Corporate & Industrial Acceleration Symposium

3rd International Symposium, Spring 2022 (date TBD)  

Organized by Imperial College Business School’s Management & Entrepreneurship Department

You may want to watch one of the highlights of our 2nd International Symposium on Corporate and Industrial Acceleration below…

Steve Blank’s Fireside Chat with Cristobal Garcia-Herrera:

What did we learn?

Even during the pandemic, companies and sectors around the globe continue their acceleration experimentation for both inside-out and outside-in innovation flows, leveraging digital technology to better adapt to these unprecedented disruption challenges. Specifically:

  • One size does not fill all: companies need to customize their acceleration approach (external vs internal) and innovation strategy, based on their customers, tech maturity, leadership styles, and disruption challenges ahead
  • Stop thinking tools, start thinking #impact
  • We don’t need new titles, however we do need new organizational designs
  • Collaborative Acceleration approaches are needed as we tackle grand challenges together. 
  • #Moonshot acceleration –very distant strategic bets– might need a different type of approach towards experimentation and orchestration of resources. See for a new exciting Initiative in this very area!
  • New innovation accounting frameworks are needed to make all these acceleration initiatives work

Stay tuned as we organize new webinars and Presentations during 2021, including the Wicked Acceleration Labs kick-off webinar on June 8th, 2021 at 4pm UK time (


Who we are

We are global researchers of corporate entrepreneurial acceleration.

We conduct practitioner-relevant research, design new tools and organize the Annual Symposium on Corporate and Industrial Acceleration at Imperial College London.

Our core team is conformed by Professor Markus PerkmannDr. Cristobal Garcia-Herrera, and Dr. Tobias Stone. We leverage a cross-industry practitioner network working on entrepreneurial innovation acceleration and colleagues from Imperial College Business School’s Management and Entrepreneurship Department.

What we do

We develop executive education programs on corporate innovation acceleration, offer Imperial College talent to explore entrepreneurial acceleration opportunities, run a community of practice through monthly webinars and organize the Annual Imperial Symposium on Corporate and Industrial Acceleration


The 3rd International Symposium will probably be a blended event.  Many corporations have adapted or changed their business models, ways of doing business, and future strategies rapidly in response to the dramatic changes brought about by the pandemic and the ongoing economic troubles on the horizon. More than ever, we believe that corporations will need to engage with innovators, new ventures, and develop their own internal innovation engines.

The event will feature a combination of panel discussions, case study presentations and fireside chats to share ideas and best practices, and shape challenges and future research topics for the coming year. It will also provide a unique opportunity for this community of professionals and academics to network and make contact with each other.

Tickets will be available through Eventbrite.

Themes for the 2022 Symposium on Corporate & Industrial Acceleration


How does the world look like for corporate innovation during Covid-19 and beyond?


What are the lessons learned from the current corporate and industrial acceleration models?


Can corporates really operate as start-ups? If so, how?


What the future looks like: Moonshot Factories – how to shoot for and achieve distant and strategic bets?


How do we get corporate accelerators and moonshot initiatives to achieve impact beyond the “theatre of innovation”?


In times of big challenges and wicked problems (the pandemic, climate change, trade wars, economic recession), How can corporations and policy use acceleration tools and methods to address such Grand Challenges?

Meet the

Contact us


Imperial College Business School

South Kensington Campus,
London SW7 2AZ, UK



+44 (0)20 7594 5926



Steve Blank

Author and Professor at Stanford, Berkeley & Columbia

Steve Blank has led one heck of an interesting life. He’s had three careers: First, in the U.S. Air Force for four years during the Vietnam War. Next, as a Silicon Valley entrepreneur in 8 startups in two decades (with four IPOs). Currently as an academic teaching at Stanford, Berkley, Columbia and NYU.

Steve is the father of Modern Entrepreneurship. He has changed how startups are built; how entrepreneurship is taught worldwide; how science is commercialised in the U.S.; and how companies and the government innovate.

Tanja Kufner

Tanja is passionate about helping entrepreneurs establish, grow, and scale their startups and has been an active investor in over 80 Startups since 1998 across various stages.

After working for various Funds and Family Offices, she also co-founded and ran Wayra and Startupbootcamp Smart Transportation and Energy, where she helped clients such as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Airbus, Cisco, here, Vinci, Kühne + Nagel, SBB, EnBW, Telefónica, Siemens Mobile, and DB on their innovation journeys.

Tanja is recognized annually, since 2016 and by EU-Startups, as one of the top 50 most influential women in VC and Startups in Europe and is also an expert advisor to the European Commission fund.

