Banner Default Image

Top Five Quotes from FUSE2015

Simon La Fosse

20 October 2015

by Simon La Fosse

( Words)

​Disruption, innovation, collaboration and failure were a few of the topics covered by the speakers at this year’s Fuse 2015 event.

The event aimed to ignite corporate-startup alliances by encouraging the 300 CXOs from big businesses and the founders of startups to share insights, start conversations and build relationships. The turnout was exceptional with attendees from eBay,, M&S and O2, to name a few.

It’s difficult to pick only five soundbites from our speakers to sum up the Fuse 2015 event, so we will be posting video and more detailed content shortly. However, highlights included;

1. “FUSE2015 is all about bringing startups and corporates together”

Simon La Fosse, CEO at La Fosse Associates, began the event by setting this out as the cornerstone of Fuse 2015: connecting the start-up and corporate communities to encourage collaboration so both business types benefit.

Such co-operation is all too rare but “there is a huge potential to collaborate together.” By joining forces, big businesses can better innovate and startups can scale up faster.

2. “Innovation labs kill ideas”

Trevor Owens, CEO and founder of The Lean Enterprise, gave an insightful talk on how big companies can capitalise on the startup movement while still keeping talent in house.

The usual route for most companies is to create an “innovation lab,” but more often than not, this model kills ideas.

What’s needed is a healthy flow of ideas and a structure to spin out the best ideas into companies which can act independently of the corporate. Some will fail, but the good ones will gain traction and can then be brought back in-house and scaled up. This reduces risk and cost, while keeping innovation, talent, and IP in the business.

3. “Innovation is in our DNA.”

Paul Coby, CIO at John Lewis, shared his experiences on using technology to keep the 150 year old department store in business.

One element is the JLab programme, now in its second year, which is designed to fast track the growth of startup companies. Each year, 10 startups are given unique access to John Lewis, helping them refine their products and their business models before a winner is picked and given a £100,000 investment towards their fledgling business.

Coby added that “we learn from startups and they learn from us” and John Lewis “has had and will have to continue to transform” to succeed and survive another 150 years.

4. “It’s not a David and Goliath relationship.”

Emma Cerrone, CEO and co-founder at Freeformers, with Steven Roberts, Strategy and Transformation Director at Barclays, on stage at FUSE 2015

Emma Cerrone, CEO and co-founder at Freeformers, was joined by Steven Roberts, Strategy and Transformation Director at Barclays. They explained how their businesses partnered to bring digital literacy to 1,200 Barclay employees a year in the Digital Eagles programme.

The collaboration between the huge banking powerhouse and fast-growing startup is successful thanks to both parties being humble, creative, inquisitive and respectful. Roberts added: “for a large corporation like Barclays, the only way we are going to survive is to have relationships with these smaller companies that are starting out.”

5. “Embrace the F word”

Jeremy Basset, Global Marketing Strategy Director at Unilever, on stage at FUSE 2015

Jeremy Basset, Global Marketing Strategy Director at Unilever, said “As a large organisation, we have managed to market research our way out of failure and I think this is to our detriment. Failure is what allows you to iterate, learn and then relaunch in a bigger and much better way.”

Basset is a part of the Unilever Foundry, which has worked with 65 startups to solve business challenges. Not only should big businesses “prepare to be inspired” by startups, they also need to “think big, start small and act fast” to capitalise on a startup partnership.

La Fosse Associates is passionate about encouraging and facilitating greater collaboration across their client base both in big business and startup land and it’s this that drove them to create FUSE2015.

Guests mingle in the bar, overlooking the London Eye, at FUSE 2015