3rd International Symposium on Corporate Acceleration


About the

The International Symposium on Corporate Acceleration is a premiere annual event at Imperial College Business School targeted at corporate venturing and acceleration practitioners, including some of the leading scholars in this burgeoning area.

This event will take place on 14 October of 2022 from 9:00 am UK (10:00 am CET) to 19:30 hrs UK (20:30 hrs CET) at Imperial College London’s Scale Space on the White City campus.

The event will feature a combination of panel discussions, case study presentations, pitches, workshops, and fireside chats to share ideas and best practices on different modalities of acceleration, and to explore ways to address the greatest challenges of our time. It will also provide a unique opportunity for this community of professionals and academics to network and explore collaborative projects.

Organizing Committee:

Our partners:

The 2022 Symposium:
Are you looking for
answers and tools?

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

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

  3. Can really large organizations operate as start-ups? If so, how?

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

  5. How do we get corporate accelerators and moonshot initiatives to achieve impact beyond the “innovation theater”?

  6. 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?

  7. What are the best practices in venture building and scaling?

Meet our

C-Level executives, Corporate Innovation managers, R&D Chiefs, Venture Builders, Accelerator Managers and Founders, Open Innovation Experts and Leading Academics

Head of Ventures and Startups at Nemetschek Group

Co-founder at Outcome

Imperial & Wicked Labs​

Imperial College Business School

Imperial College Business School​


Imperial & Wicked Labs​

RCA & Wicked Labs

Leo Pharma

Wicked Labs

Imperial College Business School


KOA Health

Platform Zero

Stanford University

Basque Government

Intel Ignite

TUM Venture Labs


Koa Health

RCA & Wicked Labs​

Design for good

Event Schedule

9:05 am UK
(10:05 am CET)

Welcome Remarks – by Dean Francisco Veloso

9:15 - 9:25 am

Introduction to the 3rd International Symposium on Corporate Acceleration

by Prof. Markus Perkmann, Dr. Cristobal Garcia-Herrera and Dr. Isha Gupta

9:25 - 10:00 am

Keynote on Patterns of Successful Startup Acceleration, Investment & Corporate Innovation

Fireside Chat with Tanja Kufner

10:00 am

Setting the Stage Panel: What now for corporate innovation units? Current challenges and emerging strategic opportunities

Lead Speaker: Martin Agnew (Airbus) Panel: Uwe Kirschner (Bosch), Tram Trinh (Vitanlink) and Martin Agnew (Airbus). Moderated by Prof. Paola Criscuolo

10:45 am


11:15 am

Panel: Conflating Corporate and Start-up needs: How do Corporate Accelerators create a win-win situation?

Lead Speaker: Dr. Cristobal Garcia (Imperial & Wicked Labs) with Kate Hach (Intel Ignite), Sylvia Stojilkovic (Tech Founders) and Kieran Borrett (Plug ‘n Play UK). Moderated by Dr. Nicolas Rebolledo (RCA & Wicked Labs)

12:00 pm UK
(13:00 pm CET)

Research Insights: Lessons Learned in corporate venture building: Preliminary Findings from an Imperial & Frog study

Lead Speaker: Prof. Markus Perkmann (Imperial), and Discussion with Mr. Dan Kolodziej (Frog), Susana Jurado (Telefonica) and Mike Nichols (Man-Hummer) and Steven Weigel (Bayer). Moderated by Dr. Cristobal Garcia (Imperial & Wicked Labs)

12:45 pm

Showcase on Tools for Entrepreneurial Innovation

Adriana Rocha (Rready, a Swisscom Spin-out)

12:55 pm

Networking Lunch

14:00 pm

Panel: Cross-sectoral connections. How can corporates and value chains promote sector-wide entrepreneurial innovation?

Lead Speaker: Mare Straetmans (founder PortXL & Platform Zero) with Dr. Philip Gneiting (Plug and Play Germany, formerly at Daimler), Leyre Madariaga (Bind 4.0) and Mare Straetmans. Moderated by Markus Perkmann (Imperial College Business School)

14:45 pm

Showcase on Tools for Wicked Acceleration

Tools for Corporate and Wicked Acceleration by Mike Pinder (Wicked Labs) & Dr. Anouk Zeeuw Van Der Laan (Dyson School of Design Engineering) on the Flow Mapper

15:05 pm
(16:05 pm CET)

Panel: What the future holds: Wicked Acceleration and Impact Moonshots for our World on Fire

Lead Speaker: Prof Erkko Autio on Wicked Acceleration. Panel: Remko Vermeulen (Koa Health – Telefonica Moonshot), Dr. Laura Acqualagna (GSK) and Freddy Darbyshire (Shell). Moderated by Prof Erkko Autio

15:50 pm


16:15 pm

Panel: What’s Next for Open Innovation and Corporate Acceleration?

