Tell us about Adaptant and how you are disrupting automotive.
We started Adaptant in 2015 in response to the then-forthcoming changes in the European data protection and privacy landscape - specifically, the GDPR. Since this time, Adaptant has focused on developing user-centric technological solutions and innovations that help companies not only meet their compliance obligations, but also build more valuable relationships with their customers.
What can traditional businesses learn from start-ups?
The main things traditional businesses can learn from start-ups, in my opinion, fall into two key areas: (1) learning from and accepting failure of a new idea/concept as a worthwhile endeavour in and of itself; and (2) making room for trying things that may not yet have a clear connection to an existing product line, while ensuring that relevant organizational stakeholders can be engaged.
In the case of (1), the part that is often overlooked by larger organizations is that it is better to make small mis-steps early on before committing to a direction, and the more you know about what doesn’t work, the more time and money you will save later when trying to scale. Besides the organizational learning benefits, a portfolio of results from previous experimentation derived from a common concept can also provide an opportunity for future product and market diversification. Start-ups typically rely on the results of this type of experimentation to write up their intangible asset valuation owing to a lack of resources to pursue them fully - larger organizations, however, are far less resource-constrained, and are much better positioned to explore these fully.
For (2), a key point of what enables start-up innovation is not just the ideation or capacity for greenfield thinking, but also the flat hierarchies and accessibility of stakeholders across the organisation that enable cross-functional and interdisciplinary scrutiny, brainstorming, and engagement at every stage of the innovation process. In traditional companies, waiting for new ideas to reach a certain level of maturity before having these discussions simply means that a big part of what enables start-up innovation to flourish is missed - you can transfer the IP, but often the know-how and the process by which the idea was developed is the more valuable asset, particularly during subsequent operationalization.