Pioneers Discover Tests New Waters at Corporate Incubation & Acceleration Summit

By March 19, 2019February 2nd, 2024No Comments

Photo Credit: Sebastian Kreuzberger

Last week, on March 12th-13th, Pioneers Discover welcomed 150 innovation managers from around Europe to our headquarters in Vienna, where they spent two days exchanging knowledge at the Corporate Incubation & Acceleration Summit.

This was our consultancy arm’s first foray into this type of event format. Bringing 150 innovation managers – most of them corporate competitors – together to share best innovation practices is a little different from the hackathons, bootcamps and innovation days for which Pioneers Discover is known. (Our established events usually have a strong startup presence and many formats serve only one corporate client.)

Nonetheless the Corporate Incubation & Acceleration Summit (also known as CoInAAc) proved its worth during two busy days in the Austrian capital. Local power utility Wien Energie, with whom Pioneers Discover already partners for the Wien Energie Innovation Challenge, were one of the main partners for the event. They brought insights and experience on the key issue of cross industry collaboration.

Among the highlights was the very well-received keynote from Kristian Luoma of the OP Financial Group, Finland’s largest. In the talk he shared his experience of scaling the company’s OP Lab innovation team from 20 to over 150 people.

The two Best Practice Slams were also a hit. These brought a competitive, engaging element to proceedings by pitting the innovation leaders (and their programs) against each other in a pitching contest of sorts. The summit participants then voted on what they thought was the best practice, using our FlashRate rating platform.

The first Best Practice Slam tackled the topic of how to create an attractive program for startups. This saw a spot of role reversal from most innovation events: the corporates took a grilling from a panel of startups! After all was said and done, the audience voted for Wayra, after the pitch by the global accelerator’s Germany CEO Christian Lindener.

The second Best Practice Slam, where cultural change was the topic, went to the Vienna State Opera. Their pitch was delivered by its Head of Digital Development, Christopher Widauer, who had also given CoInAAc speakers a tour around this famous Vienna attraction on the day before the event began. The Vienna State Opera had worked with us previously as a sponsor of the VC CultTech Hackathon.

“It was great to see the attendees sharing experiences and best practices with each other throughout the two days,” said Pioneers Discover Project Lead Ruby Wallen. “For Pioneers Discover it was amazing to facilitate new relationships by bringing existing clients together with each other, as well as with players from our ecosystem.”

Meetings between participants at CoInAAc were suggested, requested, accepted and automatically scheduled via our Match & Meet networking service.

Pioneers Discover organized the Corporate Incubation & Acceleration Summit in partnership with EnterpriseUP. Further partners included Wien Energie, Kickbox, Raiffeisen Bank International, Energie Steiermark, Palfinger, Talent Garden, ÖBB, Veepee and WolfTheiss.

To get learn more about Pioneers Discover’s future innovation programs and how your company can get involved, email

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