Speakers: Jennifer Sheldon (Lego), Jeremy Basset (Co:Cubed) and Fazilat Damani (Design for Good). Moderated by Dr. Nick de Leon (RCA & Wicked Labs)

17:00 pm

The Present and Future of the Lean Startup for Corporate Innovation

by Chuck Eesley, Associate Professor, Management Science & Engineering, Stanford University

17:30 pm

Fireside Chat with Steve Blank: How do we get corporate acceleration beyond ”Innovation Theatre”: Lessons Learned

Hosted by Dr. Cristobal Garcia

18:15 pm

Closing Remarks: What did we learn, Call for Action and Next Steps

by Markus Perkmann and Cristobal Garcia

18:30 pm

Networking Drinks

19:30 pm


Contact us

Imperial College Business School
South Kensington Campus,
London SW7 2AZ, UK

+44 (0)20 7594 5926


Cristobal Garcia-Herrera, PhD

Co-Founder Wicked Acceleration Labs and Teaching Fellow & Researcher
Imperial College Business School

Dr. Cristobal Garcia is a Teaching Fellow, Researcher and Co-Founder of the Wicked Acceleration Labs at Imperial College Business School’s Management and Entrepreneurship Department. Cristobal conducts research on different modalities of acceleration such as corporate innovation, start-up scaling, ecosystem building, moonshot, and wicked acceleration, including frameworks and tools to orient practice. He has advised companies across the globe on new strategies, practices and processes for corporate innovation, industrial acceleration, and entrepreneurial engagement.

Cristobal has published articles on Organizational Networks, Creative Spaces for Innovation and Corporate Acceleration as well as a Book on Lean Entrepreneurship Education. Cristobal has been 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. Previously, he also advised Fortune 100 companies on change and innovation management as a Senior Consultant at PwC in New York City. Cristobal has held Faculty positions at Pontificia Universidad Catolica of Chile and Columbia University, and has been a Visiting Scholar at Delft University of Technology, the Royal College of Art (RCA), at the MIT Media Lab and at the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP). Cristobal is a social scientist with an MSc from MIT and a PhD in Design Engineering from Imperial College London. Cristobal is a frequent speaker, corporate advisor, start-up coach, investor and academic intrapreneur who looks across boundaries and network to connect the glocal dots.

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

Isha Gupta

Isha is a R&D Manager with the Translational and Engineering group in Galvani Bioelectronics. Galvani Bioelectronics, formed through partnership between GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Verily Life Sciences is a pioneering medical research company dedicated to the development of bioelectronic medicines to treat chronic diseases (https://galvani.bio/).

Her role is focussed on developing neuromodulation therapies (early to late stage) by working across an indication pipeline. She also works on product development (implantable devices) and executing clinical trials in the position of field clinical engineer. 

Steve Blank

Author, Former Serial Entrepreneur and Adjunct 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, Berkeley, 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

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.

Michael Nichols

Director of Corporate Ventures at Mann + Hummel


Michael Nichols joined Mann + Hummel in 2022 where he is responsible for investing in and developing partnerships with external startups who can help drive the next generation of business models at Mann + Hummel. Additionally, he coaches internal ventures and technical projects as they validate their business ideas. Before Mann + Hummel, Michael worked at Bosch from 2014 – 2022, specializing in the field of business model innovation. At Bosch, Michael was 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 300 innovation projects in its first 5 years.

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.

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.

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: https://www.mikepinder.co.uk.

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.

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.

Mare Straetmans

Founder Platform Zero

Mare Straetmans has been activite in the sectors of maritime, energy and ports for more than a decade and focuses on making impact with entrepreneurship, corporate innovation and venturing. He is currently founder of the Platform Zero Climate & Energy Campus in Rotterdam (www.platformzero.co), where acceleration of innovation with corporates, startups and research happens in the field of hydrogen, emissions reduction, energy storage and ocean health. 

In the past he has been responsible for setting up both the Ocean Health business unit (https://www.linkedin.com/company/oceanhealth/) and the Digital Transformation at Van Oord (maritime, offshore wind corporate: www.vanoord.com), setting up innovation at the Port of Rotterdam Authority (www.portofrotterdam.com) setting up a maritime Venture Capital fund. Mare also was the founder and managing director of PortXL (www.portxl.org), the first maritime startup accelerator worldwide, building the company in Rotterdam, Singapore and Antwerp.

