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 15 September of 2022 from 9:30am to 19:30 hrs 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.

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

Sophia Nadur

Swisscom’s Kickbox

Imperial College Business School

Imperial College Business School

Imperial College Business School​

RCA Service Design Lab

Director MPA and PIER71

Leo Pharma

Wicked Labs

Sotera Heritage

Imperial College Business School


KOA Health

Event Schedule

9:05 am GMT

Welcome Remarks – by Dean Francisco Veloso

9:15 am

Introduction to the 3rd International Symposium

Prof. Markus Perkmann and Dr. Cristobal Garcia-Herrera

9:30 am

Keynote on the present and future of Digital Transformation

10:00 am

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

Uwe Kirschner (Bosch), Markus Bohl (Intel) 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?

Markus Bohl (Intel), with Sylvia Stojilkovic (Tech Founders), Founder (TBD) and Kieran Borrett (Plug ‘n Play), moderated by Andreas Leubner (TUM)

12:00 am

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

Dr. Philip Gneiting (Daimler & Startup Autobahn), Hedi Visscher (PortXL), Desmond (Singapore, Maritime Port Authority of Singapore) or someone from Bind 4.0 or Creasphere (Germany) Moderated by Dr. Cristobal Garcia-H

12:45 am

Networking Lunch

13:45 pm

Research Insights: Lessons Learned in venture building: Findings from a study with Frog

Presented by Prof. Markus Perkmann (Imperial), Dr. Cristobal Garcia (Imperial) and Mr. Dan Kolodziej (Frog)

14:15 pm

Showcase: Innovations in corporate acceleration

Cases from Startup Autobahn, Frog (Bayer?) and Telefonica (Internet para Todos): three case stories, with 10’ of time each

14:45 pm


15:00 pm

Fireside Chat with Steve Blank

How do we get corporate acceleration beyond the ”Innovation Theatre”: Lessons Learned Hosted by Dr. Cristobal Garcia

16:00 pm

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

Anna Hiltunen (Koa Health), Esra Ozcan (GoogleX), X (Pharma, Vaccine via Isha), WEFScale360 or Sky Ocean Ventures, moderated by Prof Erkko Autio

16:45 pm

Closing Remarks: What did we learn and What’s Next for Corporate Acceleration

Markus Perkmann and Cristobal Garcia

17:00 pm

Networking Drinks

18:30 pm


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.

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.

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.

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.