The innovative spirit of startups is one of their strengths, something that seems to disappear as a company matures. Does it have to be that way? In this episode of Unlearn, host Barry O’Reilly is joined by Elliott Parker, CEO of High Alpha Innovation, who is an expert in corporate innovation and entrepreneurship. Together, they explore how corporations can regain the innovative spirit of startups to drive growth and transformation, and it begins with changing how they think about traditional metrics and strategies.

Elliott Parker is a seasoned entrepreneur with a deep-rooted passion for innovation and problem-solving. With a background in working for large corporations and witnessing firsthand the power of entrepreneurship in his family, he brings a unique perspective on the intersection of startups and established companies.

Unlearning to Achieve Big Objectives

In a rapidly evolving business landscape, the ability to unlearn traditional practices and embrace new ways of thinking is crucial for fostering innovation and staying ahead of the curve. Elliott’s experience with disruptive events like the collapse of a well-established company highlighted the importance of taking control of fate and exploring alternative paths, even if they involve risks. Elliott seeks to challenge conventional wisdom and to be open to new approaches, so that organizations can adapt to change, drive growth, and seize opportunities that may not have been apparent before. [Listen from: 10:00]


Nature’s Innovation Process vs. Corporate Innovation

What can organizations learn from the Amazon jungle? Resilience and innovation. Elliott shares how companies can draw inspiration from nature to drive creativity and problem-solving. By emulating the decentralized, bottom-up approach to innovation seen in natural ecosystems, businesses can encourage experimentation, embrace uncertainty, and uncover novel solutions to complex challenges. Just as diverse organisms in the jungle adapt and thrive in response to constraints and opportunities, companies can benefit from fostering a culture of exploration and learning at all levels. [Listen from: 32:05]

Scaling Innovation with Corporations

When startups collaborate with corporations, they have access to resources, expertise, and networks that help them tackle complex issues and bring innovative solutions to the market at a much larger scale. Not only does innovation itself become scalable, it’s also a unique opportunity to address significant societal problems and drive meaningful change. Not only can this approach accelerate the pace of innovation, but also creates a ripple effect that begins in the company and reaches society as a whole. [Listen from: 36:13]

Impact of Broadening Insights Portfolio

Thinking of insights as valuable assets, like a diverse investment portfolio, is key to expanding knowledge within a company. By exploring different ideas, trying new things, and questioning the usual way of doing things, businesses can discover fresh opportunities for growth and change. Encouraging a culture of ongoing learning and curiosity, while steering clear of strict rules and top-down communication, helps companies stay flexible, evolve, and succeed in a constantly shifting business world. [Listen from: 38:44]