Dan Toma

Dan Toma is an innovation thought leader and the co-author of the award winning book ‘The Corporate Startup’, awarded ‘Management Book of the Year for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ by Chartered Management Institute and The British Library in 2018. Puzzled by the questions ‘why are innovative products mainly launched by startups?’, he focuses on enterprise innovation strategy – specifically on the changes blue-chip organizations need to make to allow for new ventures to be built in a corporate setting. In this capacity he worked with companies like Deutsche Telekom, Bosch, Jaguar Land Rover, Bayer, John Deere or Allianz. Dan was featured on the Thinkers50 2020 Radar list of management thinkers to watch and he’s also a member of World Economic Forum’s working group on accelerating digital transformation

Martin Agnew

Senior Manager – R&T Disruptive Concepts, Airbus Defence and Space

Martin has over 30 years of experience in research, and its commercialisation into products, systems and services for commercial, governmental & military customers. His current responsibilities include leading the Disruptive Concepts activities in Airbus Defence & Space, setting up the Airbus office in the Imperial College Innovations Hub White City, and championing ‘ Open Innovations 2.0’. His expertise is mainly in telecommunications (RF & Optical), and, despite his senior management responsibilities, still designs & leads technology teams ideally spending one day per week in the lab!

Philipp Gneiting

Dr. Philipp Gneiting is head of Open Innovation & Customer Insights at Mercedes-Benz AG. He started working for Daimler AG in the body, materials & exterior department during his PhD. After several positions, he moved to the company’s group research department and launched the team “Open Innovation”, which is looking for competent research partners on Mercedes-Benz future research topics. In 2016, Philipp’s team together with the University of Stuttgart and Plug & Play founded STARTUP AUTOBAHN, a global innovation platform to foster cooperation between startups and corporates. Since then, more than 100 projects have been kicked off between Mercedes-Benz and startups worldwide

Sophia Nadur

Global eMobility Innovation Director at BP plc.

At BP, she is helping to create consumer-focused businesses that enable sustainable movement of people, goods, & services using EVs, CAVs, and related transport-linked tech platforms. The tech is cool – really cool – but she cares more about what the tech can enable to help democratise advanced mobility services and delight cities & citizens. Through focusing on understanding deeply met/unmet needs and then translating them into (branded) mobility products and services, she believes it will nudge more folks to adopt EVs and new transport modes. She sits on the AMU Leadership Team. Before BP, she worked for 25+ years as a global marketer & innovator in the consumer goods & services industry across the globe (Coca-Cola, Mars, Kraft/Mondelez, Unilever). She also ran her own award-winning startup and even found time to qualify as a lawyer (both beneficial mid-life crises). She holds a Warwick MBA as well as degrees in science (McGill) and law (London).

David Hengartner

CEO & Co-Founder GETKICKBOX powered by Swisscom

David brought the Kickbox intrapreneurship framework to Swisscom 5 years ago with the vision to build a bottom-up innovation culture. All employees get the chance to work on their business ideas and shape the future of the company. Before joining Swisscom, David worked in consulting and banking, founded two startups, worked for startups in Zurich and Berlin. He is also a well connected member of the Swiss startup and corporate innovation ecosystem and holds a M.A. in Business Administration from the University of St.Gallen (HSG) with focus on Entrepreneurship and Marketing and a Design Thinking degree from the University of Technology in Sydney. Beside his job, David is lecturing at universities, such as ETH Zurich, University of St Gallen or Imperial College London.

Cristobal Garcia-Herrera, PhD

Corporate Acceleration Initiative Lead at Imperial College Business School

Cristobal is a Research Associate at Imperial College Business School’s Management and Entrepreneurship Department where he conducts research on corporate and industrial acceleration models, including frameworks to guide the design, orchestration and assessment of moonshots and new venture engagement mechanisms in novel ecosystems. Cristobal is also a Visiting Lecturer at Xploratory, the live lab of Royal College of Art’s Service Design and an External Faculty at Columbia’s Center on Organizational Innovation. Cristobal is the founder of three start-ups in the Smart City, EdTech and Data Analytics domains as well as of Jump Chile, one of the largest business model accelerators in Higher Education worldwide. He also knows well the corporate world as he, previously, advised Fortune 100 companies on change and innovation management as Senior Consultant at PwC in New York City. Cristobal has published articles on Organizational Networks, Creative Spaces for Innovation and Corporate Acceleration as well as a Book on Lean Entrepreneurship Education. Cristobal is a social scientist with an MSc at MIT and a PhD in Design Engineering from Imperial College London.

Markus Perkmann

Professor Markus Perkmann is the academic director of the Imperial MBA and academic director of the Imperial Enterprise Lab. He also curates the Entrepreneurial Journey, Imperial college business school’s experiential start-up programme across all on-site MBA programmes.

He has published widely on subjects including the business of science, science-driven entrepreneurship and university-industry collaboration.

Previously, he was head of innovation and strategy at technology start-up company Greychip

Erkko Autio

Erkko Autio, FBA, is Chair in Technology Venturing at Imperial College Business School. He is a globally leading authority on digital entrepreneurial ecosystems, digital innovation ecosystems, and comparative entrepreneurship.

