Entrepreneurship as driver of the digital transformation

Established companies are more and more challenged by innovative digital startups that enter a market segment. Enabled by agile processes, maximum flexibility and flat hierarchies, startups react quickly to environmental changes and provide faster time-to-market when exploiting new technological trends. As a result, many established corporates seek collaboration with digital startups as part of their digital transformation strategy. For example, corporates start customer relationships with startups, buy shares of startup companies or even build up comprehensive digital lab, corporate incubation or corporate venturing programs. Good collaboration projects between startups and corporates create opportunities from which both parties profit. For instance, the corporate gains from the digital expertise of the startup, while the startup get access to venture capital and potential customers. In turn, corporate-startup collaboration involves risks and challenges. For instance, communication and work processes must be aligned to consider different working styles and cultures.

In this master thesis, the student shall investigate current strategies for corporate-startup collaboration, by using (innovative) research methods, such as social media analysis,  text analytics and qualitative interviews. The thesis is based on an emerging research stream on corporate startup collaboration and is carried out in cooperation with the Digital Hub münsterLAN. Possible research questions are:

  • What are success factors of corporate-startup collaboration?
  • Which strategies follow corporate incubation and venturing programs?
  • How differ working styles, employee skills and decision structures between corporates and startups?
  • How can public institutions foster the collaboration between startups and corporates?
  • Make vs. Plan. How can agile working through corporate-startup collaboration drive the digital transformation?