Win-win in the age of down-sizing and innovation

Posted December 13, 2016

We all read about the development towards cost-effectiveness and lay-offs that seems to haunt large companies throughout the western world. As large enterprises close their Research and Development units, possibilities open up for small start-ups, hubs and academia to come in with new solutions. Peter Alberius, Head of International Business Development, from Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) and Anette Orheim, Communications Director at Medicon Village, organised a workshop at The Bridge in June 2016. Together they aimed to discuss with others how big and small companies can facilitate their work together in a win-win fashion to speed up problem solving and innovation. Peter says that there are three visible key trends:

  1. The universities are becoming better in picking up ideas forming at these institutions. It is now more common with transdiciplinary work and Innovation centres at universities are also becoming better in commercialising the research-based ideas.
  2. The pressure to cut costs in big companies has lead to closing costly R&D-sections. This opens the opportunity for smaller companies to cooperate with large partners.
  3. There is a clear need for more radical innovations in large companies, and these can potentially be found in high-tech SMEs. Large companies know their markets quite well, and smaller enterprises generally may seek a market and a problem for their solution. To facilitate for large and small companies to find each other and work together, a supportive system is needed. In many cases, such institutions as RISE can step in and pair large corporations with smaller partners.

Diplomacy and trust is the glue to perfect partnership

Mistrust from small companies towards big entities now progresses towards respect and trusted growth and cooperation, with a clear focus on win-win. The groundwork for this respect has been laid for many years, making sure both parties see the benefit and joy of working together. Facilitators that pair different partners with each other are now becoming the glue that starts and holds partnerships together. They often have processes and tools at-the-ready that buffers and guaranties that companies find the right partners. This workshop was an inspiration to make sure that not only large companies seek their problem-solving partners, but also that start-ups and incubators are getting better in describing their new technologies.

Meetings are essential

As Peter Alberius stresses the need for building relations, Anette Orheim also points out that Medicon Village are experts in making meetings happen. Medicon Village is a science park located in the former AstraZeneca building in Lund. Here, life science companies and researchers share space and tools to make new ideas happen. Peter and Anette both agree that entrepreneurs must meet researchers and larger partners. It is all about creating the value all the way from idea to partnership and an innovative product.

Read more about RISE here (http://translucentinnovation.se/en/translucent-innovation-2/) and Medicon Village here (www.mediconvillage.se)