An international survey has found that while most family-owned businesses view ecosystems as an opportunity for growth, a number of more-insular behaviours persist even among some organisations whose leaders view themselves as more open to collaboration.
A new global study from Deloitte shows that 89% of the 575 survey respondents from 52 countries worldwide agreed that business ecosystems enabled their organisation to innovate beyond its individual capabilities.
Yet when asked about their actual participation in innovation projects, more than half (53%) said that they rarely or never partnered with other organisations during the past three years, pointing to a lingering reluctance among at least some family-owned businesses to engage with external parties.
Further, 32% of the respondents said that their businesses would only work on new services and/or products with organisations with which they already had a long-standing relationship.
"We have observed a lingering reluctance among some Irish businesses to engage with partnership arrangements with other organisations," said Daniel Murray, Deloitte Private Markets Leader.
"Nevertheless Irish family businesses appear more willing than their international peers to partner with others on innovation. "
"They are also more amenable to working with organisations with whom they do not have a current relationship."
Acquisitions were the most frequent type of business combination that respondents undertook over the last three years.
When asked why they pursued business combinations, 30 percent of respondents cited “access to innovation” as a driver, making it the third-most-frequent reason given for undertaking a business combination.
"Interestingly we know that Irish companies are considering acquisitions primarily as the means to enter new geographical markets," said Niall Glynn, Lead Partner for Deloitte Ireland Family Business.
"Efficiencies of scale and access to innovation appear to be less of a driver Therefore, there is an opportunity to increase the value that can be derived from this activity.
"To fully exploit the opportunities presented by modern business ecosystems, next-generation family business leaders should consider adopting a flexible, outward-facing mindset that allows for variation in the types of relationships they pursue.
"This represents a sea change in attitude that many family business leaders themselves are aware must take place."