Unleashing Startup

Spinning the Flywheel

November 4, 2022

In Person in Silicon Valley

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. 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 given corporate strategy, structure and culture?  There’s a lot of friction at the start, … what if you could inject enough energy in the right way to move through the sticky phase and get the startup innovation flywheel spinning?  

For this annual event, the Corporate Accelerator Forum curates thoughtful practitioners who lead serious approaches to startup innovation, at all different stages of spinning the flywheel.  Come learn with and from peers in the field!

Unleashing Startup Innovation | Spinning the Flywheel focuses on corporate-startup partnership.  InnoLead’s West Coast Impact conference  (November 2 and 3) focuses on corporate innovation in general.  Chances are you need both!  To make it easier to join both conferences, attendees of Unleashing Startup Innovation receive a 20% discount to Impact, and Impact attendees receive a 20% discount to Unleashing Startup Innovation.  Register for either conference first to get started!

This event is organized in partnership with InnoLead

CAF is an ecosystem

For six years, CAF has worked with large corporates who partner with startups in order to move faster.  In 2022 we created Click | the Startup Accelerator for Corporate Partnership, to help startups partner with corporates so they can go bigger.  The evening before our November 4 event, join us for a friendly, low-stakes gathering of startups and corporates.  Expand your network, have fun, see how the other half lives, and ask your burning questions in a non-transactional setting.

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.

Companies You May Meet

Discussion Hosts

Amanda Cashin, PhD

Global Head of Illumina For Startups

Diana Joseph

CEO Corporate Accelerator Forum

Andrea Kates

Builder of high impact Cross-Industry ecosystems

R. Sean Randolph, PhD

Senior Director & President/CEO Emeritus of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.

Dr. Steven Jones

CEO & Founder at JONES

Scott Kirsner


Felipe Negritto

Planning & Portfolio Management,
the Walt Disney Company


Agenda subject to change, watch this space!

Thursday, November 3: IMPACT After-Party / Unleashing Pre-Party with InnoLead and the Paccar Innovation Center!


Friday, November 4: Unleashing Startup Innovation | Spinning the Flywheel

Spinning the Flywheel – A flywheel stores energy in kinetic form — in other words, once you put energy into it by making it spin, it won’t want to stop.  A body in motion tends to remain in motion.  How do you get the flywheel of startup innovation going, and how do you keep it in spin?   

We begin our programming promptly at 10 AM. We hope you’ll join early for some extra connection time. 

9 AM Optional
Informal social time, light breakfast on site

10 AM
Programming starts
promptly — Understanding the Landscape

11:00 AM
Discussions — Where does the kinetic energy come from?

  • Global to Local: Sean Randolph, Bay Area Council Economic Institute
  • Corporate Transformation: Andrea Kates, SUMA
  • Diversity and Innovation: Dr. Steven Jones, Jones Inclusive

12:00 PM
Lock In the Learning

12:30 PM

1:30 PM
Discussions —
How do we know it’s working?  

  • Amanda Cashin, Illumina for Startups
  • Impacts and Results:  Felipe Negritto, The Walt Disney Company
  • Innovation Accounting, after the book by Dan Toma and Esther Gons with Diana Joseph, Corporate Accelerator Forum

2:30 PM
Lock in the Learning

3:00 PM

3:15 PM
Discussions — How do we keep the wheel spinning?

  • Beautiful Bureaucracy —  Getting your Innovation Processes Right 
  • Feeding the Energy Back In:  Scott Kirsner of InnoLead shares the latest, not-yet-released MIT research on corporate-startup innovation 
  • Emergent Topic — Our insights on November 4 will surely generate at least one new idea we haven’t thought of in advance.  Who will emerge as the discussion host?  Will it be you?

4:15 PM
Lock in the Learning


4:45 PM
Relax with a glass of something nice!  Self-organized dinner to follow.

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
  • Curated experience to match your needs

Carefully crafted based on the science of learning, each discussion round 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

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 onboarding conversation so we understand your needs, goals and experience.  

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
    October 1st


$ 1250 One-time payment
  • Available from October 2nd until October 28th

At The Door

$ 1500 One-time payment
  • Available from October 28st until November 4th

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 Especially for Members (others invited too!)

CAF is a membership-based community by and for corporate innovators who work with startups. CAF Members are the heartbeat of Unleashing Startup Innovation and receive integrated benefits at no additional charge. If you collaborate with startups from within a large corporation, or if its time for you to do that, we invite you to apply for membership.

Need a taste first?  Pay the a la carte rate above and we’ll apply it to your Annual Membership when you join within one quarter.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our Members and experts collectively have decades of experience, and we’d be delighted to include you.  If discussion and idea-testing among seasoned voices appeals to you, you’re in the right place.  

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!

Companies we have worked with

Novartis Logo
Innolead Unleashing Startup Innovation logo

We want to hear from you!

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