Is your business ready to get involved with the start-up ecosystem?

The innovation conversation has finally matured from ‘why’ organisations need to innovate, to ‘how’ to embed innovation into the very fabric of your business to enable growth.

Simply tapping into ideas and resources within an organisation is not enough to respond to the forces that are tipping traditional business models and approaches upside-down.

Organisations both public and private are actively looking to connect with the start-up ecosystem to learn how they ‘do’ business, and equally importantly, how they plan to ‘disrupt’ business. They’re doing this by:

  • being start-ups customers;
  • corporate venture activities (hackathons, open innovation programs, alliances, acquisitions, partial investment in start-ups);
  • looking at the start-ups in their value chain to understand the disruptive forces that are going to knock them for six; and
  • getting involved in start-up communities to learn how they operate (i.e. safe to fail experimentation, leveraging ‘lean start-up’ principles in taking new concepts to market).

The real genius of most successful tech start-ups is less about their underlying technology and more about their bold mindset, risk-taking attitudes, customer-centric marketing and unique pricing models. In many cases, the ‘start-up way’ hits at the heart of existing successful business and operating models, so it’s really difficult for many organisations to take on board. This is especially evident where they turn existing operating principles on their head, or risk cannibalising successful business lines.

Business leaders must decide whether to ignore the major risk-taking start-ups and their business models today because it’s too hard and consequently be disrupted tomorrow; or be the disruptor yourself and control your business’s future.

There isn’t one specific way to tap into this space – the point is that you just have to be involved in a way that benefits all parties. Whether it’s through buying services from a start-up, running a corporate accelerator or hackathon program or simply investing in a start-up.

Whichever way you look at it, there’s definitely a win-win opportunity in these unprecedented levels of engagement between the big end of town and start-ups: we both have a lot to learn from each other.

Julian is currently working with Advance to run a rapid growth entrepreneur program
called elevate61.

Feature Image: © alphaspirit / 123RF Stock Photo


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