Digital technology has made it much easier to develop, test and launch new products, lowering the barrier of entry for start-ups. There is a temptation for these early stage companies to collaborate with established companies to overcome market entry challenges and also for encumbents to see collaboration as a means to respond to market change – but does it work? Ferran Giones discusses his interest in this highly topical issue below and gives an overview of this area here.
Track chair: Ferran Giones, Assistant Professor in Technology Entrepreneurship, University of Southern Denmark. Connect with Ferran via LinkedIn.
What do you think are the most disruptive influences impacting developments in your track?
Established players (corporates) across most industries face a similar challenge; they need to find their digital strategy. This starts with engaging in a digital transformation journey to learn how to generate digital innovations. The collaboration with start-ups exploring applications/solutions based on digital technologies offers a potential short-cut in this journey.
While the knowledge or other assets related to digital technologies could be easy to acquire, the processes behind digital innovation are quite different in nature. See for example, how it is now difficult to set up a new cryptocurrency (based on blockchain), or to start producing your own sensors (IoT) to capture and analyse the data from your clients (cloud); but it is much difficult to find how to offer an app that makes equipment installers prefer to work with your products.
However, we know little on how to organize such collaborations. What are the consequences for corporates and start-ups, and how they differ depending on the types of digital technologies or innovations they co-develop?
Can you describe some recent findings in this area that are of interest to you personally?
I find particularly fascinating how the learnings that happen during the collaboration shape the next strategic moves of the corporate or start-up. For example, whether the collaboration makes the start-up switch to full commercialization approaches or to instead rely on licensing or offering services to other corporates. Similarly, to understand how the corporate can use the learnings to introduce new services or change the operating logics of some of their business units.
If someone was new to this topic what would you suggest they read to get a quick overview of the issues?
- Weiblen, T., Chesbrough, H.W. (2015) Engaging with startups to enhance corporate innovation. California Management Review, 57, 66–90. https://doi.org/10.1525/cmr.2015.57.2.66
- Moschner, S.L., Fink, A.A., Kurpjuweit, S., Wagner, S.M., Herstatt, C. (2019) Toward a better understanding of corporate accelerator models. Business Horizons, 62, 637–647. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2019.05.006
- Shankar, R.K., Shepherd, D.A. (2019) Accelerating strategic fit or venture emergence: Different paths adopted by corporate accelerators. Journal of Business Venturing, 34, 105886. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusvent.2018.06.004
- Kohler, T. (2016) Corporate accelerators: Building bridges between corporations and startups. Business Horizons, 59, 347–357. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2016.01.008
- Kim, J.Y. (Rose), Park, H.D. (2017) Two Faces of Early Corporate Venture Capital Funding: Promoting Innovation and Inhibiting IPOs. Strategy Science, 2, 161–175. https://doi.org/10.1287/stsc.2017.0032
Corporate and start-ups collaboration: Impact of digital technologies is one of the tracks at the 2021 R&D Management Conference being hosted by the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, from 7 – 8th July 2021- see more information here.