Take on the future through startup partnership!

To withstand and thrive in uncertainty, your company needs to peer into the future and get ready for it to arrive. That means making serious attempts at solutions that are not guaranteed to work out. Partnering with startups makes sense as a way to mitigate the cost and risk of experimentation, and to take advantage of entrepreneurial mindsets and energy. But how to go about startup partnership in a way that aligns with corporate strategy, structure and culture? While it’s not easy, there are many approaches that work. The Corporate Accelerator Forum curates thoughtful practitioners who lead serious approaches to startup innovation. Come learn with and from peers in the field!

Who you will meet at Unleashing Startup Innovation

Our intimate gathering is curated to focus on corporate innovators who work with startups. Most attendees are on the journey of corporate-startup collaboration:  considering, starting, operating or winding down a startup partnership program. We are industry-agnostic. In addition to active practitioners, you’ll also meet key experts from the innovation ecosystem. We keep the numbers low so you’re certain to make a real connection with everyone.

Some Companies You May Meet

Discussion Hosts

Amanda Cashin

Amanda Cashin

PhD, Global Head of Illumina For Startups

Donnell Walton

Director at Corning Incorporated

Kevin McCreight

Technology Manager, External Innovation at Eastman Chemical Company

Margarita Quihuis

Founder at PeaceX Ventures

Mohan Nair

CEO Emerge Inc

Tolga Kurtoglu

Chief Technology Officer & Global head of HP LABS

Shelley Porter

Director, Sustainability and Circular Solutions at Eastman

Rosen Dimitrov

Public Affairs Manager at Novartis


Diana Joseph

Founder and ceo corporate accelerator forum

Mikel Mangold

Innovation Project Manager Venture Lab, NGK Spark Plug


December 7 – 9, 2021 (Pacific Time)

We’ll be starting our programming promptly at 9 AM. We hope you’ll join early for some extra connection time. You can also use this time to get comfortable with the platform. You can even find a quiet place to work inside the platform if you’d like.  

Global Ecosystem Strategy – The most meaningful partnerships could be anywhere — how do innovation leaders make it work to function on a global scale?  How to be a great corporate player in a global ecosystem, how to be a key component of an industry ecosystem, and how to work across vastly different economies.

8 AM
Informal social time, and platform exploration

9 AM
Programming starts
promptly — Understanding the Landscape

10:30 AM
Discussions — Global Ecosystem Strategy

  • Strategy: From Country to Regional Healthcare Ecosystem and Beyond hosted by Rosen Dimitrov, Novartis
  • Value-Chain Strategy for a Big Idea hosted by Shelley Porter, Eastman
  • Ecosystem Activation, Venture Lab EMEA hosted by Mikel Mangold, Venture Lab, NGK Spark Plug

11:30 AM
Lock In the Learning

12 PM
The morning is complete!

2 PM
Optional in-person site visit, Corning Technology Center, Silicon Valley

Strategy and Structure – We’ve talked about the “Frozen organization” before — now let’s look at the structural root causes and learn from programs that are tackling it head on.  The relationship between the startup program, the org chart and company strategy.  Purpose and the startup program.  Structures that know how to receive startup ideas.

8 AM
nformal social time, and platform exploration

9 AM
Programming starts promptly — Understanding the Landscape

10:30 AM
 — Strategy & Structure

  • Innovation and the C-Suite hosted by Tolga Kurtoglu, HP
  • Purpose and Innovation hosted by Margarita Quihuis, Stanford Peace Innovation Lab
  • The Innovator’s Impact on Strategy hosted by Mohan Nair, Emerge, Inc

11:30 AM
Lock In the Learning

12 PM
The morning is complete!

2 PM
Optional in-person site visit, site to be confirmed!  

Engagement Strategy – How to identify and engage with the startups most suited to your current needs, your challenge, your disruptive edge?  We’ll look at models that work, and we’ll take on some treasure hunts together!

