The process of innovation is a never-ending journey of learning. In today’s fast-paced business environment, leaders need innovative and effective ways to generate viable solutions to problems. Innovation can take many forms, such as products, services, business models, or strategies that offer new perspectives on addressing our business challenges. However, have you considered the benefits of approaching this process collaboratively?

The concept of open innovation emphasizes the need for collaborative solutions to global challenges. Berkeley’s Henry Chesbrough describes it as « a paradigm that assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market, as they look to advance their technology. » By embracing this approach, organizations can tap into the talent and innovative ideas of people from all over the world.

When looking for innovative ideas outside of a company, we may encounter the idea of “Corporate Venturing Squads” in the business world, catalyzing the adoption of open innovation. IESE Business School, our academic partner, has researched the power of these strategic alliances for several years. They define this concept as multi-partner strategic alliances formed by a small group of corporates joining forces to innovate with one or more startups.

The EU-LAC Digital Accelerator is one of the mechanisms for corporate venturing – corporates that seek innovation by partnering up with startups. Our multi-sided platform connects business opportunities from corporates to startups and innovative SMEs from Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

Recently, at IESE’s annual conference in Madrid, they presented a new research output on the topic called “Corporate Venturing Squads: Teaming Up with Other Corporations to Better Innovate with Startups”. The study explores the benefits of collaborating with other corporations to enhance innovation with startups. With the support of the EU-LAC Digital Accelerator and in collaboration with Kapita, IESE has identified a trend in corporate venturing: companies are joining forces, sometimes even with their competitors, to unlock innovation and yield fast breakthroughs.

The study analyses 50 corporate venturing squads comprising 340 squad members and 262 corporates across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Some of the corporations in this business strategy include Cemex Ventures, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Colgate, and Ericsson. The corporate venturing squads’ approach has yielded some benefits for them, such as improved access to startup deal flow (in terms of quantity and quality), strengthened network access, learning and sharing of best practices, improved credibility and visibility, and reduced risks and costs.

As starters or experienced businesses in the world of open innovation and corporate venturing squads, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the game’s rules and make well-informed decisions. We are grateful to IESE Business School for providing us with a framework that enables corporate venturing squads to work effectively and achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. This framework is integrated into our acceleration methodology. Keep an eye out for our upcoming article that delves into their results and the framework to understand this emerging trend.

You have access to the piece of research here!


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