Orchestrating Internal <> External Innovation Ecosystems

Simon Maechling, Veronica Ogeto-Tchoketch, Eric Acton & Lilac Ilan

Innovation Manager at Bayer Crop Science / Head of Strategic Partnerships and Ventures at Safaricom / Head of Innovation Ecosystems at Rolls Royce / AVP, Ecosystem Innovation at AT&T

as recorded on 17 February 2022 as part of Innov8rs Connect on Startup Collaboration & Ecosystem Engagement

As innovators, we sometimes feel living in two separate worlds at the same time. There's so much happening at a high pace outside of our organization- we need to stay on top of developments in order to play the desired role in those ecosystems. Internally, things seem to move less faster, yet you can't afford to miss being part of the right conversations with the right stakeholders, not in the least to keep getting the necessary support and resources.

How do we find balance, and orchestrate what's happening outside and inside our organizations? We heard from innovation leaders across sectors about their successes, failures and everything in between.

About the speaker

With >16 years’ experience in R&D, Simon Maechling plays a central role in fostering strategic partnerships around the globe and supporting programs of internal and external innovation to accelerate Bayer’s industry leading R&D pipeline. He is a strong champion for both external and pre-competitive partnering as a driving force for innovation with 14 original research publication in peer reviewed journals and >40 patent applications. Based in Lyon, France he is a strong promotor of open innovation and new technologies for agriculture.

Veronica is an accomplished Corporate Innovation Executive with a track record of performance coupled with International experience having held Senior Management roles in Europe, Middle East and Africa, where her responsibility spanned at any time between 17-24 country markets with top tier firms in the ICT sector such as Zain, Airtel, Safaricom. Most recently, as the Head of Strategic Partnerships and Ventures at Safaricom, she is responsible for building Strategic Partnerships and undertaking Investments (through the Safaricom Spark Venture Fund) that fuel both Telco and non-Telco innovation and solve customer problems at speed and scale, while unlocking New Digital Revenue Streams and/or Businesses. Veronica establishes the key link between Safaricom and industry players at the forefront of Innovation. She is a Board member of Eneza and a member of the National Innovation Advisory Committee of the Kenya National Innovation Agency. She has been honored with various industry awards and is a champion of Safaricom Women In Technology and Safaricom Women in Business. Veronica has a B.Sc. (Information Science – ICT), First Class Honors and an MBA. She is married with 4 children and has a passion for helping the youth achieve their full potential by empowering them in business and technology.

Eric Acton is the Head of Innovation Ecosystems at R2 Data Labs, the innovation catalyst, enabler and accelerator for Rolls-Royce’s digital transformation. His role can be summarized by 3 verbs: Connect, Collaborate, Commercialize. Eric can best be described as an entrepreneurial, pioneering, digital business & technology leader. A relentless change agent, always challenging the status quo, questioning the assumptions and looking for a better way. When he’s not off being the evangelist, or out leading the team, he’ll be behind the scenes, the collaborative, persuasive, lateral thinking guy that just makes it happen. Equally comfortable rolling up his sleeves in a start-up environment and navigating the cultural and bureaucratic landscapes of Global 100 enterprises, he’s a great believer in the Art of the Possible!

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