Corporate innovation marks an enormous opportunity for tech companies today. Large organizations are embracing innovation and disruption to stay competitive in their industries, sometimes partnering with startups that can provide efficient solutions. But these partnerships can be tricky to manage, as startups and corporations tend to work at different speeds and often have goals that aren’t clearly aligned.

Fortunately, our guest on this episode is one of those rare tech professionals who understands innovation from the perspective of both startups and enterprises. Chris Gray is a director of the Electrification Digital Accelerator at Cummins, a global corporation based in Columbus, Indiana. There, he works to innovate the technology and processes of a 58,000-person company. He’s also led innovation on the startup side, founding and running an EdTech startup for seven years before joining Cummins.

Thanks to his dual perspective, Chris knows what it takes for large companies and startups to work harmoniously toward corporate innovation. He helps us break down the nitty-gritty of corporate innovation in this episode, explaining how corporations and startups can find each other, and how they can work together in a mutually beneficial way. He also shares insights on the problems each side can encounter in an innovation partnership—and how to recover from them.

In this episode on corporate innovation with Chris Gray of Cummins, you’ll learn:

  • The importance of creating a vision for both startups and large corporations.
  • Why startups should “plant seeds” with a variety of potential corporate partners.
  • Tips to avoid wasting time on a partnership that goes nowhere.
  • The best way to approach a pilot from both a startup and corporate perspective.
  • How the most successful corporations foster cultures of innovation and disruption.
  • Why commitments to diversity and inclusion are especially important for large organizations.

Please enjoy this conversation with Chris Gray!

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Chris Gray quotes from this episode of Igniting Startups:

Links and resources mentioned in this episode:

Companies and organizations:


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What stood out most to you about what Chris Gray share in this podcast?

For me, it’s how the most successful corporations foster cultures of innovation and disruption..

You? Leave a comment below.


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