A Taxonomic Framework on Prevalent Collaborative Innovation Options between Corporations and Startups

Lukas Peter, Andrea Back, Tina Werro


Collaborative open innovation with technology startups is attracting considerable interest among large corporations around the world. Despite this practical relevance, an extensive and comparative analysis on collaborative open innovation options and its characteristics has not yet been a focus of research.

This paper characterizes and contrasts nine prevalent operational contexts in which large corporations engage in collaborative open innovation with tech startups to facilitate and benefit from innovation. Specifically, this paper proposes a taxonomic framework for corporate venture capital mergers & acquisitions, procurement, business incubators, corporate accelerators, corporate company builders, co-working spaces and startup platform programs and innovation labs. It then delimitates their characteristics based on a predefined set of traits (strategy, financing, startup target, structure, culture, resources, performance measurement and ecosystem-leverage). The study that forms the focus of this thesis involved conducting design science research following a literature review. The findings of this thesis provide a theoretical foundation for further studies and offers terminological clarifications for researchers as well as for innovation managers. Furthermore, it is anticipated that this research will form the basis for future research on the subject particularly in the validation and development of the framework’s general applicability.



Collaborative open innovation, corporate innovation, collaboration, startup, literature review, design science research


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