Corporate-StartUp Collaboration

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Corporate-StartUps Best Practices

Eliminating push backs, involving the business units' heads (BUs) of a corporation, having the right talents, and the identification of champions are some best practices for navigating the corporate-startup relationship and collaboration. For cohort and funnel type collaborations, both parties must ensure fit with partner goals, have proper boundary spanning, and make tweaks to established interfaces.

SEVEN CORPORATE-STARTUPS RELATIONSHIP AND COLLABORATION BEST PRACTICES

1. BUSINESS UNITS' INVOLVEMENT

  • A corporation's innovation business units (BUs), which depends on the collaboration of a startup to solve mission-specific use cases of the company, has to willingly enable effective and efficient communication between other departments of the corporation and the startup to successfully navigate the partnership, as per a report by Yahoo News.

2. ELIMINATING PUSH BACKS

  • To navigate the corporate-startup relationship and collaboration, business unit heads need to be made aware of the goals partnering with a startup would bring with details on how to achieve them. These efforts are to take care of psychological determinants that account for most internal resistance from the business units' heads of corporations, according to a report by e27.
  • As per the study by e27, the elimination of push backs is necessary because it addresses the fears of business units' heads fearing the possibility of losing their jobs, as well as taking care of those with significant pride in their experience, knowledge, and seniority.

3. HAVING THE RIGHT TALENTS

  • To navigate the corporate-startup collaboration and relationship, a corporation needs the right talents with necessary unique skill sets or previous experience and knowledge with startups to avoid significant costs educating employees instead of focusing on the creation of an innovative culture, as per Yahoo News' report.
  • According to Yahoo News' report, creating a culture of innovation for key employees of a corporation who needs to understand a partnering startup's DNA can be achieved via vehicles such as employing other startup founders, VCs, or employees from accelerators and incubators.

4. IDENTIFYING CHAMPIONS

  • As per a report by The Next Web, corporate-startup relationship and collaboration can only be navigated successfully if both parties add value to each other; thus, the partnering organizations would need to network to identify people in the 'other camp' with an infectious enthusiasm for the success of the collaboration.
  • The Next Web's report observed that champions must not necessarily be ultimate decision-makers, but need to have invaluable traits such as connections, credibility, motivation, and company intelligence.

DETAILS ON BOTH COHORT AND FUNNEL TYPE COLLABORATIONS

5. ENSURING FIT WITH PARTNER GOALS

  • To choose between a funnel and cohort in a corporate-startup relationship and collaboration, both parties must determine from the start how specific or diffused their partnering goals should be, according to a study by Harvard Business Review. Furthermore, as a startup partner's interface sophistication increases, a collaborating corporation would need to balance the benefits of funnels and cohorts, as per HBR's report, which observed that "a funnel-based interface might selectively add a cohort dimension."
  • As per a report by The Next Web, a corporate-startup relationship and collaboration have to be mutually beneficial with the two entities valuing and understanding each other's motivations and pain points.

6. INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL BOUNDARY SPANNING

  • Whether a cohort or funnel, a collaborating corporation's interface is only effective if it can seamlessly connect relevant line managers with quality external startups. However, upon creation of a connected interface, internal teams of a corporate entity have to bridge smoothly with startup entrepreneurs to enable the proper communication and activation of their differing strategic orientations, according to HBR's report.
  • The business units (BUs) of a corporation overseeing the innovation, which a startup collaboration aims to solve, must be committed to ensuring information between the company and the startup enables fruitful dialogue, as well as going on to make the relationship between both parties successful, according to a report by Yahoo News.

7. MAKING TWEAKS TO THE INTERFACE

  • For both funnel type or cohort collaboration and relationship, corporations seeking the best startups to partner with need to tweak their interface, as doing this is critical to a winning strategy, according to HBR's report. For example, corporations could broaden the scope of a cohort to involve startups in global locations as well as startup ideas from internal employees.
  • Corporations that have achieved success implementing this best practice include Microsoft that went from accepting only accelerators to also consider scale-ups, as well as SAP, which merged its Startup Focus program with SAP PartnerEdge to accommodate relevant startup partners of different types, according to the Harvard Business Review.

RESEARCH STRATEGY:

Our investigation for best practices navigating the corporate-startup relationship and collaboration yielded several reports with insights into the required information. So, to determine what practices for corporate-startup collaboration and relationship were 'best,' we prioritized info shared by reputable directories such as Harvard Business Review, The Inovo Group, Yahoo News, The Next Web, and others. Thus, the research revealed reports of a study of "leading innovation-focused executives" by Yahoo News, e27, and others, highlighting the best practices for corporate-startup relationship and collaborations. Hence, we took the best practices discussed in this study to the 'best' once because they appeared in over two reports identified from our investigation.

Furthermore, we located a study by the Harvard Business Review, which shared insights into corporate-startup relationship and collaboration with details on both cohort and funnel type collaborations. The practices discussed in the Harvard Business Review's report were also mentioned in reports by The Next Web, Rocket Space, and others; so, we took them to the best practices regarding both cohort and funnel type collaborations.

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