How can big corporations and startups work together?

Corporate innovation

For the past few years, we’ve seen some of the most disruptive startups shape entire industries with their innovative technologies and business models. You find companies like Uber and Airbnb, that took entire markets by storm to quickly implement their businesses and grow at an unsurmountable passe.

This growth and disruptive mindset has definitely shaken things up and for the well established companies, or the so-called big corporations, it has caused some skepticism and aversion in some cases.  

However, while some have chosen to swim against the current and look at these innovative new businesses as the ones to take down, others have brought their organisations closer to innovation and growth, by standing right next to these promising startups.

But the big question is: how can startups and corporates work together?

The main goal here should be to create partnerships where both sides can benefit. Like Giuseppe Zocco, co-founder of Index Ventures, puts it:

“Big companies are lately waking up to the fact that their industries are disrupted by the innovations led by startups. Instead of thinking ‘some incumbents are gonna lose, some startups are gonna win’, startups should be seen as potential partners. Partners to create more value for your company, more value for the consumer, and for the whole industry.”

Corporate companies can and should partner up with startups and there are many ways to make it happen. They can be a customer of the startup’s product, and let that solution improve efficiency within their own organisation and deliver a better experience, or they can create a partnership to provide a joint solution to their customers, for example.     

But, even though some corporate managers realise the importance and opportunity to work with startups, most of them don’t know where to start.

At Beta-innovation, our innovation team within Beta-i, we have taken the commitment to bring the startup and corporate world together. We have introduced many of the startup methodologies and tools to big companies such as Airbus, Fidelidade, Amorim and Deloitte.

How? By giving insightful workshops and talks, and by developing together with some of these companies vertical accelerators that are key to bring new ideas to their industries, such as Deloitte Digital Disruptors and Protechting by Fidelidade & Fosun.  

So, in the end, the truth is that most corporates now look at startups not as threats but as opportunities, and we’re keen to keep helping both by bringing them closer.

If you want to know more about this and make your organisation more innovative and willing to take risks, check out our first exclusive talk on innovation for big corporations, with Peter Cohan from Babson College and writer at Forbes and Inc, and Nesta, the UK organisation that will present in Lisbon their second report on how corporates and startups can collaborate (check the first report right here).


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