Chuck Eesley

Chuck Eesley is an Associate Professor and W.M. Keck Foundation Faculty Scholar in the Department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University. As part of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, his research focuses on the role of the institutional and university environment in high-growth, technology entrepreneurship. His research focuses on rethinking how the educational and policy environment shapes the economic and entrepreneurial impact of university alumni. His field research spans China, Japan, Chile, Bangladesh, Thailand and Silicon Valley and has received awards from the Schulze Foundation, the Technical University of Munich, and the Kauffman Foundation. He is a faculty affiliate at the Stanford Center for International Development, the Woods Institute for the Environment and the Stanford King Center on Global Development. He is also a member of the Editorial Board for the Strategic Management Journal. Before coming to Stanford, Prof. Eesley completed his Ph.D. at the M.I.T. Sloan School of Management.

Leyre Madariaga Gangoiti

Director for Digital Transformation and Entrepreneurship at Basque Government 

Leyre Madariaga is Bachelor of Economics and Business Sciences in the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration – Deusto Business School (Spain), and Master in European Studies in the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium). 

A great part of her professional experience has been directed towards International Relations and Foreign Trade, and especially those with high technological components. She started working for IDOM, an engineering and consultancy Basque company, as Responsible for Multilateral Projects and Director of the Office in Romania. From 2005 to 2009 she was the Deputy Chairman of SPRI, the Development Regional Agency of the Basque Country, belonging to the Department of Industry, Trade and Tourism of the Basque Government.

Since 2010, she was the International Development Director in Tecnalia Research & Innovation (Tecnalia for short), the biggest private technology centre of Spain and the fifth in Europe. This technology centre is a Spanish and European reference in scientific and technological research, through the generation of more efficient, profitable and competitive solutions that improves business opportunities for its customers.

In January 2013 she was appointed Director for Foreign Affairs at the Basque Government President’s Office. Since October 2020 she is the Director for Digital Transformation and Entrepreneurship at the Basque Government and head of BIND 4.0 Open Innovation Platform.

Martha Ivanovas

Martha has worked in data-driven business for over a decade and currently oversees deal flow and portfolio in Europe for Intel Ignite, Intel’s startup growth program. Before joining Intel, Martha was at Dell Technologies, where she worked on corporate aspects of the business, drove business development for the EMEA High Performance Computing and Artificial Intelligence team, and led business development for Dell Technologies Capital in Europe. Martha spent her early career in consulting and building a global financial intelligence product. She holds a Masters in Economics and International Relations from St Andrews University and an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Andreas Leubner

Andreas is a PhD candidate at Technical University of Munich and a Project Manager at TUM Venture Labs, the University’s initiative to foster research- based deep tech startups. His research focuses on Corporate Accelerators. 
He is currently on Educational Leave from Boston Consulting Group, where he serves clients in industrial goods and tech with strategy, transformation and manufacturing projects since January 2019.
Andreas holds a M.Sc. in mechanical engineering and business administration from RWTH Aachen University and a general engineering diploma from Ecole Centrale Lyon. He wrote his Master thesis at the University of Cambridge on cyber-human manufacturing systems.

Laura Acqualagna

Laura is a Senior Machine Learning Engineer at GSK AI/ML, leading the development of machine learning-based products for precision medicine and clinical biomarker discovery. Her previous projects focused on applying machine learning algorithms in various areas of GSK R&D, including human genetics and functional genomics.  She has over 10 years’ experience in the application of AI/ML methods in the medical domain.

Prior to GSK, she was Research Associate at the Technische Universität Berlin, in the departments of Machine Learning and Neurotechnology, where she developed novel Brain-Computer Interfaces for communication and control. Laura holds a PhD in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering from TU Berlin, Germany and a MSc in Neuroengineering from University of Genoa, Italy.

Jeremy Basset

Jeremy has built his career by helping large corporates define and build their future organisation. Through CO:CUBED, he works with some of the worlds largest businesses to re-think their organisational approach to innovation and helping them build and execute their collaborative innovation capabilities. Prior to launching CO:CUBED, Jeremy spent 13 years at Unilever where he was responsible for launching and then leading the Unilever Foundry, Unilever’s platform to engage with startups and innovative companies who can help Unilever pioneer the future. Through the Foundry, over 1500 of Unilever marketers have worked with over 150 startups, bringing innovative technology and an entrepreneurial culture to Unilever.

