What Did We Learn Going Online?

At the end of April, we held our signature Value Proposition Days entirely online. What did we do differently and how did we succeed?

Many of Foundry’s operations are online by default. We get in touch with teams from around the world virtually when introducing them to the associated companies’ teams. However, the final stretch, which we call the Value Proposition Days (VPDs), traditionally happen face-to-face, to help establish rapport between future partners. These events are also a way to facilitate networking between teams who are interested in connecting with other Combient companies.

When the ongoing social distancing practices became institutional guidelines, the Foundry team withdrew to their home offices. It was apparent that meeting face-to-face with startups and corporate teams would not happen. The last part of the Venture Client Cycle had to be adapted to the new normal and fast.

How to Establish Rapport Remotely?

The VPDs are for identifying a clear, mutually beneficial value proposition for a potential partnership. The desired outcome is an outline of a scalable project that aims to realize this value. Having this secured, the participants also get a chance to benefit from the cross-pollination of the Combient Network. A large part of the VPDs is taking the time to know everyone on a personal level between the meetings. 

At first, it seemed all types of networking had to be forgotten for the time being. However, going remote opened up more time and loosened the need for a regimented schedule. This meant that we would have to take up very little of the startup teams’ time and only have them present for their own meetings.

Still, important elements of the Venture Client Approach had to be reconsidered: how can we ensure they get a chance to proverbially shake hands with representatives from other Combient companies? In the end, we came up with a relatively simple solution: adding a third day to VPD. On that third day, we hosted an event we called Foundry LIVE. 

Our online events showed the Venture Client Approach delivers, even under tough circumstances. We had the most startup participants the VPDs have had so far. Time was saved for their teams, with the need for travel being eliminated. Discussions were kept on time and everyone was able to exercise flexibility in regards to time zones.

Our First All-Virtual VPDs

The Final Demos, the summaries of the two-day workshops were the main program of Foundry LIVE. They were presented from the startup teams’ comfort zones as recorded messages from their remote offices. This saved the startups’ time and made sharing the well-documented solutions easier for the Combient Network. In fact, this already has spurred new discussions between startups and Combient companies not in the cycle.

 To add an extra treat, the Final Demos were accompanied by Fireside Talks: key decision-makers from each Foundry company joined remotely for a conversation. For this, we set up a studio for a small crew of broadcast hosts. This added a professional feel for interviewing our guests. Best of all, putting it together was easy. A definite tip for anyone doing webinars from the office – go the extra mile with appearances!

We are happy to tell you that we will share this part of the program with you!  Presentations by Samuli Savo, CDO of Stora EnsoJussi Herlin, Vice Chairman of the Board at KONE, and the dual session with Mikael Adelsberg, SVP of Connected, Autonomous and Embedded Systems at Scania, and Mikael Cato, CDO of Scania will all be published in the coming weeks. Check them out to hear from the key stakeholders about their companies’ startup and innovation strategies, and how work has continued during the pandemic.

Check out our active opportunities here.