February 21

Gorillas Can Dance with Dr. Shameen Prashantham


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In today’s episode our guest, Dr. Shameen Prashantham, will talk about large corporates and startups, their differences, and also what makes it difficult for them to work together. We will also talk about the history lessons learned through Microsoft’s BizSpark.

Dr. Prashantham is a Professor of International Business & Strategy, and Associate Dean (MBA), at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai, China. In his new business book, Gorillas Can Dance explains one very successful strategy that has worked for leading corporations such as Microsoft and Unilever: partnering with start-ups. His book addresses the key issues facing corporations wishing to develop this initiative based on years of research and interviews with leading practitioners in this field. 

Key Takeaways:

  1. There will be still big companies that are very defensive and very difficult to penetrate. But in my research, I found a number of companies that have over time, developed more humility than they had in the past. And I think these are the ones to perhaps be talking to first. There’s a potential Win-win in the sense that they have the scale and the startups have the agility. (8:25)
  2. I think the reason why big companies have been talking to startups is the recognition that they need to up their game in terms of digitalization. The startups have something to offer going forward. And another driver I’m seeing now is sustainability. (20:25)
  3. It is conceivable that a startup that’s worked with a partner program could get on the radar of the big company and be a candidate for investment. (25:03)

To grab a copy of his book visit: https://www.amazon.com/Gorillas-Can-Dance-Corporations-Partnering/dp/1119823587

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