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Collaboration for Innovation as a Tool for Growth

How your Collaborations are Impacting How you Bring Innovation to the Market?

Innovation is for everyone and for every type of business, including startups. It’s impossible to say that because you are a startup or scaleup you have not time to innovate using the excuse that you are focused on surviving.  When you are a startup, you are making a change in a market, you are bringing something new to the industry and society. The entrepreneurship action is to drive transformation in the industry and create a new market which was not existing before. And this strong action has to be creative and innovative by nature because it’s the way you are creating something new, with a new way of doing business, with a new way of working, with a new way of making money and with a new way of bringing value. It’s your journey, it’s your learning and it’s your way of doing things, because if you are really doing innovation, everything has to be invented!

At the same time, innovation is an action that it’s not possible to do it alone, you need to collaborate with academics to understand some parts of your idea, technology or concept, or maybe you need to know who can produce your new product, so you have to be an active part of your industry and in the ecosystem you are in. Make connections and collaborate, this is the fastest and strongest you can go with your business and create growth. Collaboration for innovation means that you are making a change how the current factories are producing your new product, or you are making a change in how the companies work together, and this is innovation too. You are innovating in two levels, one because you innovate with your innovative solution, and two because in the process to innovate, you are innovating your whole value chain from practical to transformative.

Useful Tips for making a Collaboration for Innovation:

  • Identify all the goals for the collaboration
  • Accepting obstacles
  • Give the team permission to make mistakes
  • Do not place over-dimensional expectations on people or circumstances
  • Focus on the things you will be been able to accomplish
  • Collaboration is about motivation
  • Look for solutions instead of issues
  • Get into the mindset “we are together making a new product or service together”

Collaborate with your competitors? It’s a very personal decision to collaborate with your competitors, but also, it’s a very strategical decision to make in the company or project. Paypal and X merged together to become stronger in the market, or in research academics are collaborating together from the same field to get access to public grants by creating consortiums, or our platform Collabwith, we are partnering with other open innovation platforms to bring challenges from other platforms to our Marketplace of Challenges and Technology, in this way, we can bring an extra value to the members of our virtual innovation ecosystem. It’s clear that not every person leading an organization, or a project has this mindset of collaboration, and every collaboration starts with this open mindset, then it’s the structure needed to go to the next step of your business growth.

Another aspect to reflect is: How are your emotions are impacting your collaboration and how you bring innovation to the market? Emotions are information who are valuable for driving your startup, doing collaboration for innovation, and bringing impact to your customers. One of the secrets of innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration is how you deal with your emotions and how much you are skilled with Emotional Intelligence Skills. For example, emotional intelligence is helping you how you are dealing with frustration, how you are dealing with fear, how you are creating a psychological safety environment, how you can create a high performing team, how you deal with urgent vs priorities and how you build resilience for yourself, for your team and for your organization. All of this, it’s emotional intelligence and it’s the next dimension of success for you and your startup.

  • How are you feeling now?
  • How is your team feeling?
  • How can you manage your emotions to be able to work and collaborate?

Understanding your emotions as an information element is understanding how to deal between trust vs professionalism. Expanding your business is about doing business, which means being professional, trustful and kind with your customers but also it’s about making money to be able to scale, and this is when you know your worth and you ask for it. And in this process is where being emotional intelligent is key to operate successfully. Emotional intelligence is about how you deal with frustration, with motivation, with priorities, with difficult conversations and how much you are resilience.

On the professional and business side the secrets of a successful collaboration for innovation is about networking, making collaboration and innovate together.

  • It’s about strategy: You know the end result you want to achieve, and it’s directly connected to your big pictures business goals. Is it growing your profit? Adding a new revenue stream? Building your network and your presence in the ecosystem? Do you want to know about a specific market? Do you need a new partner for a grant? Are you looking for a consortium to join? Make sure this is crystal clear before you go.
  • It’s about having a mutual need:Both parties get significant value from the exchange. The right partner should have a similar values, objectives and you are matching offering and needs.
  • It’s a measurable benefit and impact: You not only know what goal you are aiming for, but you have the tools in place to evaluate success!

I like to use the definition of innovation as “Generating value from creativity”, the action after the idea is to generate value, and this is the action. The action is happening when you are feeling calm and content, because if you are feeling fear you are paralyzed, or you are procrastinating and avoiding action. This is one of the huge issues with Innovation Management, that the focus is mainly on the generating ideas and prototypes but there is a lack of action to bring them into the market. Innovation is when you bring the value, and the value is brought when your product is into the market and the industry and people are using this “new thing”. And for this you need collaboration to make innovation happen further and faster, and in the process, you will find different ways of business model and financing for your business growth.

Collabwith is an online community helping businesses connect with experts to solve innovation challenges and create consortiums. We do this through a custom-built environment where academics, startups and businesses collaborate to innovate and accelerate. Together we break down the barrier between academics and the business world. Innovation has never been so accessible.
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