Before the internet, innovation used to be called R&D and was in the hands of large companies.  But the digital has created a big bang in the business world, transforming all industries. None of them is safe from being disrupted by the young and inspired startups mushrooming around the world. How can corporates innovate like or with startups? What challenges are facing Innovation Managers today?

The Innovation Mixer, whose first edition took place last week, aims at building better bridges between corporates and startups.  Co-organized by the Hub Singapore and Innovation Is Everywhere, it brought together the corporate and the startup world for an experimental night of networking and experience sharing.

10 tips for innovators from the Innovation Mixer night

It is not the strongest, neither the most intelligent species that survive, it is the most adaptable ones” said Dave Lim, entrepreneur and founding director of Innovation X, who leveraged on The Coca-Cola Company’s resources. He started the event with 10 tips for innovation managers:

  • Start with the question “Why?”. Make sure you know what you try to achieve. It’s not about guidelines yet.
  • Know what you can leverage, what you can bring on the table (eg: Coke had the largest and constantly updated database of restaurants and F&B companies, a very powerful asset).
  • Get out of the box, go outside the office.
  • Connect and converse a lot.
  • Be humble. It’s not possible to understand everything.
  • Stay hungry, stay foolish.
  • Find the right friends, don’t go alone.
  • Let it go, stop having a controling mindset.
  • Learn by doing, get your hands dirty. It doesn’t mean that your strategic analysis will not be useful, but there is a lot of other things you will learn only by doing.
  • Do one thing starting tomorrow that really scares you. If that doesn’t scare you, it is not innovative.

Innovation Mixer startups corporates 1st edition Singapore


A panel of corporates discussed the challenges of the digital transformation in their companies. “What we do in large companies is incremental addition to products. This is not disruption, only improvement” explains Vaasu Gavarasana, ex-Digital Marketing head at AXA. “It is very challenging for the innovation manager if the CEO of the company doesn’t have a vision for innovation. Because large companies care always about the next quarter’s profits but disruptive innovation takes more time before being profitable”.   “To see impact, you need to get people in your company to buy it, to get excited about it” adds Dave Lim. Employees as well must have a feeling of mission. David Nosibor, Innovation Promoter at Mazars, is encouraging intrapreneurship through innovation challenges involving employees and startups. “We want to change the way our staff works on a daily basis. We help them come up with prototypes and we get funding for the most innovative ideas”.

5 startups for corporates to work with curated by the Innovation Mixer

A bunch of curated startups pitched during the event, such as the “world’s first fully autonomous drone operation platform” SwarmX to help companies get the data they need without the operational struggle. Other startups included the connected photo-booth Instaroid, the augmented reality brower Blippar, the data-based recruitment platform Ideatory, NextBillion, a startup enabling companies to engage hard-to-reach emerging consumers via a suite of mobile video, voice and SMS platforms, and Gone Adventurin, helping companies to discover a bigger purpose.

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Innovation Mixer startups corporates 1st edition Singapore

Innovation Mixer startups corporates 1st edition Singapore