Ep 7 – Startup and corporate: clashing cultures (podcast in FR)

You probably know the difference between startup and corporate culture: on the one hand, structure and regulation, on the other, agility and speed.

While these two systems may seem antagonistic, they would benefit from learning and being inspired by each other.

In this episode, Christophe Jouret, partner at Anaïs Digital explains how to mix the good sides of startups and corporates, to ensure the success of your digital projects.

You will learn: 

  • Why startups should be inspired by the corporate structure?
  • What are the techniques that corporations can borrow from startups to gain agility?
  • How these two cultures can adapt to the ever-changing digital world?


(03:11) “In startups, everyone does a little bit of everything, everyone is responsible for what they do and so it sometimes makes it hard to identify problems”;

(03:33) “Startups would benefit from time to time from being a little more structured and corporates from being a little more agile”;

(04:45) “Scalability means being able to grow. It’s not an area that startups and entrepreneurs are naturally most comfortable with” ;

(05:15) “Organizing exchanges and meetings between different project holders allows corporate cultures to mix and immerse themselves in each other.”

How can corporates and startups learn from each other’s culture?

1. Adopt an agile or planned organization?

Corporates opt for a clear, structured and hierarchical management of their digital projects. Startups are more agile, evolving and adapting quickly to changes. The way startups operate would be efficient for corporates because it would allow them to go faster and further for lower budgets.

2. Follow a structured or flexible project plan?

Corporates have a clear and efficient project governance: roles and tasks are systematically predefined. Startups, on the other hand, have a rather vague plan: everyone does what needs to be done and is responsible for it. This can make it difficult to identify problems. In the end, startups should be more structured and corporates more agile.

3. Planning a long-term vision and acting in the short term?

Corporations and startups evolve in a digital world where planning is compromised. On the one hand, corporates have a long-term vision, but must act in the short term. On the other hand, startups launch projects quickly without being able to anticipate their evolution.

Full transcript :

Hello Christophe Jouret, partner of Anais Digital and digital entrepreneur for twenty years. I’m here to share with you my experience and some anecdotes on how to succeed in digital projects and avoid the pitfalls.

Today, I’m going to talk to you about project culture and organizational culture, and in particular about a difference that can be found between the culture and the way of approaching digital projects within the corporate world or within start-ups, therefore small and very agile companies that evolve rapidly. And the idea that I want to share with you here is that there is something good to be found in both cultures and both approaches. And that perhaps in a certain number of cases, the corporates could learn from the culture, the practices, the approaches, the culture of the start-ups, and that, in the same sense, the start-ups would have an interest in basing themselves on certain elements of the culture, certain good practices of the corporate. And to be specific, I would say that what works extremely well in the corporate world is that you start from a page with a fairly clear starting point and generally you have a plan that is fairly well defined in terms of budget, in terms of planning, in terms of the scope of the project.

I would say that the approach is quite structured. Where we receive project leaders with more entrepreneurial profiles, we start with an idea, a concept, something fairly general that still needs to be translated into a plan, a scope, a budget. And I think that, at that level, the starting point of the corporate where things are clear and structured is a rather interesting element. At the same time, after this starting point and the definition of objectives, I think that the corporate or larger organizations would be well advised to take inspiration from the way in which start-ups operate, where sometimes the corporate lacks agility and remains a little stuck on its plan. The start-up is also extremely agile, maybe because it starts from a situation, it has no plan, no specific elements, but it is able to move, to change, to evolve quickly. And I think that in this second phase, from my experience, this agility of start-ups in terms of innovation is an approach that would certainly be very, very useful for larger organizations and in any case an approach that would allow them to go to market faster with their solutions for lower budgets.

In the same way, structuring the approach a bit more is something that would allow entrepreneurs to keep the focus and to evaluate, to objectify what works, what doesn’t work and how things, how the project should evolve.

To take another example, where I think that from experience I can see that the corporate world works quite well, is that the governance of projects is generally quite clear. We know in the project who does what, who has what responsibilities, whereas in start-ups, it’s sometimes more vague. Everyone does a little bit of everything, we don’t really know who is responsible for what, and that sometimes makes it more difficult to identify problems. To synthesize a bit, I would say that it’s finding the right balance between structure and being agile. Probably start-ups would benefit from time to time from being a little more structured and corporates a little more agile.

And that’s why at Anaïs, we’re also happy to be able to put people, project leaders, and the corporate world in contact with startups and vice versa, we’re really happy to be able to bring structure to startups, to help them with governance and to bring agility to the corporate world, to help them be more agile, more flexible and to move forward more quickly

The digital world is evolving extremely fast, what is true today will no longer be true in three months. And on the one hand, it is by nature a domain, a way of functioning in which the corporate must adapt and learn to adapt because we are less in a planning logic.

In the digital world, things move so fast that we have less of an opportunity to plan for two or three years. And so the job for us is always to try to explain to corporations to have a long-term vision and to act in the short term. And in the same way that things go fast, things grow fast too. And there, scalability, the fact of being able to grow, is not an area in which startups and entrepreneurs are naturally the most comfortable. They can be very strong in this part of conception, in this part of launching the project and once things are working when it has been well thought out, well conceived to be able to scale on this dimension, to grow. Probably start-ups have things to learn from the corporate world or from larger organizations.

In fact, the message here is simple: the more we manage to organize exchanges and meetings between project leaders from the world of large organizations and agile entrepreneurs or more. The cultures will be able to immerse themselves in each other and probably better. The projects will reach their goals.

Do you have a question about a digital or entrepreneurial project? Write to us at

Voix : Christophe Jouret

Production : Antidote.

Crédits : Anais Digital.

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