Nurture Startups in your ecosystem to keep the competitive edge

Vodaphone devised a very smart approach to open innovation which will certainly reinforce their competitive edge. It’s called Startup bootcamp. The concept is the following: They invited early stage Startups to settle down in their Amsterdam HQ for the first critical months of their existence.

By the way, Vodaphone’s HQ is one of the coolest office environment I’ve ever seen. They have it all: the cool design, the cubicles replaced by stairs, canteen tables or the sunny terrace and even more importantly, the baby-foot table. If they cannot be innovative there, nobody will !

During these critical months, Vodaphone provides mentoring and other types of support. They even have a devoted studio / pitching room to help startups practice public VC funding speeches.

They nurture startups on site rather than letting them operate in the distant outside world. They open their technology to them. This is a very smart way to ensure startups will develop solutions that fit their ecosystem. Of course, it also provides the opportunity to be the first to benefit from it.

Integrating startups early on in their ecosystem would certainly make sense for many industries at the intersection of a physical medium and creative content (e.g TV, music, press, video and related equipment companies)

Is that not as well and idea to explore for other sectors? I can think about old fashion automotive companies. What if they invited startups that develop green chemicals, hybrid technologies or online apps to work from an onsite startup floor. What if Pharma groups could do the same with datamining startups?

And what about your industry?