This section is for those who are interested in where my drive comes from to make corporate-startup partnerships work. This section tells the story of why I get up and work every day.
If you are only interested in my services click here to jump to the section.
It was mid-April a few years ago.
Our startup has been out of money for some months, but we knew that we were creating value and we had a great contract coming up, so we kept on going, kept on eating up our savings. Some of us took side-jobs like consulting or mentoring so we can stay afloat. It was not an easy time, but since we were good friends, not just co-founders, we had each others' backs when one of us had a particularly hard time. And we knew that we had a huge contract lined up with a multinational organization that would get us out of this mess. We made a few mistakes leading up to this, so this was our last "Hail Mary”.
we signed a contract with a creative agency to design and develop our app, which destroyed our chances to change business models on the go - mistake number one. During the winter months, we were undertaking negotiations with a huge international organization with 20 million clients around the world. We had a chance to be acquired, but we were too arrogant - mistake number two.
The meeting where we would sign the contract that would end our suffering was scheduled.
There was only one week to go. After 9 months of negotiating and providing all sorts of information to numerous different divisions, each with their own agenda, we were finally in the clear. We jumped all the hoops, we cleared all the hurdles! This is it! By now you are probably expecting a twist in the story, and you are right to do so.
It was early morning on a Thursday when I arrived in the office.
That's when one of our co-founders broke the news to me. The CEO "changed his mind" and decided not to sign the contract in the end. I was devastated. Everything seemed to have been for nothing. I could swear I heard the birds stop chirping, see the sky turn grey, and the stock market take a dive. There was nothing good that day. In fact, not just that day, but it took some time to make sense of the time we've invested into our company
After I got myself back together, I realized what was troubling me since.
It was that I've heard this story over-and-over again. Sure, we were also at fault for keeping only one egg in our basket - mistake number three - but this shouldn't have happened with an organization that has a clear innovation strategy. It was the lack of said strategy that caused the deal to take so long and which caused the CEO to change his mind in the last minute. This was when I took a vow - a vow to myself:
Vowed to make corporate-startup partnerships work.
I am an innovation consultant with many years demonstrated history in helping companies at the forefront of innovation. I am currently enrolled at Stanford University Graduate School of Business, where I am attending a one-year program on corporate innovation. Formerly I was head of Open Innovation Center at Tungsram Group, in charge of making great connections and partnerships with (mostly) hardware startups in the (mainly) energy, agritech, smart city, smart building, and proptech sectors. Previously, I was Entrepreneur in Residence at NN Insurance Hungary where I founded and ran the Sparklab Corporate Incubator program. When joining the corporate sector at NN, I brought with myself seven years' experience with startups as a startup founder and mentor in many organizations including Pioneers Festival, WebSummit, The World Bank Group, and the European Investment Bank, among others.
I am advising companies on creating meaningful, executable innovation strategies, and on fostering vibrant innovative cultures where ideas can emerge and realize.
Innovation is change. Change can be smooth with the right knowledge and communication. On the other hand, change can be devastating if there is misinformation and miscommunication within and outside the organization. A crucial part of leading an innovative organization is making sure that everyone on top has a clear understanding of innovation methodologies, innovation strategies and what it means for a leader to be on top of an organization working in the forefront of innovation.
Suggested format: Executive Day
Innovation Strategy Workshops
There are corporate incubators and accelerators popping up everywhere - it's very fashionable nowadays. Often I get approached by organizations telling me they are setting up an incubator or accelerator to get innovative startups into the organization. Usually, this is done without careful consideration whether these programs are suited to the organization and whether they will bring the expected results. There are many innovation models that often bring much better results at the fraction of the cost of running a program supporting startups. Innovation strategy workshops are designed to find the strategy that best suits your organization.
Suggested format: 1-day workshop for management and executive team.
Innovation Strategy Consulting
Your company is working hard on implementing innovative ideas, yet the results are not coming? Sometimes you just need to give it time, but often it's worth reviewing the processes and strategies for adopting innovation to identify the barriers to getting the anticipated results.
Suggested format: Consulting
Innovation Team Formation
An innovation team is like a startup, and the organization is the investor of the startup. One of the key elements of startups is uncertainty. One of the key elements of successful startups is a great team that can navigate well under pressure and can handle high amounts of uncertainty. Finding or creating the right team for your innovation unit is of paramount importance in setting up your program for success.
Suggested format: Consulting, training
Innovation Mindset Shaping
The more innovative the culture of the organization the better it will be at executing an innovation program. Often, why people refuse change is because they can't see themselves being part of the changed environment and don't understand how it will be beneficial for them. This is what leads to resistance of innovation, and can ultimately kill an otherwise well-constructed innovation program.
Suggested format: series of half-day workshops for 15-30 person groups up to mid-level management
Innovation Program Setup
Want to launch an innovation program A.S.A.P.? Finding the right strategy and the people to execute the strategy will likely take time. If you are eager to jump on the innovation wagon this is a complex, tailored package that will make sure you launch in a timely manner.
Suggested format: tailored program
The hard truths on the most important topics around corporate innovation.
It’s like coke in the 70s. Many people are doing it, so everybody starts doing it because it looks like a good idea. Then one day you wake up with a large chunk of your money spent and you have no idea how you got there.
'In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great start not with "where" but with "who". They start by getting the right people on the bus...'-Jim C. Collins, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Lead and Others Don't.