Actually, whether you are a startup or a corporate brand, innovation is essentially the same thing- the profitable implementation of creative ideas.

That’s a simplistic, but none the less appropriate, definition. However, there are 2 terms which leave room for confusion here- creativity and profitability.

Creativity is not the same as innovation- after all you can be very creative without innovating in any sense of the word- but innovation cannot exist without creativity, with creative processes such as idea generation being a vital element of it.

Likewise profitability, can be misunderstood as an entirely financial outcome- but not all innovations lead directly to an increased profit, and an exclusively financial perspective can stand in the way of meaningful innovation.

With this in mind, the case is that valuable innovation in both startups and big businesses will deliver cost-saving or money-making benefits, regardless of whether this was their initial intention. For example, a new way of rewarding staff might not seem to hold any direct financial benefit, but given time, common sense would say that it may increase profits and therefore prove to be a valuable innovation.


When it comes to agility, startups have an edge over large corporations – whereas large corporations sit on resources which startups can only dream of. The combination of entrepreneurial activity with corporate ability seems like a perfect match, but can be elusive to achieve.Prominent examples are used to inductively derive a set of four models commonly used to engage with startups and to describe their characteristics, challenges, and rationales.

While corporate equity is the key mechanism behind more established models, newer approaches replace equity with shared technology to connect both worlds with fewer organizational costs and greater speed and agility. We construct a typology of corporate mechanisms to engage with startups that balance speed and agility against control and strategic direction, to map the ways companies can bridge the gap between themselves and the startup world.