Working Like a Startup is Not Equal to Working With a Startup


After working (in a corporation from traditional industry) with start-up scene for some years now, I have to say that lean start-up methodologies are great. Whether it is about lean and agile development, design thinking, UX, Business Model and Value Proposition Canvases, failing fast to succeed soon mindset or so, they for sure serve their purpose.

There is a lot that traditional corporations can learn from these and utilize in their own development, especially now that also more conservative industries are turning their heads towards digitalization and industrial internet. This is what many bigger companies are also doing within their digital journey: trying to turn the huge stage-gate vessel into iterative and agile Proof-of-Concept machine. Having said that, one has to note that also the stage-gate approach and linear development has its value especially in investment intensive fields.

Where startup mentality is very powerful tool in developing more radical innovations serving hidden needs of the customer, there is also vast amount of added value in improving the perceived user value with incremental innovations for existing assets. I would say that this is like maintaining and developing the backbone that is the enabler for transformational initiatives – one would not survive without the other.

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This is also where working like a startup and working with a start-up play a different, but vital, role in digital disruption. To be honest, big companies will not become lean and mean startups being able to develop those truly disruptive solutions. They even should not, at least as a whole, as they are good with streamlined stage-gate development serving the aforementioned backbone. The real beef is to work together with the startups in a manner that the competitive advantage and capabilities of both can form a win-win situation.

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