Startup / Corporate Collaboration

There’s a lot to learn from George Glackin.

George spent 35 years working with consumer goods giant Proctor and Gamble as leader of their innovation programs. George will be speaking at the next Startup Grind and it’s a chance for us to learn how corporations and startups interact in the relentless need to be nimble, innovative and disruptive.

Flywheel has a program called Open Runway which offers on-demand acceleration services for companies seeking to drive a culture of innovation. From our experience, the bigger the company, the more organization structures that are in place to maintain status quo. Resistance to change is based on historical behaviors that led to success in the first place. So there is an inevitable and natural friction when an innovation process is introduced.

Three Approaches

We see corporations taking three approaches to driving innovation:

They can internalize innovation processes and try to create the breathing room, budget and leadership for them to flourish. To do this they frequently need to unlearn conventional management practices and adopt design thinking and lean startup methods.

The second approach is a combination of internal and external interactions that include things like reverse pitches or sponsored innovation challenges.

The third approach is to invest in or acquire startups that are pioneering new value creation and disruption relevant to the corporation’s industry space.

The State of Corporate / Startup Collaboration

Mass Challenge recently publishes some real interesting research on the subject which you can find at:

Here’s a snippet to grab your interest and generate some questions to pose to George:

“Corporations and startups have begun working together in fundamentally new ways, with a focus on flexible, early-stage, openended partnerships. Early adopter corporations have been engaging with startups for many years, but behaviors are only now starting to change.

The trend towards early stage interactions is pivotal. Most corporations are well-versed in acquiring startups (once the startup has already built and proven its value to the acquirer); yet, times are changing. A growing proportion of corporations now also seek flexible upstream partnerships with startups, in which both sides take risk and share in the rewards.

….We see startup/corporate collaboration as long-term and highly significant. In what we anticipate becoming an annual study, we aim to shine a light on the key trends in this swiftly changing landscape and break down the misconceptions that hinder true startup/corporate collaboration.”