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Bridging the Corporate/Startup Divide

link to original storyFeb 16, 2017
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As the pace of technological innovation steps up a gear, corporations are being left behind. There are a multitude of reasons why corporates can’t emulate the agility of startups. However, we are entering a phase of industrial transformation where startups can’t grow without the support of corporate partners. This will create the opportunity for a symbiotic relationship that will benefit both parties.


... Corporate employees are simply not incentivised to take the necessary risks required to introduce new ideas. Innovation often involves cannibalising existing business models or simply cutting jobs. As the saying goes ‘Turkeys don’t vote for Christmas’ as internal barriers go up and change is hard to roll-out. There are also cultural issues where the innovation department or corporate venturing arm are simply not understood by the rest of the organisation. In many cases, stakeholders simply demand that the senior management sticks to the knitting and focuses on short-term incremental improvements. Large corporations even struggle to integrate innovation once they have acquired it externally, for example through a corporate venture.


Meanwhile, startup culture is almost diametrically opposite. Founders are incentivised to take risk and focus on creating disruptive growth from their teams. They can focus on solving problems without being encumbered by legacy issues. They run small highly tuned operations which are focused entirely on achieving results. It is striking how a company such as Airbnb has disrupted the hospitality sector or how Uber have come from nowhere to transform travel and transport. Corporate CEOs can only look with envy at how a team of 10 engineers can often out-gun their huge investment in R&D.

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