15/09/2021 - 11:57

Corporate innovation is the key to driving ‘ecosystem thinking’ in Australia

15/09/2021 - 11:57


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Each year, we continue to see the strength of our startup ecosystem in Australia grow, and 2021 has been no exception to that. With big players like Canva, Atlassian and Afterpay creating a pathway for other entrepreneurs to follow, we’ve seen an increase in innovative ideas coming from our local hubs. However, there is still work to be done to move from ideation to inception, and full implementation. This is where corporate innovation comes in. 

In the book Corporate Venturing, authors Dado Van Peteghem and Omar Mohout discuss the ideas that will lead the next steps in corporate venturing, including how there needs to be a shift from competing on the level of business models to the level of ecosystems. This ecosystem thinking moves corporations from a take-over mindset to a partnership mindset, allowing for increased benefits and opportunities across the entire ecosystem.

Closer to home, major West Australian organisations RAC and Woodside understand the importance of corporate venturing to keep their service and product mix in touch with member and consumer demand. 

“Woodside approaches corporate venturing with a view to being a partner rather than taking over.” Rob Affleck, Innovation Engagement Manager at Woodside Energy shared. “We look for amazing founders, invest in them, and support them as they grow fantastic businesses. Supporting programs like Plus Eight is crucial in building the quality and depth of startups in the Western Australian ecosystem. As our local startup hubs grow in strength and diversity, Woodside is exploring new options for funding the opportunities we are seeing.”

Creating this strong collaboration between corporates and startups can act as a catalyst for economic growth, now and into the future, as we continue to keep up with the pace at which market, consumer and company behaviour has changed following COVID-19. With the collaborative nature of ecosystem thinking, both startups and corporations can respond even quicker to these changes by avoiding one-off investments and focusing on this partnership mindset.

In this, there is the opportunity for corporations to play a part in creating a healthy ecosystem of fast-growing companies that extends bidirectional benefits across our whole society. With the pandemic looming overhead, there’s still a sense of panic around the state of our economy and plenty to be done before we can go back to focusing on growth. However, what we should be doing is taking note of the ideas and trends evolving from the pandemic, and supporting the startups who are leading the way to create innovative solutions for our future.  

“Like any large organisation, RAC recognises that we are susceptible to disruption and to meet this challenge, we have developed a world-class innovation program of which our BetterLabs Venture Fund is a key plank.” RAC General Manager Strategic Innovation, James Edwards shares. “We understand we don’t have all the answers and by investing in and collaborating with innovative, founder-led WA start-ups, such as SpaceToCo and The Volte, we not only get access to high growth opportunities, we also get to explore new technologies and business models we otherwise would not have been exposed to.”

Woodside and Eastcourt joined BetterLabs, Mirvac, Hawaiian, Jackson McDonald, and DFK Gooding Partners earlier in the year as partners for Spacecubed’s 2021 Plus Eight accelerator program, and with this we’ve been able to champion a range of business leaders thanks to their ecosystem thinking.

“Each year the Plus Eight program attracts an incredibly high calibre of innovative founders, and 2021 has been no exception, with the bar continuing to raise in the program’s fifth year.” Kylie Gerrard, Plus Eight Program Lead shared. “As Program Lead, it is encouraging to see firsthand, the dividends for the startup ecosystem that come from the synergy created through corporate innovation from companies like Woodside and Betterlabs, as they partner with and invest in incredible startups.”

The Plus Eight partnership model invites corporations to position their organisation at the forefront of Australia’s innovation pipeline. They’re able to increase brand recognition and exposure to the startup ecosystem, build both a talent pipeline and investment portfolio with early access to Australia’s best startups, and provide investment security through a due diligence process, weekly monitoring and a four stage gates approach that allows us to maximise value to startups and investors.

Find out how Spacecubed can help your organisation stay ahead of competitors, create disruption in your industry, and access new and evolving technology as it’s being created by reaching out to us today (info@spacecubed.com


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