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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?

View the presentation made to the B20 Digital Economy Forum, Istanbul, Turkey on October 6, 2015.

View the presentation made to the G20 Young Entrepreneurs' Alliance Summit, Istanbul, Turkey on September 8, 2015.

Read the B20 Digital Economy Policy Paper launched at the B20 Digital Economy Forum on October 6, 2015, in Istanbul, Turkey

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.

Download the Digital Collaboration Index

Explore the Digital Collaboration Index Interactive Map

Download the Report [PDF, 1.4 MB]


What is the business and economic value of digital collaboration?

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.


Digital Collaboration Index Chart Digital Collaboration Index Chart

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?

Digital Innovation Chart Digital Innovation Chart

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

Revenue Growth Chart Revenue Growth Chart

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

Impact On GDP Growth Chart Impact On GDP Growth Chart

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.

Download The Index

Read More About Our Key Findings

Learn About Our Perspective

Key Findings

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.

Our Perspective

To say that the digital revolution is redefining the world is a vast understatement. Digital is redefining the way we consume products and services and the way we work and collaborate. It is also redefining our business models, the boundaries between industries and even our economic models. Yet, despite the progress of the last decade, significant challenges stand in the way of the digital economy. As the knowledge partner for the B20 Digital Economy conference, we urge the G20 to consider proactive, bold and comprehensive action to ensure that businesses and communities are prepared to drive growth and innovation in an increasingly digital and connected world.

Pierre Nanterme

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.


About the Research

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:

  • An online survey of 1,002 entrepreneurs and 1,020 executives at large companies
  • In depth interviews with 20 executives at companies and institutions
  • Analysis of the digital business and collaboration landscape in all G20 countries
  • Proprietary economic modelling to create the Digital Collaboration Index, based on the survey data

About Accenture, the B20 and the G20 YEA

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.