Freddie Darbyshire

As Technology & Innovation Advisor for Shell’s Energy Transition & Sustainability Strategy team, Freddie advises Shell’s Executive Committee on the innovation and technology strategies Shell should adopt to drive its success through the energy transition and support its ambition to become a net-zero emissions business. Freddie also sits on the Investment Committee for Shell Ventures’ X fund, focused on seed-stage hard-tech investments.

Prior to his current strategic role, Freddie led Shell’s Digital Commercialization business (that takes Shell’s in-house Digital solutions to market), building the commercial partnerships with Microsoft, Baker Hughes and C3.ai that support this objective. He helped develop Shell’s Data Science strategy and led Digital Product Teams serving the Renewable Energy and Downstream businesses in Shell.  

Freddie is based in London.

Adam Mitchell-Heggs

Adam is a co-founder of Net Positive Labs, a venture studio and think tank with the mission to accelerate the global transition to a circular economy. Net Positive Labs collaborates with entrepreneurs, corporations, and governments to build new high growth businesses that can fix the dysfunctions of current business models and address societal and planetary needs. Net Positive Labs work particularly with corporates to design and execute purpose driven venture building programmes. This includes designing the strategic and operational models of the programme, and the ideation, development, and launch of new ventures.

Net Positive Labs, and Adam, have conceived and built ventures with corporate partners in a number of industries including the Built Environment, Energy, FMCG, Consumer Goods, Logistics, Financial Sector, and the Waste & Resources sectors. Adam is based in London and Madrid, but their ventures and clients are global (Europe, Africa, Middle East)

Jennifer Sheldon

As Head of Core Innovation at the LEGO Group’s Creative Play Lab, Jennifer Sheldon is working to create opportunities for children to reach their potential through play. 

Prior to immigrating to London for her role at the LEGO Group, she spent nearly two decades in San Francisco’s Bay Area focused on building innovative products designed to educate, entertain and inform. She also cultivated her professional community by guest lecturing on Product Management & Innovation at the Product School and Product Events, launching a mentorship program for Sony Interactive Entertainment, and leading the San Francisco Chapter of [email protected]

Sylvia Stojilkovic

Sylvia is Managing Partner at TechFounders by UnternehmerTUM responsible for global corporate startup collaboration activities. She has over 15 years of experience in corporate innovation, venture building and venture capital having worked with startups in Europe, Silicon Valley, and Israel and supported clients such as HP Tech Ventures, Siemens Next47, Volvo, Safran and SAP.io in building their corporate innovation activities.

In 2018, she co-founded the European Hub for Alchemist Accelerator, the leading enterprise accelerator in Silicon Valley, where she led over 30 European deeptech investments and supported startups to enter the US market and scale globally. Sylvia holds a Master in International Business from the ESCP Business School in Berlin and Paris.

Sylvia is based in Munich

Susana Jurado Apruzzese

Susana’s professional career has been focused for more than 20 years on innovation. She is currently Head of Wayra Builder, Telefónica’s venture builder, the vehicle to create startups around new innovative ideas with a high potential market and invest in them. Previously, she was Head of Telefónica Open Innovation Campus, which aims to explore and implement collaboration models that allow generating impactful innovation together with the academic world. Before this role, for more than seven years, she was Head of Innovation Portfolio within the Core Innovation area at Telefónica, where her role consisted of executing and evolving Telefónica’s intrapreneurship program, Lean Elephants, as well as managing the internal ventures portfolio.

She is co-author of the Harvard Business Review case study “Telefonica: A Lean Elephant” and two books (both in Spanish) “The agile company” and “Lean Startup: application for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs”.

She holds an MSc in Telecommunications Engineering, an MBA from IE Business School and a Certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Stanford University.

Susana is based in Madrid.

Steven Weigel

Steven has spent the better part of his adult life working in “digital“: His journey started with a small startup in Silicon Valley in 2008 where he built and measured the effectiveness of overlay ads in casual computer games with partners such as Yahoo Games. In 2009, he moved back to his hometown Berlin to design and execute digital strategy for Bayer Pharmaceuticals‘ biggest brand globally and in China, before moving to the US again to lead global digital projects and getting his feet wet with some of Bayer’s early venture activities. In 2017, Steven moved back to Berlin to help get Bayer’s digital transformation efforts off the ground. In 2021, Steven took his current job in Bayer’s Consumer Health IT unit to follow his passion in corporate venture building and testing of new digital business models.

Steven holds a M.A. in Communication with Honors from Hawai’i Pacific University and a B.A. in International Business Administration from Berlin School of Economics.

