The Key to Innovation: Startup & Corporate Collaboration

The Key to Innovation: Startup & Corporate Collaboration

How can large corporates meet the demands of constant disruption and digital transformation?

How can start-ups mitigate a lack of tenure, long-term clients, and resources?

Critical infrastructure industries are changing with unprecedented speed. Corporate organisations who have traditionally led the way with operational excellence and solid commercial management are realising that in order to remain competitive, they must engage new, non-traditional stakeholders.

For RedEye, a Brisbane-born scale-up, collaboration with established corporates is the key to helping our industry clients on their innovation journey. Through our partnerships, we can access and address real-world problems for the mining, energy, water, and infrastructure industries, allowing us to design and build with the industries we serve.

But what’s the ROI of a corporate/start-up partnership, and how can you cultivate a mutually-beneficial relationship?

We’ve broken down the perks of collaborating for each party and our lessons learned on what works:



The Wins for Corporates


Flexibility and Agility

Established corporations are often weighed down by large investments in infrastructure and existing products and people. When they change, they change slowly, which limits their capacity to develop innovative technology for their customer base.

Start-ups are lean, agile, and constantly innovating. We’re free from the shackles of legacy obligations and “the way things are done around here”. We’re often smaller with less red tape. Corporates can leverage this agility to test and reinvent, collaborating on new technology for their clients quickly.


Access to Disruptive Technology

Will you be disrupted or create disruption? The pressure is on for large organisations to innovate and meet rapidly changing demands. Because change can be more complicated in established businesses, it’s imperative that corporates remain relevant through early-adoption. One way to ensure that you’re not left behind is to work with those who are forging the path – start-ups! Start-ups are leading the way in creating disruptive tech.


Talent Attraction

Talent is an incredibly undervalued asset. For corporates, attracting innovative, disruptive thinkers is essential to ensuring that they can generate their own disruption (rather than be disrupted by an external entity). Collaborating with a start-up solves this two-fold:

  • Innovative people are more likely to want to work for corporates that embrace new technology and innovative working methods.
  • Corporates gain direct access to the start-up talent who are disrupting their industry.



It’s easy to fall into a rhythm in an established organisation. In fact, rhythm, processes, and structure often generate success. However, the entrepreneurial and ambitious energy of start-ups is contagious! The fresh perspective and determination of a start-up can invigorate corporate partners to increase their pace. This also leads to…


Accelerated Decision-Making

Decisions in corporates can get bogged down by layers of management and red tape, requiring you to wade through copious meetings, reports, and hierarchical stakeholders to get sign-off. This process can be draining, roadblocking the innovation that corporates require to remain competitive.

Start-ups move quickly. With an idea, data, and funding, we can quickly get a solution in the hands of an end-user for testing. Ultimately, this speed and close collaboration with users creates significantly better user-experiences.



The Wins for Start-Ups


Channels to Scale

Access to the loyal client base of a large organisation can be invaluable to accelerating a start-up’s growth. When your biggest obstacle is getting a foot in the door, an introduction can go a long way. If meaningful introductions are made frequently and effectively, and produce tangible outcomes, this can be a game-changer.


Industry Expertise

Who knows how to succeed in an industry better than the organisations who have built it? While start-ups are full of spunk and spark, corporates can provide the insight to direct that energy strategically. Having trusted advisors to call on will save you time, resources, and a few wrong turns.


Access to Problems that Need Solving

Partnering with the right organisation will introduce you to a range of first-hand industry experts. Corporates develop a deep understanding of the key problems facing their industry and their clients, and are a great first point of call for what’s happening in the industry. In a partnership, start-ups can gain access to these unique problems and work closely with experts and end-users to solve them.



Creating a Win-Win:

A mutually beneficial and strategic collaboration is essential. To ensure success, both sides must demonstrate focus, discipline, and commitment. If the partnership is ineffective, start-ups have the most to lose, as they risk wasting time, money, and resources that aren’t as “make or break” in an established business. However, when established businesses and start-ups partner intelligently and create a robust, strategic plan for both sides, the entire industry benefits.


Here are our top tips to ensure an effective partnership:
  • Seek to learn and understand the culture, interests, expectations, and work ethic of the other.
  • To reduce risk, start-ups need to outline clear expectations of progress from their corporate counterparts.
  • Clarify communication channels, methods, and frequency.
  • Research and agree upon the most appropriate proven collaboration model for your situation.
  • Clearly define roles, responsibilities and desired outcomes.


Curious about what a partnership with RedEye Apps could do for your business? Learn more about our existing partnerships here and let’s connect! Contact our Partnerships Lead, Allison Anderson, at



The RedEye team caught up with Marek Kowalkiewicz (Professor & Chair in Digital Economy, QUT) and Adam Bonnifield (VP of Artificial Intelligence, Airbus) at Something Digital 2018 on how startups and larger organisations can innovate together. Watch below.


Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!