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With innovative startups popping up left, right and centre and disrupting the growth of existing corporations, large companies need to focus on improving and encouraging collaboration within the workplace as well as with their smaller startup peers to remain relevant and successful.

The WIRED2016 conference in London revealed many insights into how large corporations can tackle new issues involving collaboration and innovation. In particular, Narry Singh, global head of growth and strategy for Accenture Digital, expresses that “there is no one giant in the disruption space”. He explains that startups are the main hindrance to large corporate innovation. And while many corporations have naturally seen this disruption as small, targeted competition in the industry, Singh believes the solution to the disruption is actually collaboration (which is an important step towards success no matter how big or small a company is).

Singh believes that if large corporations have a fear of failure, startups have a fear of not succeeding. The difference between the two is what makes them so suited to work together to achieve something greater.

Competition vs Collaboration

Accenture research on the issue reveals that when corporations work together with the very startups they are in competition with, new ideas are put into action, both parties profit, more efficient processes are implemented and innovation is achieved in a way that it could not have been within a large corporation acting alone. We’re seeing more examples of this including General Motors, who have previously been criticised for being slow to adopt new technology. One of their solutions included investing in a self-driving tech startup, acquiring their technology and expertise, to be integrated into their original manufacturing process, and ensure they stay at the forefront of innovation.

However, even in today’s fast-paced business world, big corporations are slow to change traditional working practices and processes (technology firms might be the exception), making it hard to be innovative. Consumer focus naturally moves towards startups that have a passion for doing things differently and using the latest technology while large companies are ultimately left behind. Breathing a breath of fresh startup air is exactly what large corporations need.

So when Singh says “corporate innovation does not work”, he’s right. However, it can work if corporations change the way they think about startups; not as competition but as a new opportunity for profitable collaboration.

Transformation and Innovation

Instead of ignoring or challenging startups in the industry, corporate leaders should focus on investing in them and developing business ventures with them. This new kind of collaborative environment opens so many doors to both parties and the trend has become more popular in the past few years as the value of startups and new collaborative technology is fully realised.

Collaboration works best when innovative tools are incorporated into business processes, allowing enterprises to achieve more. Large corporations can learn a lot from the digital transformation trend, which startups are very successful at achieving. Most companies are going this way, but the change can be slow, especially for large corporations that are used to a certain way of doing things. This fear needs to be overcome, however, to reach better productivity, innovation and popularity in industry. Tools such as intranets, social feeds, live corporate news updates and online team workspaces can all be used to achieve innovation and workplace collaboration.

Some of our most popular features are the Social and Team Workspaces modules, and it’s no wonder since these are the kinds of tools that are essential to effectively implementing and managing digital workplace collaboration and innovation.

Digital Workplace Collaboration Team Workspaces Example


Team Workspaces enable members to seamlessly participate in conversations, be kept in the loop with news, share documents and interact with one another, regardless of location or device. Add personalised profile pages, a document list, calendar, news stream, RSS feeds or any Elcom module to build a collaborative environment unique to the needs of the group. 

This dedicated space ultimately allows them to work across departments to achieve goals and improve processes, regardless of geographical location. All of this within an all-in-one intranet platform could allow the partnership between a corporation and a startup to flourish into a very successful business venture.

As cross-company collaboration becomes more popular and relevant, the technology that allows it to be possible will continue to improve, allowing room for bigger and better ideas coming from startups and corporations alike.

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