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To outsource or not to outsource?

“Can we outsource innovation, design and prototyping?” That’s the question. According to Sun cofounder Bill Joy, you have to make it worthwhile for people outside the company to work out your product. So, is that the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

“No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else”, Bill Joy (Sun Microsystems cofounder)

“Can we outsource innovation, design and prototyping?” That’s the question. According to Sun cofounder Bill Joy, you have to make it worthwhile for people outside the company to work out your product. So, is that the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Will your innovation, design and prototyping process move faster when creatives elsewhere are working together with you? Three key-takeaways to consider:

1. Split outsourcing dreams 

Don’t define your innovation process as a whole. Consider design, innovation and prototyping as separate pillars. First of all, decide for each of them if it’s worth to start outsourcing. Let’s zoom in on your design process for example. Design is all about creative ideas, isn’t it? And even though your team consists of a huge pool of talented designers, you should regularly give them an energy shot by letting people outside your company do the creative part. Let the outsourced team inspire and feed your designers with a whole bunch of new ideas. Because if you don’t press the pause button every now and then, your team will run out of fresh perspectives. And all the ideas they supposed to be having, will bleed to death.

Besides that, outsourcing comes in handy when your design team doesn’t have the full experience to solve every single design problem. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The same occurs in every prototyping process. if you lack the specific knowledge, team up with creatives outside your company. When you develop a connected loom machine for the first time, you’ll develop the machine yourself, but you’ll outsource the connected part to IoT experts in the field. You’ll buy their expertise in connectivity, sensors and electronics.

IOT

2. Be flexible, be lean 

When you’re running a business, it’s very tempting to want to do everything yourself. Why should you spend additional money anyway? Handling everything in-house probably sounds like the most efficient and cost-effective solution, right? Well, that’s not always the case. In fact, trying to do everything yourself can end up wasting a lot of precious time. And time is money. The solution? Bringing specialists in accelerates the process, offers flexibility and shortens the time-to-market. 

3.  Focus on your business 

The key of outsourcing is simple: it allows your company to strongly focus on the core activities without unnecessary distractions. On top of that, it allows you to work faster, more cost efficient and it gives experienced creatives the possibility to make the best decisions for you. But nevertheless, decide on a regular basis what’s best for your business and implement a long-term vision. Outsourcing can be cost efficient for a while, but never forget your long-term plan. If the outsourced skills become indispensable, hiring in-house creatives might be worth more than anything else.

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