Startups exist to be disruptive. Refusing to operate within the usual hierarchies, they relentlessly push for new ideas and tirelessly endeavour to succeed. Startups are used to working in a fast-paced and ever-changing landscape and constantly work to react and adapt to these changes. Working with startups can bring in fresh perspectives and allows corporates to explore new ideas in a more efficient and creative way, without risking the flagship.
So, where can collaboration between startups and corporates begin? And why would a recognised, successful business look to a young company for inspiration? Putting it simply, it’s all about attitude.
Startup partnerships push hierarchical and traditional corporates out of their comfort zone. Corporate collaboration with small businesses inspires a more lively and innovative culture among large companies that may be used to working within long-established processes. Partnering with small businesses helps to break up patterns, prevents potential stagnation, and allows for more ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking.
These collaborations can inject a new lease of life into corporates. Whilst big businesses may have found a formula that works for their company, they can risk being left behind if they get too stuck in their ways. Big businesses can get tied bureaucracy, stifling new ideas and slowing down necessary progress.
But it’s not just the corporates who will feel the benefits. A study by Mckinsey found that 75% of startups viewed corporate partnerships as very important in today’s market. The exchange is mutually beneficial; mentorship and financial support provided through corporate collaboration enable startups to explore their ideas quickly, with less risk and reduced costs. As well, new technologies and solutions can have the opportunity to scaleup.
Corporates investing in startups also creates real, tangible, and long-lasting social impact. It’s no longer enough for corporates to invest in light-touch philanthropy, and box-ticking CSR only created to generate positive PR. Today’s consumers are well-versed in spotting greenwashing.
Investing in startups also saves time in idea generation. By finding startups with established ideas and solutions that tackle the sector’s challenges, corporates can embed these innovations into their operations faster and with lower costs than if they’d had to generate these alone. This allows businesses to get ahead of their competitors and gives access to solutions that are may be completely new to the sector.
Collaboration with startups can help to stabilise and manage the markets during turbulent times. When the pandemic hit, Pfzier turned to the German startup BioNTech to collaborate on a vaccine. Pfzier had the expertise and mass, while BioNTech had the technology. This saw them have the means to manufacture the vaccine to global proportions, with the startup agility to turn around the vaccine in record time.
Corporate collaboration and investing in startup partnerships brings about change. These partnerships can make the world a better place, and is becoming crucial to the longevity and success of both parties.
The team of corporate innovation experts at Plus X can help deliver your innovation strategy, connect you with the innovators and startups with the technologies to address your challenges, help train your team to think with an innovative mindset, and engrain innovation further into your business.
Contact us today to explore where we can help you on your innovation journey.