There is a perception among executives at large companies that the main agenda for innovation is related solely to the startup environment and the acquisition of new technologies. Well, this understanding is not complete. Based on the principle of open innovation and the appropriate technique, organizations that want to truly innovate should establish strategic alliances with research centers, universities, suppliers, customers, and startups. The vision should be more broadened and with the proper understanding about ecosystems.

Besides the good innovation hubs spread throughout Brazil and the world, the relationship with business partners for innovation should start with a clear vision of the organization's strategic planning. In other words, what are the main success criteria, priority projects chosen by top leadership, and capacity for investment? From this analysis, business problems can be established, and their solution can be internal or external.

Usually, the search for partners and strategic alliances comes from the recognition of the lack of internal knowledge on various topics, such as the need for operational efficiency, data processing, customer journey design, cutting-edge research, new technologies, and new business models. In this case, strategic alliances are key to the organization's growth.

One of Brazil's most innovative companies understood these processes almost on the verge of financial bankruptcy. Due to numerous market changes, the credit crisis, and customers demanding new product solutions, the creation of an innovation strategy, deployed in a clear portfolio of projects and development of strategic alliances, was initiated. In a short period of time, more than five hundred memorandums of understanding were signed with important research centers, technology companies, and startups around the world, changing the level of growth of this organization.

This case, as well as many others observed by the Dom Cabral Foundation's (FDC) Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center, highlights a challenge. Not restricting innovation to the universe of startups is vital. There is a gigantic opportunity for the development of new products, processes, and disruptive technologies, as long as there is openness to the novelty, time to test new solutions, availability of resources and teams.

More important than this is the mismatch of these strategic alliances for short-term results. There is no doubt that building innovation projects with new knowledge and new revenue is vital. However, the creation of new markets requires time, availability, and a strategic vision beyond the usual. Therefore, good partnerships, a sense of learning, and the creation of new growth paths must be on the agenda of top executives and decision makers as a matter of urgency.

With this in mind, FDC, in partnership with Nova SBE, has structured the Inpulse program, discussing themes relevant to organizations of various sizes and sectors of the economy, in search of the appropriate analysis of scenarios, the economic environment, the relationship between large companies versus startups, and the adoption of appropriate methodologies for innovation practices. The program takes place in Lisbon, with senior lecturers from FDC and Nova SBE itself. 


This article was written by Rui Coutinho and Hugo Tadeu

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