The collaboration between large corporations and small enterprises and start-ups: that’s the open-innovation paradigma. Anyway, sometimes the dialogue between two cultures and mindsets is quite difficult and they often come into conflict early in a relationship.
In a recent post, Stefan Lindegaard analyses the 7 key differences, the most common misunderstandings and the best attitudes to face them for a win-win collaboration.


Large corporations, with their abundance of silos and bureaucratic levels, often require considerable time to make decisions, while in smaller organizations decision-making can be fairly rapid. That causes frustration in smaller partners. At the same time, the people from the large corporation may be troubled by the constant pleas of the smaller partner to move faster. In order to avoid misunderstandings, partners should preliminarly agree a clear time schedule for go/ no go in any stages of the process.



How large and small companies feel about risk-taking can vary considerably. Particularly where the smaller company is a start-up or still in a fast-growth stage, the organization at all levels may wholly embrace risk because, at this point, the whole business is a risk. However, in a large corporation, people may be far more vested in keeping things as they’ve always been than they are in trying something new and potentially risky. Here again, this difference can lead to frustration on both sides when two such organizations engage in an open innovation partnership and clear preliminary agreements about the collaboration’s purpose are very important.



In a small company, resources, which can be scarce, are allocated based almost solely on whether they will boost the bottom line. This bottom line focus may not be so distinct in a larger corporation. That’s why small partners may perceive their bigger partners as spendth. However, on the contrary, the small company may not understand that even big companies have their limits. The result of such a relationship can be similar to problems that arise when two people with very different attitudes toward money and spending get married.



In a small company it is much more likely that everyone in the company understands how the company works. Larger corporations tend to be much more fractured, and thus the staff is less likely to understand the whole. Moreover, in big corporations, people feel responsible for only their portion, or sphere, of control., which is manifested in being able to influence decisions or budgets. These points can lead to frustration for smaller companies, which may sense a lack of passion among corporate employees  and a slowdown in decision making.



Many small companies don’t yet have defined processes in place to drive innovation forward. This is one of the areas where, in theory, partnering with a larger company can really benefit them. However, large comporations tend to be good at incremental innovation (smaller-scale product improvements or extensions) but not the same in radical, highly disruptive innovation, which is what small companies are often looking for.



Big companies preoccupy themselves with the rules. Small companies are more inclined to make up new rules. Large companies have always used their size and power to get things their way. This may cause an imbalance in the relationship which may discourage other small companies to start a collaboration with big companies.



There can be a real disconnect between the meaning of “innovation” between small and large companies. Some- perhaps most—large companies view innovation as a “super” product development team, something involving the R&D department. In contrast, at a start-up the “innovation” is their whole business, and developed wholly independently of the products and timelines of the large company.



IA is partner of NineSigma, worldwide leader in Open Innovation services.When starting an open innovation partnership, you need to find the right partners and clearly define the rules of the game. InfiniteArea helps enterprises in this process, thanks to the exclusive partnership with NineSigma, worldwide leader in matcheing companies looking for a fast and effective innovation of products and processes (seekers) with a wide network of over 2.5 mio experts able to find solutions (solvers).


IA Executive Program Business Opportunity Management is an interactive and experiential training program intended to learn a smart management of innovation, using SPEED methodology (Spot-Plan-Experiment-Execute-Disseminate). With Adriano La Vopa, expert of strategic innovation, technology transfer, innovation management and open innovation, and Marco Battistella, head of Innovation in InfiniteArea, starting in March 2019.


Web 3.0. Where are we?

Even if a definition itself of Web 3.0 is still missing, there are clear signals of convergence towards a new era…



InfiniteArea S.r.l. con sede in via San Gaetano, 113/A, a Montebelluna, 31044 (TV) in qualità di titolare del trattamento dei suoi dati personali (di seguito “Titolare”), rilascia la presente informativa all’Interessato nel rispetto della disciplina europea e italiana in materia di protezione dei dati personali. La presente informativa integra la policy di navigazione del sito web, allo scopo di illustrare all’Utente come il Titolare tratterà nello specifico i dati inseriti nel presente form di contatto: si invita pertanto a prendere visione della nostra privacy policy Finalità e base giuridica del trattamento Se si iscriverà al presente servizio, InfiniteArea S.r.l. tratterà i dati personali raccolti per inviare via e-mail la newsletter contenente informazioni sui propri prodotti o servizi, nonché promozioni o inviti ad eventi ai quali parteciperà. La base giuridica consiste nella necessità per la suddetta finalità. Periodo di conservazione dei dati Il Titolare tratterà i dati sino alla cessazione del servizio o all’eventuale richiesta di disiscrizione, se precedente. Natura del conferimento dei dati e conseguenze in caso di rifiuto Il conferimento dei dati è facoltativo, ma il rifiuto di comunicarli comporta l’impossibilità di iscriversi al presente servizio. Ambito di comunicazione dei dati e categorie di destinatari Il Titolare non diffonderà i dati, che saranno comunicati esclusivamente a figure interne autorizzate al trattamento in ragione delle rispettive mansioni, nonché a professionisti, società o altri terzi che svolgono attività in outsourcing e che sono quindi nominati responsabili del trattamento con apposito contratto o altro atto giuridico. Trasferimento dati verso un Paese terzo e/o un’organizzazione internazionale I dati personali non saranno oggetto di trasferimento né verso Paesi terzi non europei né verso organizzazioni internazionali. Diritti degli interessati L’Interessato ha il diritto di effettuare la disiscrizione dal presente servizio in qualsiasi momento e potrà altresì chiedere al Titolare di accedere ai propri dati personali e di rettificarli se inesatti, di cancellarli o limitarne il trattamento se ne ricorrono i presupposti, nonché di ottenerne la portabilità. Per esercitare i propri diritti, l’Interessato può utilizzare il modulo disponibile qui e inoltrarlo al Titolare al seguente recapito: L’Interessato ha anche il diritto di proporre reclamo all’autorità di controllo competente in materia, Garante per la protezione dei dati personali (