Steven is based in Berlin.

Adriana Rocha

Adriana is an innovation professional, passionate about innovation methods and frameworks. She has a Disruptive Innovation master’s degree from Hult International Business School. She works at Rready as a Methodology Expert in the Product Lab, where the KICKBOX methodology is co-shaped and further developed to help big enterprises to launch bottom-up innovation and intrapreneurship programs. Experienced in the startup environment, she worked for LATAM and EMEA markets— developing digital and gamified products in the e-learning industry. Today from Rready, she works to make corporate innovation easy and fun

Remko Vermeulen

Remko is the VP of Product Innovation at Koa Health, a digital mental health company he started and spun out of Telefonica’s moonshot unit. Being a designer, engineer and psychologist by background, he innovates on the intersection of technology, AI and behavioral science, starting with future projection of what could be, bringing it back to products and services that can be. 

In over 20 years of experience in UX, design and product management he worked with and at companies  and organizations such as Renault, Wallpaper, Financial times, Warner Brothers, British Council, Electrolux, Royal College of Art, Elisava Design School and Harvard Medical School.

He has a Master in Design Innovation Management (Product design) from Delft University of Technology, studied psychology at the Royal University of Leiden and exhibition design at the National School of Design in Australia and is based in Barcelona.

Nick de Leon

Nick is Executive Education and Knowledge Exchange Lead in the School of Design, where he leads the development of the School’s research and knowledge exchange relations.

Nick received his PhD from Imperial College Business School, where his research addressed the impact of information and communication technologies on the social and economic vitality of cities. Nick has an engineering degree from Imperial College and a Master’s degree in Industrial Design from the Royal College of Art.

He began his career as an industrial designer at IBM, moving from designing products then services, through to developing entire new businesses in his role as Business Development Director for IBM’s Global Services division in Europe. He led the NESTA-funded joint venture between the RCA and Imperial College London, Design London, as director from 2007 to 2011.

Fazilat Damani

Fazilat has over 15 years’ of experience leading major business transformation initiatives that help companies navigate exciting but demanding operational environments. Having worked at organizations of all sizes, she is highly experienced in strategic innovation that maximizes productivity, efficiency, and profitability. She spent a large part of her career working for NatWest to deliver its ‘Go Forward Strategy’ of becoming a focused, simpler, and purpose-led bank. In 2020 Fazilat switched gears in her career to focus on sustainability. She founded SULY – an eCommerce platform designed to help the everyday person buy clothing more sustainably online and in September 2022 she became Director of Portfolio and Programs at Design for Good. Fazilat is also the creator of the Female Founders Club where she provides coaching and mentorship for female startup founders. 

Fazilat holds a Master of Liberal Arts from Harvard University, an MSc from the University of South Wales, and a BBA from Schulich School of Business. 

Fazilat is based in London

Anouk Zeeuw van der Laan

Anouk is an independent research and design consultant, focused on adopting, integrating, implementing and validating principles of the circular economy in organisations and the real world. She currently works for a variety of companies, including in the fast-moving consumer goods, hospitality and fashion sector. 

Anouk’s vision for better material journeys originates at Delft University of Technology where she found her passion for materials. After undertaking material driven design projects on waste and ephemeral materials, Anouk took various commercial and technical roles in packaging and production at the KraftHeinz Company. Aspiring to address the challenges of materials in the fast-moving consumer goods sector, she obtained a PhD in Design Engineering from Imperial College London. Her research – co-funded by Procter & Gamble – focused on enabling stakeholders in the sector to design effective reuse and recycling systems. Today, her approach is to put resource-flows at the centre of design. Before starting her independent practice, Anouk worked as the Head of Circular Economy at Common Seas and a Research Associate at Imperial College London. Anouk currently teaches at Imperial College London and University of the Arts London. 

In addition to her consultancy practice, Anouk works on the further development of a tool called the Flow Mapper, which helps organisations to identify and set tangible actions to design for and implement a circular economy. The Flow Mapper is a collaborative design tool, enabling cross-disciplinary stakeholders to design and prototype on the level of a socio-technical system.

Dan Kolodziej

Product Strategy & Venture Director at Frog UK.

“I collaborate with the C-Suite of the worlds biggest brands to design and build digital products, services and ventures. I do this by leading multi-disciplinary teams through Lean, Agile and Human Centered Design processes.

I’ve founded my own startups – with VC backing – worked in startup studios funded by well known investors, and built ventures with big brands creating millions of £‘s worth of value. I almost got an exit, but I messed it up. I currently lead venture design for frog in the UK”.