He has been cited in The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Fortune, MSNBC, and in some 400-500 news media globally and in some 30 000 academic articles. He has worked widely with industry and government in Europe, Asia and South America. He was recently recognised as one of the top 50 most impactful management scholars globally (Aguinis et al, 2012)

Nicolás Rebolledo

Rebolledo is a service and strategic designer based in London. His academic and professional practice is concerned with the development and implementation of design-led service innovation processes. An architect from the Catholic University of Chile, he holds an MSc in Technology Entrepreneurship from University College London (UCL) and a PhD in Service Design from the Royal College of Art.

He is the co-founder of UNIT, the strategic and service design unit behind the inception and first innovation strategy of the Laboratorio de Gobierno de Chile. He is Tutor in Service Design, Policy Platform Leader and Deputy Director of the AlphaRCA Studio-Lab at the Royal College of Art, a research partnership with Telefonica Alpha Health, looking at the use of AI and digital service platforms in the fields of happiness, mental health and wellbeing.

He has been teaching fellow at UCL School of Management and visiting lecturer for executive education at Imperial College Business School. He also works as an independent consultant for a diverse range of start-ups, private companies, charities, public institutions and international organisations such as IDB, OECD, British Council, VISA and Amazon.

Desmond Tay

Mr Desmond Tay is currently the Assistant Director of Maritime Technology Ecosystem (MTE) at the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA). Together with his team, he is responsible for catalysing the collaboration with NUS Enterprise to setup PIER71 in 2018 to support the development of maritime technology start-ups. Prior to heading MTE to support the transformation efforts of the maritime industry, Desmond has spent more than 15 in managing and developing IT solutions for the industry and MPA.

Leveraging on his technical and industry knowledge, he is passionate about working with technology start-ups to reimagine their solutions for maritime industry. He was also responsible for organising the Smart Port Hackathon in 2014 and 2015; and the inaugural run of Smart Port Challenge in 2017.

Desmond graduated with a first-class honours in Network Computing from Monash University and currently holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Adelaide.

Catalina Cernica

Catalina Cernica is Head of Innovation UK for LEO Innovation Lab, an independent unit of LEO Pharma. She has experience delivering technology-enabled healthcare solutions spanning COPD, cardio-vascular diseases and, most recently, skin conditions. She is also the CEO of the Health & Happiness Foundation, a research non-profit focused on innovation in patient outcomes. Catalina is an MBA graduate from the University of Oxford – Said Business School, with a specialisation in innovation.

Michael Nichols

Bosch Accelerator Program

Michael Nichols joined Bosch in 2014 via the Leadership Development Program and has been working in the field of business model innovation since 2015. Michael is now responsible for the Bosch Accelerator Program and for the implementation of a Bosch-wide innovation process with a clear focus on developing an ambidextrous organization to bring more innovation ideas beyond the core business to scale. The Bosch Accelerator Program has systematically (in)validated over 100 innovation projects in its first two years.

Cees-Willem Koorneef

Director at PortXL Antwerp.

Cees-Willem has over 30 years’ experience in Ports. His roles with Dutch Customs and Port of Rotterdam Authorities has gathered him a large international network and insight in both private and public maritime parties. Connecting and coaching companies and governmental agencies is his focus. As director PORTXL Antwerp he is excited to help speeding up the ‘Harbour of Things’ in Antwerp. PORTXL is known as the 1st world port accelerator. Scouting relevant global maritime start-ups and matching them with corporates companies in the Ports, increasing value and finally truly accelerating together, is what Ports need nowadays.

Mike Pinder

Mike Pinder is an expert on innovation. As former Expertise Lead at Board of Innovation, he consults cross-industry in B2B & B2C helping Fortune 500’s to innovate like start-ups. He applies a multi-disciplinary background spanning design, business & innovation management through hands-on consulting, training & facilitation of tailored innovation programmes. He regularly authors thought leadership pieces and gives international keynotes and lectures on innovation. Mike guides innovation strategy, designs and runs corporate accelerator’s, builds long-term cultural transformation programs and grows strategic innovation partnerships with corporates like: GE, World Economic Forum, AstraZeneca, Logitech, ING Bank, Fazer, ABInBev, Atos, Zeppelin Foundation and many others.

For more info visit:

Dr Tobias Stone

Tobias is a tech entrepreneur, angel investor, and sector expert on accelerator design. His PhD examined the social network structures of startup accelerator design. He founded a healthcare accelerator, and advises on accelerator design. He is an Honorary Practice Fellow at Imperial College Business School, sits on the Mayor of London’s Smart London Board, and is an advisor to Enterprise Estonia and Startup Portugal.

Paola Criscuolo

Professor Imperial College Business School.

