February 28, 2017

How to play a corporation-startup game?

Riina Virtanen

Marketing Manager, Tieto

Corporations are in a need to find new ways to speed up their clock-speed and take input from the startup world for innovation. Both sides have their own strengths. When corporations have resources, existent customer base, processes and industry knowledge, have startups fresh ideas, agility, will-power and growth-minded attitude.

So isn’t this something where both players can only win and how to play this corporation-startup game in Europe? Our Tieto Data Incubator team visited Barcelona’s incubators to share ideas around it.

Incubator co-operation to innovate under the sun of Barcelona

It’s not only about working together with startups. It’s also working together with other players in the ecosystems; customer, partners and other incubators. When we work together, we not only learn from each others but we can improve us and our support to startups to maximize customer value. This is also a way to see that no good idea is going to be wasted - to see that good ideas get best support and opportunities. That in mind we visited this month two top-notch incubators also in Barcelona - Incubio and Startupbootcamp

Startupbootcamp is a global family of industry-focused startup accelerators driving innovators and startups forward from all over the world. There is no one key to success, but their very intensive and structured program to go forward seems to work. Their success rate measured by companies still operating after their program is impressive. “It is not just teaching them but it is to find a way how to implement a business model canvas. Crucial is to truly implement what you learn during the program. You need to be ready to change the path if needed. It is about to shape and reform the idea. If it does not make sense you need to be ready to change - learn and implement.” says Angel Garcia, Founding Partner Lanta Digital Ventures and Startupbootcamp IoT-Data & Cybersecurity.

Another great example is Incubio, corporate venture incubator, operating in an very exciting space in old dog racing stadium Barcelona Greyhound Track which has been now reformed to arena for startups and innovation. As data-driven incubator they focus also on data - taking data and turning it to business and value. The methodology they use to help startups to grow and success has a flavour from lean startup and agile methodologies. It has been fine tuned and iterated during their 6 years operating time to a very well working process which have even flavour of gamification for their startups presented Simón Lee, Managing Partner and Chief Designer at Incubio, to us during our visit. Watch video greeting from Taneli Tikka, Head of Innovation at Tieto and Simón Lee, Managing Parter at Incubio.

Scale up your data-driven start-up with a corp-up

Corp-up term is seen to be used in "corporate" and "start-up" collaboration. Studies also support the view of benefits of corporation-startup co-operation. “From an innovation perspective, the ultimate objective is to validate promising initiatives and selectively scale them up in order to adapt or even renew the existing core business. Startups, alike, show a rising interest in collaborating with corporations, rather than only trying to evolve under the umbrella of primarily value-oriented VCs.”  The Age of Collaboration,  Match-Maker Ventures and Arthur D. 

In Tieto we launched own Tieto Data Incubator last autumn. As Tieto’s head of innovation Taneli Tikka says “Having an idea is one thing - harnessing it is quite another. Tieto Data Incubator’s focus is on data. In many cases, the data needed to achieve this transformation already exists, but the challenge for many businesses comes when they try to tap into this potential and turn it into real, exciting initiatives that can change the way we look at the world.There is an ocean of possibilities out there, but businesses need the right support and expertise to make the most of it, and this is where we at Tieto Data Incubator comes in.

What do startups get then? One example we have used in our vision is that you can imagine that your data is a formula car, and your business is the driver. If you’re skilled enough, you can do incredible things with it, getting it up to amazing speed and taking your company to the next level. But a car and driver on their own isn’t a racing team. You need support from a huge number of people - mechanics to get it up and running, logistics and engineering experts to build the parts and get them where they need to go, even caterers to make sure everyone’s well-fed and ready to perform. There an incubator can't drive the car for you, but we can make sure you’ve got everything you need to make it hit its top speed.

Data in the heart of innovation

The need to digitise your business and innovate with new technologies available is clear, but this is often easier said than done. It requires a major culture change and a deep understanding of every part of an organisation in order to be successful.

Clear is that no-one can do it alone. We need to do it together. Together with corporations, startups, accelerators, incubators, universities and other organisations.

It was pleasure to visit Barcelona. Big thanks to our wonderful hosts Simón Lee from Incubio, Angel Garcia from Startupbootcamp and Oscar Sala from Strands. Same also to our talented Tieto Data Incubator team: Taneli Tikka, Marc Salas Martínez and Fredrik Ring. 

If you have a data-driven idea or you would like to know more about Tieto Data Incubator visit tieto.com/incubator and get in touch.

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