Entrepreneurs and startups play an important role in driving economic growth and job creation. In a 2014 report for the G20 Young Entrepreneurs' Alliance, Accenture estimated that digital entrepreneurs could create 10 million youth jobs in the next five years. Yet despite the mythology that has built up around the disruptive power of startups, the overwhelming majority will need to leverage the market power and scale of larger, established enterprises if they are to be truly successful. For their part, large companies are feeling pressure to innovate and become more entrepreneurial, yet find their culture and structures getting in the way.
These two kinds of organizations—entrepreneurs/startups and large enterprises—need to combine their respective, distinctive capabilities and collaborate in new ways in the digital era. The question is: How?
The research behind this report gave life to a new Digital Collaboration Index, which further defines the business and economic value of digital collaboration—and how companies can successfully translate collaboration into innovation and revenue growth.
In our research report for the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance, we make the case for accelerating the shift from today’s bilateral collaboration. Our economic modeling suggests the more companies collaborate in their ecosystem, the more they innovate and grow their revenue.
We calculated the Digital Collaboration Index of economies and industrial sectors based on the expected impact of innovation on business performance and investment, the degree of collaboration companies wish to commit to, and the support they feel they get from governments and the broader ecosystem. We found a statistically significant correlation between collaboration, innovation and growth—among both large companies and startups—in all the G20 countries we analyzed.
The Digital Collaboration Index measures the effectiveness of an enterprise both in terms of the collaboration mindset present across a company and in terms of how successfully it translates collaboration into innovation and revenue growth. The Index considers survey-based metrics across three dimensions: digital innovation; digital collaboration between large companies and entrepreneurs; and the strength of the broader ecosystem.
How important will digital innovation be in improving your company’s overall business performance over the next three years?
According to our research, 97 percent of large companies and 76 percent of entrepreneurs believe that digital innovation is critical or important to their future performance.
Average revenue growth in 2014 of collaboration high performers vs rest of sample
Those performing in the top 20 percent according to the Digital Collaboration Index achieved higher levels of revenue growth. This was true for both large enterprises and startups/entrepreneurs.
Impact of Digital Collaboration on global GDP growth
A generalized increase in digital collaboration between G20 companies to reach high performance levels could raise global output by almost US$1.5 trillion, representing an uplift to current world GDP of 2.2 percent.
Explore our interactive map for key insights on the GDP growth impact of enhanced digital collaboration by country.
Click on the links bellow for additional information.
Our report discusses differences of intention, culture and trust that can inhibit more effective collaboration. It highlights the government measures needed to nurture more vibrant innovation ecosystems. And it explores how the greater use of digital platforms to collaborate can enable a stronger model of entrepreneurship and innovation. According to the exclusive Accenture research conducted for this report:
Large companies and entrepreneurs can better collaborate digitally, and work as equal partners, to drive growth and innovation in a connected world.
Chairman & CEO, Accenture
We argue that, to be successful in a world of digitally disrupted markets, large and small companies must break out of their current mindset—one focused primarily on corporate ventures and incubators/accelerators. These models have their place and are part of the mix, but the digital economy requires greater numbers of actors from multiple industry sectors as well as citizens and governments to jointly develop common solutions. We call this “ecosystem innovation,” an approach based on more connected entrepreneurship.
Our report recommends that large companies must not only set their sights on unchartered, open ended innovation, but proactively align their cultures to enable that more entrepreneurial ambition. They will have to establish or participate in platforms that bring together a broader range of partners, while accepting more ad hoc governance of the ecosystems these platforms enable. To assist, governments will be required to put in place incentives and regulation that reward large scale experimental models that tolerate a greater degree of risk and failure.
Accenture explored the views and attitudes of entrepreneurs and large companies relating to collaboration and innovation. The research, conducted in cooperation with the G20 Young Entrepreneurs' Alliance, comprised of the following:
Accenture is proud to be a knowledge partner of the B20 on its Small and Medium Enterprises and Entrepreneurship initiative, as well as on the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance. The B20 brings together business leaders from G20 economies, and advocates for critical issues for enterprises. They facilitate exchanges between business communities from different countries and develop consensuses around critical issues for businesses — linking global policymakers and business communities around the world. The G20 is the premier forum for global economic and financial cooperation that brings together the world's major advanced and emerging economies, representing around 85 percent of global GDP.