Professor Criscuolo’s research focuses on the transfer of knowledge across both individuals and firms, on open innovation and on the strategic use of patents. Her research has been published in international academic journals including the Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science and Research Policy, and in practitioner journals such as California Management Review and MIT Sloan Management Review. She teaches innovation management and advises companies in these areas.

Tram Trinh

Tram has over 25 years of business leadership in multinational environments, held C-suite executive positions with P&L and growth accountability across 4 continents North America, Europe, Africa and Asia, from privately held start-ups, SMEs to publicly listed Fortune 500 organizations. She has built a reputation for innovative strategic thinking, successful building of alliances and networks to achieve greater scale.

Founder of VITANLINK, a global Health & Technology group dedicated to finding SMEs first mover’s advantage and accelerating their growth by co-founding, co-developing, and partnering with corporate accelerators from tech companies (Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, Amazon ..) to medtech and pharma groups (J&J, 3M, GE, Novartis..) , hospital groups (Institut de la Vision, APHP Tech Transfer..) or financial and service institutions (FRCapital Chinabase, Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas, Sodexho..). She has founded, co-founded, mentored and advised over 30 small businesses from fintech, media, retail to healthcare within a 7 year-span bringing raw technology to seed, post-seed businesses to new markets.

She currently serves on the board of international privately-held organizations and not-for-profit foundations: AccuHealth Holding Ltd, Canada, the CEPS think tank, EIC Corporation boosting financial and entrepreneurship education, democratizing investment in Africa, Droon, in the blockchain technology space. She has been a jury and mentor tor for global acceleration programs such as Endeavor Global, Big Booster , Canada Trade Commission Accelerator, Europe Horizon 2020 Health Projects evaluation boards. and Human Proximity Hub of InLab Srl, with HQ in Milan Italy

Based in France, Paris, Tram is multilingual in French, English, Vietnamese and German. She is a member of the US NACD national association of corporate directors and of the Financial Times NED club of London in the UK

Uwe Kirschner

Uwe Kirschner has been Vice President of Bosch Management Consulting and Partner of Business Model Innovation at Robert Bosch GmbH since January 2019. Immediately before taking on these responsibilities, he was Vice President of Business Model Innovation in Bosch Corporate. Other past roles include leading the International Key Account Management and OEM / Private Label business in Bosch’s Thermotechnology division and acting as General Manager for Robert Bosch in Chile. He studied Business Administration and Marketing in Trier and Oxford and received his PhD from Trier University.

James Haycock

Author, speaker and General Manager at Idean, a global design studio

An enthusiastic amateur on corporate innovation and helping businesses grow through experimentation, Author of Bye Bye Banks?, General Manager at Idean, a global design studioWorking with major players from the financial sector kickstarted James’ first book, Bye Bye Banks? which looks at the threat posed to retail banking by fintechs. James is now working on his next book for release in early 2021, on the topic of greenfield ventures that corporates can launch to drive their next phase of growth. Purposeful ambition and agenda for change is at the heart of these new ventures. Through conversation with VCs, challenger CEOs and Intrapreneurs at well-known firms he presents a new model for growing Beta Businesses by combining the attitude of challengers with the unfair advantages of big business.James is General Manager at Idean UK, a global design studio owned by Capgemini. Idean, as part of the Capgemini Invent family, sits alongside Fahrenheit 212 and Frog, making it a leading player in the field of design, innovation and venture building.

Umerah Akram

Umerah is Head of ELITE UK & Global Business Development, London Stock Exchange Group’s platform and market for private companies. She’s focused on scaling the business in partnership with networks and entities across the globe that are equally passionate about helping growing businesses achieve their potential.

In her 15 years at LSEG, Umerah has focused on how the Group supports SMEs in the UK and from around the world as an asset class – from a market framework, fiscal and regulatory environment and product offering perspective. Previously, Umerah worked at Deloitte and Arthur Andersen in the Audit and Assurance practice, having qualified as a chartered accountant. Umerah is also a Board member of the Scaleup Institute in the UK.

Anna Hiltunen

Anna is the Head of Service innovation at Koa Health, a digital health company that recently spun out of from the Telefonica’s moonshot unit. Anna has 15 years of experience in design thinking and human centred service innovation within corporates and start-ups, with a current focus on creating digital tools that support mental health as well as redefine care. She is originally from Finland, holds an MA from the Royal College of Art in London and is based in Barcelona.

Gonçalo Faria

onçalo is Senior Account Manager at Beta-i, responsible for the blue economy, smart cities, mobility and tourism sectors. He currently leads the Bluetech Accelerator program to boost innovation in the blue economy with a focus on ports and shipping. Gonçalo has more than 9 years of experience in international project management with expertise in strategy, management consulting and innovation projects, in countries such as Portugal, South Africa and Angola. He holds a degree in Economics and an international MBA.