Open Innovation and corporate collaboration facilitation
: an exploration of collaboration facilitators that enable corporate-freelancer, corporate-startup, or corporate-company partnerships, with a benchmarking study of collaborative corporate-startup programs

  • Markus Tobias Knobloch (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Open innovation (OI) has become a widely recognized way to capture external sources of innovation. This thesis explores different kinds of OI offers on the market and identifies the companies offering these services worldwide. The categories of Corporate-Startup, Corporate Freelancer, and Corporate-SME partnerships are then further analyzed. The results are findings showing the building blocks of outstanding OI programs to facilitate corporate and startup collaboration. Using success factors from both industry and academic literature reveals that programs are most effective if they include multiple corporations at once, specialize in specific verticals and use mature startups. Further, programs should focus on educating both parties on successful collaboration, securing acceptance and support from the corporate´s top management, and include sufficient time for pilot development while featuring both in-person and digital elements. In addition, it is best practice not to require startups to join in exchange for equity, but rather offering possible investments during the program. These insights are then used in a benchmarking analysis to evaluate the identified companies with a scoring system. In comparison to its competitors, Lisbon based OI expert Beta-i scores the highest followed by The Bakery and Tech Founders. Nevertheless, implications and recommendations for Beta-i to improve their program are provided. In the Corporate-SME, as well as the Corporate-Freelancer category, companies are identified and their respective selling propositions are pointed out. Due to way in which value is added in these categories, a strategic fit for Beta-i does not appear obvious.
Date of Award15 Oct 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorRute Xavier (Supervisor)


  • Mestrado em Gestão e Administração de Empresas

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