Corporates vs startups: an innovative solution

by Hudson

“Don’t fear disruption, be smart – harness it.”

This is the advice to corporates from Karen Lawson, CEO of Slingshot, on the best way to compete with tech startups.

Lawson was the guest speaker at a breakfast seminar that Hudson recently hosted in conjunction with the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI).

She spoke about the roles that corporations and startups play in a world where industries are continuously being disrupted.

With low barriers of entry to markets, competition can come from anywhere. It’s no longer the obvious competitors that pose a threat, but anyone with a disruptive idea. Think Under Armour in sport tech, or Paris-based BlaBlaCars disrupting transport with a rideshare service across Europe that has more than 30 million members.

Lawson explained that by getting behind a startup, corporates can tap into new investment opportunities and work with people with a ready-made innovation mindset.

Startups benefit from validation, access to resources and channels to scale fast by via corporates.

For example, Disney is not a name you’d associate with prosthetics, but they saw an opportunity by getting behind a startup called Open Bionics that makes Star Wars and Marvel-themed prosthetic hands for children amputees.

There’s also a Slingshot accelerator with NRMA which led to the insurance company investing in a caravan rental service, Camplify.

“Something we’d never have thought of in a million years”, NRMA President Kyle Loades told SMH.

Hudson is also embracing this philosophy by partnering with Slingshot’s HR Tech accelerator program alongside SEEK and UTS.

We cast the net wide by asking anyone with a disruptive idea in HR Tech to come forward. We also took entries from both within and without the organisation.

The startups and scaleups who were selected – including our own Innovation Manager, Viren Thakrar – are currently undergoing the 12-week accelerator program to develop their business ideas. Upon completion of the program, the startups and scaleups will present at “Demo Day” to a room full of potential investors, VC, media and industry experts.

Lawson is convinced that bringing corporates and startups together through accelerator programs like these can lead to faster innovation than they could achieve separately.

“I use the example of David and Goliath having tea together,” Lawson said. It’s an unlikely scenario, but just imagine, if the two parties can put away their differences and engage in a dialogue rather than a duel, who knows what could come of it?

It’s time to do away the thinking that corporates need to innovate to drive away smaller competition, but to ask, ‘How can we partner up so that everyone wins?”

Watch Karen Lawson’s presentation here.