What Is a Corporate Innovation Accelerator?

Innovation accelerators are growth programs that provide support to business concepts and ideas in order to scale quickly. This support can be carried out in the form of resources, networking, mentorship, and learning opportunities.

When these programs are carried out by a corporation, either externally or internally, they are known as “corporate innovation accelerators”. These types of initiatives have grown significantly in popularity in recent years, as more and more companies realize the importance of continuous innovation.

Read on to learn about the different types of corporate acceleration and some notable examples of companies running these types of programs.

Types of Corporate Innovation Programs

Not all corporate innovation accelerators are the same. Although all acceleration programs are created for the purpose of speeding up innovation, each one leverages a different business model.

Let’s take a look at three of the most common types of corporate innovation accelerators out there:

  • External corporate accelerators: with this type of program, companies partner with third-party accelerators to obtain funding. The program would be run externally while integrating corporate innovation professionals at the accelerator’s office. This type of structure provides easy access to the startup community and plenty of collaboration opportunities.
  • Open innovation programs: this is a model in which startups embed themselves at the offices of a large corporation. Through this arrangement, startups are provided with financing and other resources, while fostering innovation at the corporation.
  • Innovation outposts: these are managed by employees instead of third parties, and they usually take place at a specific physical office designated by the corporation. Innovation programs are created by the company staff working at that location, both through market research and collaborations with startups.

Examples of Corporate Innovation Accelerators

Corporate acceleration is valuable for companies of all sizes and industries. The exact purpose and structure of these programs differ, but their overall goal remains the development and execution of new ideas.

Some prominent examples of corporate accelerators are listed below:

  • Telefonica launched a tech-focused open innovation program called Wayra.
  • Both Vodafone and Nestle have opened innovation outposts in Silicon Valley.
  • Samsung partnered with Mobeam, a company focused on the integration of payment systems to add a barcode scanning feature to their Galaxy smartphone devices.
  • Microsoft’s M12 venture capital fund, helping enterprise-level tech startups leverage the power of Microsoft.
  • The Disney Accelerator helps startups that aim to innovate within the media and entertainment industry.