The biblical battle pitting the small v’s the gigantean plays out in so many iterations in the modern economy.
From the up-and-coming startup disruptors taking market share from the incumbent corporates. The consumers taking back control of their rights from organisations who have ceased to value their privacy and patronage. To the lean and nimble tech companies that bring machine learning and other sophisticated tech to complete tasks faster, better and cheaper than their slow-moving traditional organisation competitors – sometimes smashing the status quo’s balance of power in a matter of years.
Yet it is time that the Climate Crisis requires a new narrative. One that brings both large and small together in collaboration not competition – and in so doing we can dramatically reduce emissions. By that I am talking about established global corporations working closely with up-and-coming startup tech companies to provide sustainability solutions to be adopted now. Not a tomorrow that keeps being pushed back while ego and red tape become the norm.
Having been involved in the startup and innovation sector for over 15 years things have come a long way. Startup founders used to be dismissed condescendingly as more hype than hero – and in many cases this was a fair assessment. Though with the huge influx of capital enabling startups to be better resourced, the advent of quicker and cheaper tech development timelines, a robust and growing playbook to achieve success and the reduction in scale barriers in part bought on by COVID levelling the global playing field – we are now in a new era.
Reassuringly some of the most dynamic corporations are working closely with the startup sector in what has become one of the best ways to conduct R&D in a rapidly changing world. There are numerous levels to this engagement:
1. Intention – By being visible in your innovation intent and areas of partnership being sought the various collisions in the startup ecosystem will be sure to throw up opportunities and as a minimum contribute to a positive narrative needed to keep climate focused employees.
2. Knowledge – By exposing your team and executives to the cutting edge of business models and innovations in your sector (together with typical lean startup methodologies) these employees are more inspired and educated for how a corporation might innovate.
3. Problem Statement Evolution – By being very clear on the problems your company needs to solve for, and even co-creating the solutions to these problems in synch with startup founders, sustainability goals can be reached.
4. Adoption – By buying in rather than building technologies yourself you can skip years of pain. Further enhanced by evolving the procurement and external tech onboarding process to have solutions up and running even faster without the pain on both the supplier and customer.
5. Scale – Working with well-funded startups with validated products will ensure that when your company wants to dramatically scale then there is sufficient capability to roll out across divisions and geographies.
At Greenhouse, our soon to be launched Climate Tech Hub in Sydney, in addition to these five areas of corporate / startup engagement we are planning to add an additional layer of collaboration – the Climate Tech Fellowship. Elected executives and junior staff of the company are assigned projects that help these climate tech companies scale and therefore reduce emissions ensuring larger organisations are doing their bit for climate-change and building a culture of both innovation and sustainability. The team members fast track their skills in a real-life environment that beats any classroom learning.
We are seeking collaborators in industries that follow the UN’s Six Sector solution for reducing emissions namely:
- Food & Agriculture
- Built Environment
- Land & Environment
A small group of brave executives from these emission producing industries have an unprecedented opportunity to act. Startups and scaleups in these industries equally have more to gain by working with industry heavy weights rather than trying to compete with them head on. How this new era of David and Goliath plays out will ultimately be up to the leaders and founders of these companies. And with time ticking on the need to accelerate technology adoption to solve the climate crisis it may just awaken a new era of collaboration beats competition.
I would love to hear your feedback and expressions of interest to join us on this journey.