3 key success factors for corporate-startup collaboration

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Since the introduction of open innovation developed by Chestbrough, many corporations have been adopting open innovation strategies to improve their innovation process efficiency by leveraging external talent. Startups and corporates bring each other immense opportunities through collaborations that, if harnessed correctly, create win–win situations for both parties.


However, successfully implementing open innovation is not easy. There are certain conditions to ensure a smooth start to a corporate-startup collaboration journey. Companies may face multiple hurdles prior to engaging with startups which would set you back from an innovation project. In this article, we’ll share the 3 key dimensions to a successful startup-corporate engagement program. Can you check all the boxes? Take a read and you’ll find out.



Read more: 

1. 5 steps to successful corporate-startup engagement

2. The challenges of collaboration between startups and big companies

1. Agile company culture

“Do you have a culture that fosters agility, openness and collaboration to work in the ecosystem?”


Compared to corporations, startups act much faster, are digital and ready to adapt to the adversities that may arise. The ability to cultivate an agile culture within your corporations plays an important role on its readiness level to work with startups. For corporations, organisational culture is shaped mostly by how management acts, so make sure the top leadership embodies an agile mindset that acknowledges the importance of co-creation with all of the stakeholders in the startup ecosystem.


Read more: 10 startup habits that every major group should adopt



2. Budget and Resources

“Do you have enough support from the C-level and sufficient budget and resources to launch startup engagement programs?”


Innovation is not a one-time effort. To make an entrepreneurial mindset an integral part of the organization, leaders from the C-suite down must actively reinforce innovation as a key corporate strategy. This can be achieved through planning on a long term roadmap and consistently supporting innovation efforts and ideas.


An obvious but recurring standard problem could be, that a corporate is not willing to invest enough in the following human and financial resources in a certain startup program. Naturally, this will not enable this program to deliver the strategic goals set by management. To avoid this recurring problem, it is important that the management acknowledges the importance of the following operational dimensions:


  • Implementation Effort
  • Financial Engagement
  • The level of integration


3. Dynamic People that ignite passion

“Do you have the right people? People who are passionate about innovation development or have experience working in the startup ecosystem before?”


To achieve value-add engagement and meaningful relationships with startups, it is important that the innovation department of your organization comprises talents who are experienced in generating insights and co-developing new products and solutions in the startup ecosystem. They are people who acknowledge the importance of corporate-startup engagement and strongly believe in the mission and vision behind the innovation initiatives of the organization or the industry.



It is essential for organisations to meet evolving market and business demands to stay competitive. Often organisations will collaborate with startups, students, external talents to source new ideas and ground breaking opportunities.


Before you collaborate with a startup, there are some key elements that you need to consider before starting. These elements may make or break your potential innovation collaboration with external stakeholders. If you’ve checked all the boxes, you are ready to go! 


Download the full version of our whitepaper to learn more about the 3 key factors to address before starting your corporate-startup collaboration:

3 key factors to address before starting your corporate-startup collaboration

                   Download a complimentary copy to find out:

  • The importance of shaping an agile culture in your company 
  • The 3 key operational dimensions of budget and resources 
  • The right types of people and combination in your innovation department

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