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Ask an entrepreneur: The RELAY Way framework for innovation

Here at Relay, we are fortunate to have the brain trust of our “expert entrepreneurs” Ryan Droege, CEO and Co-Founder along with Spencer Barkoff, President and Co-Founder, to continuously move us forward. They know all about digital payments and the innermost workings of the logistics industry, but most importantly, they have a strong understanding of what makes a successful business, tenacious workforce, and how to innovate to meet the dynamic needs of the ever-changing market.

As we all collectively learned over the past year and a half, change is inevitable, which makes the ability to adapt to change and be innovative critical in every industry across all verticals. But, it is very easy for people and businesses to get set in old patterns, and familiar ways of doing things. The tried and true feels comfortable, even if it isn't always what is best. Case in point - the lumper payment process.

Starting from a focus on modernization and migrating outdated processes with more efficient and secure mobile transactions, Relay Payments is an electronic B2B payment network built for companies in the logistics industry -- from trucking companies, to brokers, to warehouses. Our founders realized that this space is underserved, so with a commitment to best in class customer service and transparent pricing, Relay Payments was created with the goal to transform the logistics industry to get rid of inefficient cash and check paper processes.

Ryan and Spencer created the RELAY Way framework for innovation, which breaks down the steps in the process of how to identify needs and make substantive change within your organization. It is a simple methodology that can get you moving towards adapting your business and embracing change.

A Framework For Innovation


Identifying and recognizing a problem can happen at any time or on any scale. Once you identify a potential problem, ask how this problem affects the business to create a hypothesis, or explanation of what is happening. As an example, Ryan and Spencer identified a problem with how payments were made in the logistics industry. Payments were somehow stuck in the 1970s using cash and checks while the industry at large had developed with the times.


Once you identify your problem, test out your hypothesis. Is there really a problem? What are your assumptions as to what is happening and why? Again, using the example of Relay, Ryan and Spencer spent thousands of hours with drivers and warehouse workers observing and measuring payments and based on that, they could form assumptions that could test if the hypothesis was correct. In Relay’s case, the assumptions to the hypothesis were that carriers wanted to get paid quickly and the payment method should be contactless and transparent.


Find out as much information as you can. Talk with everyone involved in the process, including customers, users, coworkers, and industry colleagues to validate or invalidate your assumptions. Are you right about the problem you have identified? Is it something that is an issue that needs to be addressed? The founders of Relay spoke with hundreds of brokers, carriers, owner operators, and company drivers to learn how paying with cash and checks affected daily operations. That way, they tested and validated that the industry was more than ready for payment modernization with instant, digital lumper payments.


In this step in the process, you will need to dream big. What is your business goal? What do you want your business to be? Who do you want to be? Set a goal to solve the problem that will take you to that next level of where you want to go. In Relay’s trajectory, this step involved looking at the industry and determining what goals would set Relay apart from the competition. This included aiming for best-in-class modern technology, with top-tier, US based 24/7 customer support, and transparent and fair pricing.

(Empower) You

To develop a strong solution, it is important to understand that innovation and change can come from anywhere. Everyone has the ability to innovate, so this can come from anyone in the business. Cast a wide net for solutions and ideas to harness the creative power of your company. For Relay Payments, we intentionally develop meaningful collaborations whether it is recruiting the best team members, working in-depth with customers to find the right integrational solution, or engaging industry experts to develop the next innovation leap in the logistics industry.

Want to make change in your organization and try the RELAY Way? Connect with our founders for a 30 minute consultation -- generously offered at no charge for business leaders and workers in the logistics industry. As Ryan and Spencer are well-versed in identifying and addressing business needs, as well as innovating for change. Discuss your business goals and challenges with them to learn their input so you can innovate, too. To set up a consultation, please send an email to

For Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) members, check out the recent virtual TIA Lunch and Learn Thinking Savvy How An Entrepreneurial Mindset Helps Conquer Change, hosted by the trusted voice of the third-party logistics industry, TIA. In this webinar, Ryan and Spencer spoke with Anthony Mascarenhas, TIA Education Specialist, about Relay Payments and their framework for innovation, the RELAY Way, and answered audience questions.