Creating a Successful Startup Pilot

Follow these eight steps for making the most of your collaboration projects with public organizations and corporations.

Pilots are an agile way of working, which allows customers to test a solution with a startup in several small steps. This not only allows the customer to evaluate the solution, but also to build a relationship with the startup.

For startups, it is an opportunity to verify the market and adapt their product or service to the needs of corporates or public organizations. But what makes a good pilot?

These are eight conditions a pilot needs to fulfill to be successful:

1. Clear goals: Define what you want to achieve, set realistic goals, and establish a plan for implementation, including the expected outcomes and timeline. What problems should the pilot solve? Which aspects are most important to test?

2. Easy to start: Outline a first pilot that can be implemented quickly and easily, without excessive investment from either the purchaser or you as a startup. What is the minutest conceivable scope, site and/or amount of users you could experiment with?

3. Mandate and budget secured: Ensure that there is a mandate and budget to implement the pilot project, or that these can be created immediately.

4. Pilot owners and team ready: Define the roles, responsibilities, and ownership of the pilot. Identify the people who should be involved in the process. Is the pilot backed by everyone in the purchaser’s organization who will be involved? Is there a dialogue about structure/data management, IT, etc.?

5. Procurement involved: Procurement is essential when collaborating with the public sector. It is important to read up on procurement in general, as well as the purchaser’s specific procurement policy. Be sure to review any references, documents, etc. that the customer may request. It is key to document everything in order to disseminate the results and use them for future procurement, in case the project is scaled up.

6. Easy to measure and evaluate: Lower complexity makes it easier to measure and evaluate the examined element. Define which aspects you want to test and the parameters you want to measure. How can the benefits be gauged? How is the pilot evaluated?

7. Learnings for the next step: Think about how you will use the information that comes out of the pilot. What information and answers do you want to get quickly? During the pilot process, you can learn how your product meets the needs of the market, what is lacking, and what needs to be developed. You can gain an increased understanding of what creates value and how you can develop to better suit the customer’s needs.

8. Scaling up: It is important to ensure the pilot can be scaled up if it yields positive results. What should your next pilot be? Is it possible to scale up this pilot immediately? Which other areas can benefit from the pilot?

Find these tips and other important information in Pilots as a Strategic Tool for Innovation, a guide for startups on how to effectively collaborate with public organizations.

Click here to download the Swedish version of the guide

Click here to download the English version of the guide

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