Keynote Speaker: Dan Toma
This article is written by Jeremiah Uke, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.
Dan is an expert on innovation strategy, product development, and startups. He comes from an entrepreneurial background. He has been involved with technology startups across the world and is an innovation community leader in Europe. Dan focuses now more on enterprise innovation management, specifically on the changes large organizations need to make to allow for new ventures to be built in a corporate setting.
He has worked with companies like Deutsche Telekom, Bosch, Jaguar Land Rover, and Allianz. A big proponent of the ecosystem approach to innovation, Dan has also worked with various government bodies, in Asia and Europe, helping developing national innovation ecosystems and implement national innovation strategies.
Dan has also worked and works in a variety of positions for different companies including being a Partner with UK company Outcome, an Independent External Consultant with Norwegian company Den Norse Bank, External Innovation Expert with German company Bayer, startup mentor and internationalization coach with Estonian company Startup Wise Guys.
The work experience gathered from the public and private sector has been translated into various experiential courses that Dan has delivered for universities such as the Royal Academy of Engineering or the University of Applied Science Rhein-Main.
In his book titled “The Corporate Startup: How Established Companies Can Develop Successful Innovation Ecosystems”, Dan explains how Big companies need to innovate or die. Companies need a playbook; a process by which they can start the process of transforming their organizations into innovation engines, according to Dan the best way to innovate is for a large company to view itself as an innovation ecosystem. Because of their core business, an established company cannot be as flexible as a startup, who can throw itself at creating one single product. Instead, established companies need to increase their innovation capabilities from within, without endangering their core business. This requires a big change in the organizational structure, that should ultimately lead to a company that can both search for new business models and executes on existing ones.
Dan delivered a keynote speech and a workshop at Startup Istanbul 2017, he was attracted on learning that it is the biggest technology convergence in the region, mentioning that he was interested in coming to Istanbul, he talks about the benefits of Startup Istanbul being the opportunity to meet with investors and also network with entrepreneurs from all over the world. He advises entrepreneurs to take the advantage of being in such a culturally diverse environment and try to talk to as many people as possible, hinting at ideas, partnerships and investments can come from anywhere.