Co-Innovation: How can big & small businesses work together effectively?

businesses working together

There’s no denying that innovation is one of the key drivers for business success. It is a critical skill that brings with it a greateropportunity for problem-solving, increasing and sustaining market position and generating more profit. Innovation is especially important in the fast-moving digital landscape that businesses now reside.

Co-innovation is the collaboration between two or more partners to unite their technical, creative and marketing knowledge to achieve optimum success for their business, users andstakeholders

It is one way to truly achieve the highest targets, where big and small businessescan work in partnership, each boosting the other along. But how can a start-up business and a large corporation work in partnership to co-innovate effectively?

Improve products and services

The research and development of products and services can costa considerableamount of profit share. Larger businesses and organisationshave traditionally dominated the world of innovation as they have more access to the vital funds and resources required; however, this has caused an innovation vacuum. Large corporations have realisedthat they need the input of a more diverse set of skills to better advancethe products and services that they offer.

Define best practices

Co-innovation is about harnessing the best practices and ideas from both worlds of big and small businesses and implementing them within projects. By pooling resources and different skills sets, businesses can;

  • Expand creativity
  • Increase social impact
  • Reduce the costs of research and development
  • Increase the opportunity of creating successful products and services
  • Increasefinancial performance
  • Mitigate risk
  • Increase loyalty to the brand

Encourages business agility

Business agility is essential for creating a sustainable business model. Many smaller businesses now take advantage of coworking offices and the flexibility that this affords them. It can offer access to the same facilities that the larger businesseshave in their London office space, and the advances in technology allow greater connectivity and collaboration.

For big businessesto survive, they have to learn to adapt to the disruption that technology developments create.

Being able to respond to market changes and trends swiftly makes the partnership more responsive to external factors that are beyond their control. Organisationalagility allows the businesses to remain as market leaders in the face ofmarket movements. Their key strength is in being able to reprioritisein a rapidly changing business environment.

Redistributes the power

There has traditionally been a noticeable division between the biggerand smaller companies. Smaller businesses, based in startup office spaces,are nimbler and often prepared to creatively challenge the status quo with more customer-centricniche ideas. Big businessesare typically restrictedby their very defined core activities and the management multi-levels of management. Thishas led many big businesses to view startupsand small businesses as critical partners for their continual development and growth.


Co-innovation is a symbiotic relationship. Smaller businesses can identify the gaps of the larger businesses, create a solution and develop a scalable product that the largerbusinesscan adapt and develop.

About The Brew

The Brew has co-working spaces and private offices for teams from 1-100 people in Shoreditch, very close to Old Street underground station.

We offer free-to-use meeting rooms, a five-star member experience, regular business seminars, events and wellbeing sessions, a fantastic global network, membership benefits – and lots more!

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