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Open innovation can help large corporate companies to collaborate with startups and scaleups on new products and services, though forming these relationships is not a walk in the park.

Mind the Bridge, an innovation advisory firm active across Europe, helps corporates in identifying startups that fit their mission statement. It helps a corporate to design and develop its open innovation plans, first by scouting the best startups and then putting a plan in place.

“We are supporting large corporations around the globe from multiple industries in their open innovation efforts. We help them structure and execute an open innovation strategy,” Alberto Onetti, Chairman of Mind the Bridge, said.

Corporate Startup Stars Awards 2018

Over the years, Mind the Bridge has gathered much experience and first-hand knowledge on the best practices in collaborating with startups.

“We help corporates measure and track the outcomes of their open innovation activities by identifying the proper KPIs and moving from the concept of ‘return on investment’ to what we call ‘return on innovation’.”

Collaboration can take multiple forms whether it’s a pilot project to the test the waters, launching an accelerator, deploying capital from a corporate venture capital fund or making an acquisition. Some of the corporates that Mind the Bridge has worked with include Telefonica, ENI, Enel, BBVA, Orange, and CNH Industrial, while it engages with more than 5,000 startups per year.

Mind the Bridge is industry/sector agnostic, given that new technologies and business models are often transversal.

“We see that insurance companies are increasingly looking into the mobility sector. Oil and gas companies are looking into circular economy and decarbonisation solutions,” Onetti said. “Innovating outside its own core business is a widespread trend. Our ability to work globally across multiple industries gives us a competitive advantage.”

Mind the Bridge’s Corporate Startup Stars awards recognises the corporates that have adopted open innovation. Launched four years ago, the awards identify companies across multiple categories and regions that have worked with startups to boost their innovation agendas through investments, partnerships, acquisitions or accelerators.

“We wanted to find the corporates that are really innovating through startups because we believe there is real value in open innovation. The value is on both sides. For corporates, it’s an opportunity to innovate beyond the core, while for startups it’s the way to scale. It’s a win-win situation when done properly.”

Corporate Startup Stars Awards 2018

Corporates of all kinds are invited to apply, while startups can nominate their own partners for the awards, which will be judged by a top-notch committee of industry experts over the summer. The awards ceremony is scheduled to take place in Paris during the Scaleup Summit in December.

The awards also help Mind the Bridge further benchmark best practices in open innovation and identify new trends. Now, through a partnership with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which represent 45 million companies in 100 countries, the awards have a global remit.

“This year we decided it was time to go global,” Onetti said. “The award has always been open to corporates from all over the world but we were measuring the activities deployed in Europe. Now we are looking for corporates from all over the world and we’re looking for results from all over the world. In December we will really celebrate the Oscars of open innovation”

Applications for the Corporate Startup Stars are open now.