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Creating alliances in order to compete

Innovation and success are increasingly reliant on the ability to work collaboratively, and this is also true between start-ups and established companies

Work together to win (a potentially better and easier approach). This suggestion might seem prosaic and somewhat obvious, but looking at the facts, it is not actually something that can just be taken for granted. A matter of corporate parochialism, perhaps. Whatever it may be, the result is a kind of jealous possessiveness of our own things, a lack of ability to share and communicate what we are doing; maybe even a lack of interest in what other people are doing. In any case, the path of collaboration for common growth and development is still yet to be taken by many production organisations. But we have to try. And we should also read “La duplice alleanza. Aziende e startup per l’innovazione” (The dual alliance. Companies and start-ups for innovation) written by Marta Basso, one of the most popular voices in the millennial generation on the subject of work.

The book begins with a statement: on the one hand, business incubators and accelerators are growing and multiplying, while on the other, governments are seeking to create new areas of innovation; in addition to this, existing companies need to innovate and open a dialogue with new organisations. Caught in the midst of all this are young aspiring entrepreneurs and “old” businessmen, or at any rate, a workforce that is seeking employment, and which must grapple with technological innovation and the mechanisms of generational change.

So what do we do at this point? Marta Basso suggests that a process of collaboration between start-ups and companies is the most appropriate way forward, and the best means for promoting development. And this applies to our country too. Indeed, it appears that this is the hidden challenge that lies behind the fabric of the Italian economy, a challenge that has only begun to come to light in recent years. However, if we cannot resolve this issue, there is the risk that the majority of companies and skills will lose their relevance before the phenomenon can be stemmed. Which brings us to the “prescription” proposed by Marta Basso, explained in a short yet dense book. It begins with an analysis of the current situation between start-ups, companies, people and regions, and then moves on to look at a series of Italian case studies and the steps taken by various figures: investors, managers, entrepreneurs and directors of incubator companies. What emerges is a moving snapshot of a complex and challenging reality, which has many resources to deploy but which needs to be thoroughly understood.  And the approach is not only theoretical: indeed, around half of the book is dedicated to a methodology for collaboration (Seed up), which is both the result of experience and a combination of other working methods.

Marta Basso, who was CEO for a month as part of Adecco Group Italy’s One Month scheme in 2017, has written a book that should certainly be read carefully. It is not a management “bible”, and perhaps it will not make history with regard to the relations between companies and start-ups, but it does contain a number of positive challenges, as well as numerous passages providing a different perspective on a complex and constantly evolving issue. To be read from cover to cover.

 

La duplice alleanza. Aziende e startup per l’innovazione (The dual alliance. Companies and start-ups for innovation)
Marta Basso
Franco Angeli, 2019