Startups Can Teach Corporations 6 Lessons

Startups Can Teach Corporations 6 Lessons

Despite their obvious differences, large corporations and startups attract each other. Startups are considered invaluable sources of innovation by 80% of corporations, according to Unilever.

Corporate giants choose agile startups due to their ability to improve efficiency. To find new perspectives on both existing and potential problems, business collaboration is a great way to solve problems in a scalable manner.

We will continue to work with startups because they keep us focused on the truly big problems, the ones that become transformational for a company to consider.”- Kiva Allgood, General Electric

Nevertheless, startups can teach big companies more than just how to build transformational technology. Apart from the above, traditional companies can also learn a great deal from startup culture. 


1. Continuous learning

Proactivity, ownership, and continuous learning are the keys to innovation and creative culture. Because startups offer employees a true, dynamic learning environment, a continuous learning culture is strong in startups.

The learning curve is often steep in corporations, which offer you the tools necessary to progress in the beginning, but don’t necessarily integrate continuous learning into daily operations.

PwC’s culture of continual learning is a great example of a successful corporate culture. To promote productivity and economic growth, it has introduced a program that emphasizes lifelong learning.

In addition to traditional learning, PwC offers e-learning and mobile learning to its employees. Additionally, PwC has a learning tool where employees can choose from a variety of types of training, such as watching videos, reading articles, using apps, etc. When it comes to corporate longevity and innovation, continuous learning can be used as a solution. 

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2. Rapid experimentation

Often, with limited resources, teams need to experiment quickly when there is high uncertainty. Because the stakes are high, it is riskier not to experiment than to fail. New opportunities must be sought to help startups grow, bringing more value to their customers and benefiting the entire business.

In experimentation, making improvements and testing assumptions fast is more important than coming up with big, disruptive ideas. To succeed, startups need to learn quickly and react quickly.

You can’t explore what’s possible without experiments and you can’t learn what works and what doesn’t. Experimentation is also intended to reduce perceived risk and uncertainty as well as to learn and react to changes.

In corporations, experimentation is hindered by obstacles. A dysfunctional team dynamic, a legal issue, or a team mindset preventing progress could all be contributing factors. Corporate business solutions involve identifying potential blockers and finding ways to solve them beforehand, just like startups do to overcome these obstacles.

To help people understand why tasks are done a certain way, it is important to set clear guidelines and involve them in corporate innovation processes.

Bezos says that Amazon’s success depends on how many experiments it performs each year, month, week, and day.

Experiments will mostly fail, especially at the beginning. Innovation requires failure, even though it is never ideal. It is only through learning from failure that we can move forward. You will get better results in the long run if you experiment with trial and error more often.

3. Company culture

Often, company culture is the biggest obstacle to growth and innovation. If the underlying culture isn’t conducive to creative thinking and new ideas, innovation can be hard to implement in large companies.

A common cultural issue among big businesses is when innovation doesn’t originate from within the organization and isn’t a part of everyday operations. People are also skeptical of outside ideas when they arrive at a company.

To protect the existing business from external ideas, this phenomenon is termed the ‘Not Invented Here’ effect. Negative consequences can occur when an organization rejects new ideas (whether they come from within or outside).

The culture of a company is often approached differently by startups. A key to innovation within startups is their ability to build a culture that lasts as they grow, hire people who share the same values, and not limit their flexibility with rigid structures.

Infographic] Why Company Culture Matters - Hppy


4. Role of networks and communities

The best talent is still needed, regardless of the new tools and techniques. Both corporations and startups struggle to find the right kind of talent.

Consequently, startups must build strong relationships to access talent that doesn’t exist in-house, and to do so, they must collaborate with communities and networks.

It is possible to gain great business collaboration opportunities and results by participating in different types of communities. Broadening a company’s reach can allow them to solve problems they wouldn’t be able to solve on their own if they only participated in the communities closest to them.

Corporate innovation hackathons are classic examples of corporate-startup collaboration. Corporations can recruit top talent and raise brand awareness through hackathons, which will promote developers and startups.

5. Growth mindset

Culture and continuous learning are closely related to this point, but a company’s innovative culture does not necessarily mean that its employees are growth-minded. Motivation and achievement are driven by a growth mindset. By working harder and smarter, people can improve at what they do through intrinsic motivation and underlying beliefs about their abilities.

The growth mindset is an important value for startups to cherish when it comes to innovation. Startups are heavily dependent on their team’s abilities to scale their business rapidly. Startups must have a growth mentality to find sustainable ways to work and grow.

The organic growth of a startup is particularly important in the beginning. Multiple roles may be held by the same employee at the same time. The development of multidimensional skill sets is therefore a benefit of working in a startup.

The startup culture can teach you how to develop this type of mentality. In big companies, people work hard and have many areas where they can improve. It is often less important for corporations to cultivate a growth mindset, as they tend to focus more on profitability and market share.

It is common for corporations to focus on improving employee retention and taking care of their workers. Creating an environment that values and encourages personal development and growth, however, is the key to achieving the best long-term results.

The motivation to continue working at their peak increases when employees see their efforts in personal growth are appreciated, and they realize that their efforts are moving them forward.

A motivating work environment sometimes requires changing our mindset from “this is how we’ve always done it” to “let’s achieve more”.

Importance of the Growth Mindset Development - projectcubicle


6. Information sharing and collaboration

New innovative business solutions are constantly being sought by startups to help them become better and faster. Utilizing the latest technology, startup employees collaborate and share their knowledge constantly.

Traditional, hierarchical companies often face different situations due to departmental barriers. In an organization, it is possible for people who are experts in their fields to become possessive of their specialist knowledge.

It can be harmful to maintain such a silo mentality for the long run as it reduces productivity, efficiency, and morale. It takes extra time to explain the same point over and over when the conversations are held behind closed doors.

Employee skills, knowledge, and productivity should also evolve and grow exponentially with technology.

As a result of their different perspectives, employees often come up with the best ideas. As people love to be heard and know that they are contributing, sharing new ideas and promoting collaboration without departmental barriers is highly recommended.

Keeping an “idea backlog” is one corporate solution for letting employees voice their opinions. In addition to idea management tools, there are also ideas management tools that can support the capture and development of tacit knowledge in your organization.

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