The Sony Startup Acceleration Program is by far the most ambitious accelerator that we’ve been involved in. This autumn, twelve impressive startups from five different countries participate in SSAP. From Nobiz, we bring a large toolbox of innovation and design methods and teach the startups how to grow with limited resources. As we work closely with the teams, we learn new things all the time about their specific challenges, solutions and customers.
After coaching startups for many years at E.ON :agile as well as many internal teams within Sony, we’ve seen that different innovation methods work better for different types of startups. We usually teach hacks from Customer Development and Service Design, but there is no one-size-fits-all method to push a team forward.
We support the team behind SSAP in planning and managing the acceleration program. This includes recruitment, developing the curriculum and communicating what SSAP is about.
At the centre of an accelerator are the participating startups. How do you attract the best teams at the right phase of their development? How can you be sure they match the purpose of your accelerator? Be ready to set aside a lot of time for assessing, interviewing and selecting participants. Investing in your recruitment process is essential since you need to manually screen a lot of startups.
What should the startups learn while participating in your accelerator? Make sure your curriculum teaches the essential innovation methods and introduce the right tool at the right time. Startup advice is counterproductive without the right timing and we often see teams that try to scale too soon. We want to make sure all startups have a deep understanding of their customers before they consider scaling their sales efforts, team and funding.
An accelerator involves a lot of people, so solid communication is essential. At first, you need to let the world know what your accelerator is about and why startups should apply. When the program is up and running, you need to collaborate well with all teams and help them tell their stories. Make sure all the material you create, such as programs and posters look professional. We always enjoy design and communication challenges so we helped SSAP create the video above as well as their printed program and poster.