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The Review

Many corporate accelerators are adding to ‘innovation theatre’

Off the Record

Innovation has moved to the forefront of corporate agendas.

With this growing interest, comes a line of partnerships and spaces that have emerged over the years. Unfortunately, not all of these efforts -corporate accelerators to be exact- have lived up to their mission.

The sad reality is many corporate accelerator models are “by corporates for corporate interest”, adding to ‘innovation theatre’, otherwise known as innovation just for show.

Today, many corporate accelerators have become a place to draw up excitement by experimenting with innovation, but failing to help scale and commercialize any startups. A large part of this is because many corporate accelerators are not truly unlocking their internal resources and extensive networks to solve the problems they say they care about.

The fact is, many of these corporate accelerators haven’t found a formula that gives both startups and corporates what they want. The current state of these spaces have not established a ‘win-win’ for both parties.

So, how can corporate accelerators do better?

To become a constructive part of the global innovation ecosystem, it’s necessary to build a model that can help startups leverage corporate assets in order to scale and grow (instead of it feeling like it’s the other way around).

Stop working in silos – there are a number of great incubators and accelerators within the ecosystem. Instead of putting resources towards something new or hiring an incubator/accelerator to run an accelerator, find ways to support what’s already working within current incubator/accelerator programs that can also support your end goal.

If you’re a corporate going forward with an accelerator program, then you need to understand the playing field. Trying to add corporate bureaucracies and fixed procedures will not be conducive to an environment that should be focusing on startup growth.

In many cases, there seems to be more effort, time and money being put into launching corporate accelerator spaces than there is notable opportunities for entrepreneurs. And until these points are addressed, startups -the ones who can’t afford to waste time during a pivotal part of their growth- will feel disconnected and dissatisfied by the efforts of such spaces.