Driving successful collaboration projects with startups

Sarah Nichols, Plus X Partnerships Director, imparts her wisdom on how to drive successful collaboration projects between corporates and startups.

Until fifteen years ago, closed innovation was the gold standard for protecting proprietary information and beating out the competition. The foundations of closed innovation are built on an internal and centralised research and development model, where all ideas are produced, developed, created, commercialised, and implemented in-house. More recently, corporates are waking up to the tremendous potential in a more open and collaborative approach to innovation and working with startups. 

Open innovation unleashes an abundance of hidden opportunities:

  • Reduced costs
  • Accelerated time to market
  • Increased differentiation in the market
  • New revenue streams

In addition, having a strategy that effectively collaborates with startup talent brings diverse thinking, agile methodologies and access to a vast amount of talent, ideas, technology and expertise that would be impossible to source internally.  

Executing a successful collaboration project with a startup does not just rely on finding new ideas. Those are never in short supply. Finding success in a collaboration project is down to the fundamental building blocks that are needed to be able to take advantage of it: 

  1. Building an innovative culture within the organisation 
  2. Creating a strategy for what open innovation streams look like in the organisation 
  3. And having processes for ideas to be harnessed, tested, evaluated, launched, and scaled 

It sounds simple, but it’s a surprisingly difficult thing to execute well. As a result, many corporate innovation groups are looking for new ways to work with startups and entrepreneurs for ideas, solutions, and new technology. Still, there is no perfect model of engagement, but some are better than others.  

At Plus X, we believe in the power of collaboration. We want to help organisations collaborate with the world’s leading startups and scaleups to inspire their team, solve their innovation challenges and pioneer the future of their industry.  

Our newest programme, Better World Collective, is part of a new stream in the Plus X business offering: Corporate Innovation Services and Programmes. This unique programme aims to collaborate around the sustainable materials landscape and prove that we can get new and novel materials to scale with a corporate faster and more effectively.   

We fundamentally know the product development lifecycle intimately through running the UK’s leading hardware accelerator for the last six years at the Central Research Laboratory. So we know what it takes to take a conceptual idea and move that through every stage from prototyping, testing, iterations, validation, go-to-market integrations and scaling. 

Through Better World Collective, Plus X provides the platform, tools, resources, and expertise that corporates can tap into to integrate their sustainable material solution successfully.  

If you are a corporate looking to move the needle on your sustainability agenda or a startup seeking to fast-track and scale your innovation and are interested in leveraging the power of effective collaboration, contact our team about joining the Better World Collective.  


Find out how we can help you fast-track your journey to sustainable innovation and collaboration.


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