8 AM
Informal social time, and platform exploration

9 AM
Programming starts promptly — Understanding the Landscape

10:30 AM
Discussions– Engagement Strategy

  • Choosing a Partner to Take us Beyond What we Do Today hosted by Kevin McCreight, Eastman
  • How to be a Good Partner while Managing Internal and External Priorities hosted by Amanda Cashin,
    Illumina for Startups
  • Experiments in Corporate-Startup Innovation hosted by Donnell Walton, Corning Inc

11:30 AM
Lock In the Learning

12 PM
The morning is complete!

4 PM
Optional in-person site visit and closing dinner, Illumina Accelerator, San Francisco Bay Area

Though the modality has changed, human cognition, motivation, and the need to innovate together remain the same.  We’ve always designed our experiences from a rich understanding of these principles, and we’re looking forward to our Annual Meeting in our proven, travel-optional, globally accessible format.

What to Expect at Unleashing Startup Innovation

  • Investigate the startup innovation landscape
  • Explore the systems surrounding this work
  • Address fundamental challenges of strategy and practice
  • Meet other innovators
  • Get access to expert insight
  • Unique interactive setting

Carefully crafted based on the science of learning, each morning at Unleashing Startup Innovation centers around a compelling theme.  You’ll choose between one of three conversations, each hosted by an innovation leader with a powerful story, challenge or framework to share. You’ll speak as much as you listen, and you’ll hone your ideas against strong minds grappling with similar challenges in different settings. The Chatham House Rule creates space to speak freely about reality on the ground. You’re participating the entire time for a matchless learning experience. 

Practical, field-tested tools

Real-world stories

High-touch, “sticky” learning environment

Rich visual reporting

Event Format

In 2021 our flagship annual event is hybrid — online each morning (Pacific Time), and in person at key corporate/startup innovation sites in the afternoons:
Tuesday, December 7
Wednesday, December 8
Thursday, December 9

Mornings at Unleashing Startup Innovation are virtual and inclusive for time zones in the US, Europe and Africa. Our videoconferencing platform, Gather.Town, allows you to move between key conversations as best suits your goals.
Our curated event is by and for corporate innovators who work with startups. Participant input enhances the event.  It’s our standard practice to prepare for this intimate experience by getting to know every attendee. Once you register, we will reach out to schedule a brief conversation.

As always, you’ll find:

Expand your network

Social time for one-on-ones and small groups

Big-picture group perspective

Carefully crafted interaction with the full community

Intensive discussions

Dive deep into specific strategic considerations with the guidance of seasoned practitioners

Curated community

Everyone in the room is familiar with the front-lines of corporate-startup collaboration and innovation

Curated hosting

Each discussion host is selected for the power of their story, challenge, framework or opportunity

Graphical memories

We capture the most important findings graphically for max retention on your part and max value for your stakeholders


Early Bird

$ 1000 One-time payment
  • Available until
    November 14th


$ 1250 One-time payment
  • Available from November 15th until November 30th

At The Door

$ 1500 One-time payment
  • Available from December 1st until December 9th

Price sensitive? If you’re in corporate and engaging with startups, we want to see you. Contact us for discount and volunteer opportunities.
Contact us

Unleashing Startup Innovation
is included with the Membership.

CAF is a membership-based community by and for corporate innovators who work with startups. CAF members attend Unleashing Startup Innovation at no additional charge. If you collaborate with startups from within a large corporation, we invite you to apply for membership.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! The CAF community and offerings can help you prepare so when the time comes you can hit the ground running.  And in the meantime, your questions and awareness of the landscape can contribute to the group’s thinking.

With no experience and no current connection to a corporate doing this work, you won’t be able to contribute much or make much immediate use of what you learn at Unleashing Startup Innovation. That said, we have a limited number of spots for volunteers — this is a high-touch role that allows you to meet and support the community. Contact us to inquire!

This is a no-sales environment. If you’re coming to contribute, it’s a possibility! Please contact us to inquire!

Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, where these events will take place, have high vaccination rates, low case rates and good mask compliance. We’ll be following county rules very carefully, as well as the site guidelines, and we’re reasonably confident that in-person meetings will be possible in December. If not, we’ll meet online in the afternoons as well.  We’ll be masking when indoors and we’ll provide a way to signal your comfort level with social distance.

Companies we have worked with

Novartis Logo

We want to hear from you!

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