In today’s volatile global market, it is quite challenging to sit back and enjoy stability, as rapid changes are increasingly part and parcel of doing business and being flexible and agile is essential to keep up with the flow. For companies these ever-changing business conditions mean both risks and opportunities, in terms of moving operations abroad, expanding the number of foreign subsidiaries, outsourcing activities, hiring global talent, diversifying and localizing products, and adding flexibility to their work culture. Naturally, individuals experience this volatility on their end when working in multicultural and/or virtual teams, taking up different assignment opportunities or engaging in technological upskilling. Moreover, this (relatively) borderless and interconnected global market, although at the expense of stability and security, has several important benefits for an individual employee. Indeed, many can choose from a large pool of global employers, relocate to where interesting opportunities emerge, or, as discussed in one of my older posts, become entrepreneurs with a global reach.
Yes, the volatile global market is full of risks, which, given the right mindset of flexibility, agility and innovation, translates into opportunity. That seems to be the mindset of startups.
Have you noticed the startup buzz all around? There are different startup events, startup hubs, and startuppers emerging far beyond Silicon Valley. And if you have ever taken Uber, listened to Spotify, or trasferred money abroad with Transferwise, you are part of this buzz.
Startups are all about solving problems and being innovative, they represent promise and growth, they are the ‘the upside of an interconnected world’. For me, startups seem to be yet another way to tap into globalization for individuals. According to a Global Risk Insight article, global economic risks have prompted a global startup boom among millennials. Young professionals consider startups as a viable career alternative, which makes much sense to me, given the need for global reach, flexibility and meaningfulness that many GenY individuals possess.
Naturally, there is much to gain from startups and startuppers. For example, India is one country, which backs the startup boom at the government level. According to an article from the World Economic Forum, the Indian government aims to turn India into “a nation of job creators instead of a nation of job seekers”. Another example comes from Chile, which taps into the startup buzz aiming to attract both domestic and foreign talents. Start-up Chile is a business accelerator program created by the Chilean Government with the idea of establishing a culture of innovation, technology and an entrepreneurship-focused economy. The lead is taken up also by small countries such as Estonia, which is currently looking at implementing New Visas and Permits to attract even more foreign startups to the country.
So, if individuals and governments see potential in startups, what about big corporations? Coming back to the volatile business environment multinationals have to operate in, the innovativeness, agility and flexibility of startups seem to be exactly the right ingredients. Drawing on the metaphor of David and Goliath, many argue that collaboration between corporations and startups can be a win-win situation. Like Goliath, large multinationals move slowly because of their size, whereas, like David, startups are quick to propose innovations and validate their ideas. Goliaths are in need of a startup mindset, while startups may benefit from investments, quality assurance and distribution provided by experienced corporations.
It seems that such win-win opportunities haven’t gone unnoticed. For example, there is the Samsung Accelerator program, Microsoft Ventures organization, The Google for Entrepreneurs program and the Coca-Cola Accelerator program. As a relevant article indicates, when collaborating with startups companies can experience tangible benefits of ‘an innovative new product, a market disruption or preventing a competitor from laying hands on the latest and greatest technologies’. What is even more important though is that working with startups can teach large corporations the startup mindset… maybe in today’s volatile global environment an outgoing, agile and innovative mindset is exactly what is necessary for ‘riding the waves’ of ever choppier waters?