A model for global innovation

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A model for global innovation
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We also have strong relationships with the government of Israel, and are working with 20 VCs and 200 startups in that country. In addition, we're making several investments in India, one of the fastest-growing economies and now a prime target for the VC community. Top-tier American VC firms like Sequoia and Matrix Partners have set up funds in India. We're also beginning to form relationships with VCs and startups in Russia, which IDC estimates will experience approximately 40% growth in its developer community by 2008.

We'll continue to leverage technology globally through the VC community. In the past year, we've seen a lot of technology in the consumer Internet and wireless areas, as well as in the search-engine and on-demand spheres. We're able to leverage the new entrepreneurs and their experiences based on their business models and staff expertise—not only on their technology.

Besides helping other businesses, our international relationships and our access to these innovations are working for us. We believe this approach to innovation can often give us a two-year start ahead of our competitors—and that's the best reason of all for stepping way outside the box.

Drew Clark is director of strategy at the IBM Venture Capital Group, which he co-founded.

Are you looking outside your organization for technological innovation? Tell us your experiences at optimizeletters@cmp.com.

CIOs who want to build partnerships with growing tech companies globally should develop associations with a few venture capitalists specializing in specific geographic areas. Here are some points to keep in mind.

Report through the strategy group

Consider having the new group report directly through corporate strategy. This allows for more exploration into new growth opportunities without the obligation to meet financial expectations.

Choose your partners wisely

Partner only with well-established venture capitalists with experience in the specific countries where CIOs are interested in making investments. These VCs spend their days tapping into the best technologies and business processes.

Employ local people

Having a local presence is critical when developing global partnerships. The best innovation comes from those who have the most need, so it's difficult to be successful in an endeavor like this if corporate representatives are only coming in to sign contracts and stay for short periods of time.

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