By Joe Scarboro, Founder, Touchpaper.
In June 2015 Nesta published Winning Together - a report looking at successful startup-corporate collaborations. After the launch event, during a discussion with Valerie Mocker (Principal Researcher for the report), I suggested that a kitemark might be a useful way for corporate organisations to signal to startups that they understand how these collaborations can work well. Although this was not something Nesta were in a position to do, it got me thinking as to how you might execute something like that, as there is clearly a growing demand for startups to work in partnership with corporate organisations and often a good deal of frustration in doing so.
With my background in both corporate organisations and in startups (and particularly startups that have worked with corporates), I had a particularly appropriate set of experience. Drawing from this in order to try to put something in place something to help scale startups and boost big business seemed like a good challenge to take up.
By the end of 2015, I had pulled together the beginnings of Touchpaper. I had support from some organisations who were to become the Founding Members of Touchpaper and the rough shape of what we were looking to achieve. There already existed a lot of advice and information on this topic, but it was spread across the internet in various blogs, studies and research. The idea was fairly simple, we made it our mission to collate, condense and then signpost the best of this information at a high enough level that it applies cross-industry, but with enough detail to be actionable and in concise enough chunks that it will get read and shared.
Over the course of 2016 and first half of 2017, I conducted countless interviews, read hundreds of articles and blogs and collated the best knowledge I could find on how to make startup-corporate relationships and collaborations run as smooth as possible. This was then drafted into the 5 papers each for corporates and startups and reviewed by the Founding Members before finalising.
These papers are the first step, with a view to evolving them over time to become the foundations of a standard for startup-corporate collaborations. We hope to do this in partnership with the community that forms around Touchpaper to ensure that we are always adding value and guidance where needed. It is our hope that once we have a robust standard, we should be able to make the original idea of the kitemark a reality.