On March 28 in London we were invited by Economist Impact to join the  Business Innovation Summit. The panel moderated by Thomas Lee-Devlin, Global business correspondent, The Economist was about “Building businesses of the future: to what extent is innovation key to growth?”.

Here below a collection of the main takeaways of the discussion:

  • “The CIO job is not to tell the time, rather to build the clock. We need to keep the company ahead of the curve. To do so we have a very broad task, ranging from innovation to sustainability and diversity” said Mark Sandys, Chief Innovation Officer at Diageo.
  • My role is to create the right ecosystem and make innovation  part of the culture and the purpose of the company. Only this way we can catch up with new trends and be customer centric”, added Sandrine Gadol, Chief Innovation Officer, North America, L’Oréal.
  • Top level buy-in is key. “A good CEO needs to set-up the innovation environment and encourage the right behaviors.. My goal? Making banking one inch better every day”, commented Barbaros Uygun, Chief Executive, Mox Bank Limited.
  • Large companies are very good at incremental innovation. The larger the company the more averse to risk is”, said Julian Birkinshaw, Vice-dean and professor of strategy and entrepreneurship, London Business School.
  • Regarding speed and ability to innovate there is no match between large companies and startups. Startups do invest hundreds of millions on a single topic. And they do it in a flexible and risk tolerant environment. Whatever the size of their R&D budget, large players can’t move at the same speed and with the same focus. There is no alternative for large corporates than collaborating with startups. To do so they need to activate multiple tools (from Venture Client to CVC and Intrapreneurship) to address different innovation goals and horizons” concluded Alberto Onetti, Chairman, Mind the Bridge.