November 9, 2016

From ladders to escalators – tips for productive co-operation 2/2

Jan Ameri

Chief Innovation Officer, ArcticStartup

In my previous blog, I dealt with the basic principles of co-operation between start-ups and large companies. I also want to share a few concrete tips on how the co-operation can be made to bear fruit.

Start-up – to remember:

Understand the business of your counterpart, as well as their processes (e.g. procurement), and the needs of their customers. Decisions don’t necessarily happen as quickly as what you’re used to in the start-up world and there is more bureaucracy. You should prepare for these in advance, before the actual co-operation begins.

Also – larger companies often work with large companies, meaning that the processes take longer as a matter of necessity than in a firm of a few people. 

Large company, here are a few tips:

It would be good to have one executive who is in charge of co-operation. This person should have the mandate to do things and a direct reporting contact to the top management, whose support is of primary importance. In addition, the possibility of whether the contract and procurement model can be made lighter should be thought about.

Naturally, a budget is required for the work, as well as time and patience for results to be obtained. There must be a readiness to experiment, otherwise nothing can be learnt. In addition, the daring to make decisions quickly, and even take a little risk where it’s possible, is required. The best ideas don’t always come from within. Accepting that is important and requires an open mindset.

In putting the package together and managing it, outside help can certainly be used and it often is, but the responsibility for leading has to be with the large company, because normally it’s still the case that something new is being integrated in their existing systems.

Co-operation is built on striving for mutual benefit

Definition of objectives and definition of a common mindset is fantastically important. The benefit to both the large company and to the start-up must be clear. Even though one can’t always know exactly what the end result of the project will be, but that has to be accepted too.

There are programs and examples of successful co-operation. Therefore, it’s worth establishing how things have been done in them and perhaps take a few consulting lessons from someone who’s gone through the process. This should be done as early as possible in the process.

The easiest way to measure results is, of course, to look at how much more turnover has come from a given project, or e.g. how much money has been saved. But it’s also important to bear the bigger picture in mind, beyond mere monetary success.

Customised parameters (KPIs) must always be made for measurement and learning along the way, and changing them on the hoof must be possible because often something new arises, or surprising twists come up, that it wasn’t possible for either party to prepare for beforehand.

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Tieto is participating in Slush 2016 with aim to boost innovation and growth together with the vibrant startup ecosystem.

Our aim is to meet the best talent in the market and also grow out ecosystem of start-ups for mutual benefit. Our booth is situated in the Northern entrance, near the pitching stage – see you there!

Check out also our Tieto Data Incubator accelerator program! The program invites innovators, teams and startups to join forces in creating this data-driven future business!

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