Closing the collaboration gap — How can large organisations become better partners?

Closing the collaboration gap — How can large organisations become better partners?

It’s no secret that established organisations are seeking out start-up partners — and the reasons why are manifold. Start-ups are often synonymous with speed and agility; they’re unencumbered with process and bring a fresh perspective to old problems.

Within the healthcare sector, start-ups are frequently driven by passion. Founders have often identified an unmet need and are completely committed to solving it. Marrying this with the expertise, connections and resources of a large organisation can be an incredibly productive combination.

And it’s not just corporates that value partnerships. According to research that RB conducted together with Startup Grind, over half (56%) of health/digital health start-up leaders would consider partnering with a corporate to develop their solution.

So why don’t we see more partnerships? One possible reason is that corporates don’t often ask start-up leaders what they want, and even if they do at the start of the relationship, this can get lost along the partnership journey. This isn’t necessarily driven by arrogance. I think large organisations are sometimes so eager to discuss how they can help, that they neglect to demonstrate one of the most desirable traits; the ability to listen.

Our partnership with Startup Grind has enabled us to do just this. We asked start-ups about their needs, wants and motivations so that we can understand how to be the best partner possible. In the spirit of collaboration, I’m sharing our key findings below:


Work to get to know your partner — really get to know them

The strongest relationships are built on mutual understanding, meaning that its worth getting to know each other’s motivations, concerns and goals fully before entering into a partnership.

Reassuringly, our research shows that health and digital health start-ups are highly motivated by the desire to improve lives. This is a top two motivation for 91% of those asked. While the majority of health organisations will share this, regardless of their size, it’s critical that corporates clearly communicate this to start-ups and all stakeholders.

The desire to create something new and innovative is also a key (top two) motivator for 44% of start-ups. Large organisations may have hugely successful product lines, but if they want to be a good innovation partner, they need to demonstrate equal commitment to the R&D that will deliver the next big thing.

Don’t assume the corporate stereotype

One of the biggest concerns for start-up leaders is around corporate culture. One in two (56%) would not enter into a partnership for fear of process, bureaucracy and lengthy decision-making slowing down their plans. For start-ups’, whose primary motivation is to improve people’s lives (91%), it’s easy to see how disheartening this could be.

However, a balance must be struck between speed and credibility. Corporates, such as RB, have built their reputations over decades and are not going to risk these by taking a product to market before it is ready and without due diligence in areas such as safety, regulatory and compliance. We fully understand that the process can be frustrating at times, but it’s well worth it in the long-term.

Identify what both parties can contribute

One area where start-ups appear are in need of support is with PR and marketing (39%). To me, this indicates that business leaders are confident in their propositions but lack the expertise in non-technical disciplines to transform these into marketable consumer health solutions.

On the other hand, a very real fear for start-ups considering partnership is that the concept they’ve nurtured since birth could be taken up by someone else and end up beyond their control. Nearly half (44%), are prevented from partnering due to concerns over IP ownership, while one in three (33%) are worried that they’d lose power as a decision maker. It’s only by working with start-ups on a bespoke basis and setting out clear parameters for the type of partnership, that corporates will be able to alleviate these fears whilst working in a way that is beneficial for both parties.

A positive future for partnerships

I’ve no doubt in my mind that partnerships are integral to the future of consumer healthcare. As consumer requirements evolve and multiply, we need to collaborate on a multi-disciplinary level to identify unmet needs and access the expertise and resources necessary to meet them. Building trust and understanding between start-ups and corporate partners will be fundamental to our success moving forward, and to help foster this we’re hosting our annual RB Innovation Hack at the Global Start-Up Grind Conference next week. The hack will bring together healthcare/healthtech start-ups together with RB’s R&D and Marketing teams, to ideate potential solutions to a health challenge. This will give RB a great opportunity to connect with potential new partners and gain insights into how we can better work with start-ups. Likewise, it will provide start-ups with an opportunity to experience working with RB and connect with senior business leaders to explore potential partnership opportunities.

Closing the collaboration gap — How can large organisations become better partners? was originally published in Startup Grind on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Jeremy Webb Startup Grind - Medium

No comments

Jeremy Webb

Chief & Adventurer

Jeremy WebbClosing the collaboration gap — How can large organisations become better partners?

Related Posts