Box—Forget the Box Altogether

There’s a certain level of comfort that comes with hiring an outsourcer with specific, relevant experience. However, there is a clear advantage to finding an innovation partner that is technology- and industry-agnostic.


In many cases, outsourcers with years of specific industry experience fail to approach innovation in a manner which will truly spark B2B disruption. Rather than brainstorming outside-the-box ideas, an agnostic innovation partner can approach the industry with a fresh perspective, bringing experience and success stories from a number of other industries. If you want to find the white space in your market, a clean-slate point of view is almost a necessity.

When an innovation partner digs deep into the core of a business and understands the big picture, initiating innovative ideas is much easier than with piecemeal outsourcers.

“A+” Players for “A+” Ideas—Partnerships Make It Financially Feasible

Business success hinges on digital transformation today, which is why you need your best and brightest at the helm of each innovation project. However, it’s financially impossible to hire an entire staff of “A+” talent and point-based outsourcing costs can spin out of control as you hire multiple expert teams.

An all-in-one innovation partner is uniquely capable of assigning an end-to-end team of “A+” players to your project. Rather than being the glue holding projects together, responsibility is shared with the innovation partner so you’re more likely to execute rather than succumb to internal/outsourcer turmoil.

The initial price of an all-in-one solution might seem out of touch at first. However, when you consider the total costs of piecemeal outsourcing (and the potential cost of hiring an innovation partner when the big picture result doesn’t work properly), you’ll see that an all-in-one partner is your best bet for digital transformation execution that gets done right the first time. 

The short answer to our initial question? Yes, you can absolutely outsource innovation. However, you may still be determined to follow a different path. Download our latest eBook, The Four Ways Companies Innovate and How to Set Up Your Own Innovation Practice, to learn about more ways to initiate successful innovation projects in your organization. 

If you liked this article listen to Dialexa CEO, Scott Harper, on Custom Made talk to the business opportunity of custom development:

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