How to Win at Corporate/Startup Collaboration
The results are in: the connective tissue linking corporates and startups is stronger than ever before. Namely, over the past two years, there has been a plethora of new interactions emerging between the startup community and corporate innovation programs. Collaborative innovation is the engine for modern, agile businesses to develop, test, and scale new ideas and gain traction into new markets. It should be no surprise therefore that internally focused organizations face slower time-to- market, higher development costs, and loss of competitive position.
Business collaboration and co-creation can bring numerous benefits to both parties. But there are many hurdles on the road to a fruitful partnership. So how do organizations make successful partnerships work?
Before even choosing a company that you want to partner with, first clearly lay out a set of objectives that your organization wants to achieve. Set smart objectives that support the business goals. If the reason to form a partnership is because “everyone else is doing it”, you’ll want to rethink your objectives before taking a step forward.
Carefully choose the company you want to work with
Full disclaimer: while it might seem tempting at first to go with the first shiny startup that comes your way, this approach often times can set the stage for a failed partnership. Instead, make sure that there is alignment between both company’s products, services, and culture before signing on the dotted line.
Understand each partner’s needs and expectations
Because each organization’s expertise area and motivations are different, it is vital to understand each company’s reasons for seeking out a partnership. Whether it be for capital, expertise or connections, the ability to empathize and address each partner’s needs and expectations during the extent of the partnership is key.
Utilize the strengths of each partner
One of the most powerful reasons for collaboration is to work with a company that is strong where you are weak, and vice versa. You accomplish together what could not be done separately. Reciprocal abilities often lie at the heart of what we’ve discovered as true successful partnerships.
In today’s fast-evolving innovation economy, there is a growing realization that deeper collaboration leads to economic success for both sides. However, many organizations are still begging the questions: “which collaboration mechanisms have proved useful in enabling this collaboration?”, “what are the primary frustrations and roadblocks preventing better Startup-Corporate interactions?” and “how do early-stage corporate/startup partnerships work in practice?”
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Chris Townsend is Chief Marketing Officer at Imaginatik. He is passionate about ideation, innovation, organizational transformation, and building great teams and companies. Imaginatik is the pioneer of idea management software, and now the global leader in helping companies become deeply, permanently innovative. Follow @imaginatik