Cooperation: an opportunity for innovation

Basque organisations have a greater capacity for cooperation and for opening up to new sectors, disciplines and possibilities. Cooperation requires trust and effort. It is not always an easy road, but it takes us further, helping us achieve more ambitious goals.

SMEs account for 99% of the Basque business fabric. Most of them are small or even micro enterprises with the right measure of agility, flexibility, talent and openness to embark on ambitious collaborative projects. Likewise, big corporations are aware that start-ups and small organisations can be an interesting source of innovation, while the latter appreciate the former as driving forces in cooperation initiatives. Putting our capabilities together, we can minimise risk and uncertainty, and we can share results.

When we embark on cooperation, often we do not know our travel companions well enough, or we are uncertain of our destination. Mistrust and suspicion are not uncommon. However, it is from this kind of tightrope walking that innovation emerges, enabling us to strengthen our competitive position in existing market segments or to transform the environment where we operate. Building environments where we trust each other against the backdrop of a well-established culture of innovation that is open to exploration is the only way of producing genuinely collaborative innovations.

Some organisations are already going down this road in search of more powerful forms of innovation. They collaborate with different actors, even with those belonging to other organisations or sectors, implementing more open kinds of innovation. They rely on the evidence that this form of cooperation speeds up innovation and leads to highly competitive market positions.

“Putting our capabilities together, we can minimise risk and uncertainty, and we can share results.”

The increased capacity of innovation in other economies, the faster rate of technological change, the growing demand for new products and services, and the shorter lifespan of goods lead to the conclusion that no organisation, no matter how big it is, can face these challenges its own.

Alberto García Erauzkin, President of Innobasque

Innobasque has a thousand members. They are all committed to innovation: SMEs, big companies, knowledge institutions (universities, technology centres and others), public administrations and individuals. They represent the richness of Basque society. Together, they are building stimulating environments that welcome trust and confidence, where we can all tap our potential. A thousand members. A thousand capabilities. What about encouraging transversal collaboration? What about cementing public-private partnerships?

In addition to a well-established culture of innovation, formal and informal networks – both on-site and on-line, giving access to experts and potential partners or collaborators – are crucial to the success of cooperation, and yet often overlooked. Organisations like Innobasque facilitate connections between actors of various kinds and sectors – multi-actor, public-private connections. Dense, complex ecosystems like Basque society need these connections. They make the road to the unchartered territory of innovation look safer. This is really important, for it is a road we all must travel.