Big business and start-ups must collaborate more: Optus Business chief

Big business and start-ups must collaborate more: Optus Business chief

The future of the Australian economy depends on it, says John Paitaridis

John Paitaridis, managing director of Optus Business

John Paitaridis, managing director of Optus Business

The future stability of the Australian economy rests on successful collaborations being made between big established businesses and start-ups, says Optus Business managing director John Paitaridis.

Forging these mutually beneficial partnerships requires a ‘new mindset’, Paitaridis added, although the desire is there.

“There is much that digital start-ups and established organisations can – and want to – learn from one other,” Paitaridis said on the launch of Optus Business’ Smart Disruption report. “We know they want to. In a lot of cases they just don’t know how. There’s a need for organisations to embrace a new mindset of collaboration and partnership.”

In a world where technological advances were leading to ‘unprecedented disruption’ established companies needed to be agile and undergo a ‘process of continual self-disruption’, Paitaridis said. Start-ups had a lot to gain too, he added.

“Established organisations – they’ve got systems processes big customer bases and scale. That’s where they are at their best. Start-ups are more agile, they’ve got greater energy, they’re more innovative by nature and they’re also typically cloud first, digital first by orientation.

“They need to work together. Few can master innovation on their own. And there are strengths and weaknesses on both fronts. When you bring them together it can be quite complimentary and can generate a much stronger innovation culture.”

Optus has made a number of direct and indirect investments into the local start-up scene in recent years. Optus Business is ICT supplier for Sydney fintech hub Stone & Chalk, and, through parent company Singtel’s venture capital business innov8, the telco supports co-working spaces like Fishburners, and start-up accelerators including BlueChilli and Pollenizer.

“We need to do more,” said Paitaridis, “even Optus needs to do more in terms of the way we embrace the start-up community here. We’ve got to support our homegrown talent, our homegrown start-ups and organisations.”

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