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IAG Labs Wrestles with Incubating a Start-up

Thursday, 12 May 2016


As corporate Australia’s fascination with innovation and start-up culture continues unabated, the director of strategic initiatives at insurer IAG’s Customer Labs project is wrestling with how to grow a start-up – and perhaps even a $1 billion ‘unicorn’ – from inside a corporate shop.

“There’s a lot of interest in corporates about the start-up process at the moment,” Andrew Stead told CeBIT’s big data analytics conference in Sydney.

“There’s a phenomena at the moment for the boards of ASX-listed companies to tour Silicon Valley. They come away saying they’re going to be disrupted and that they must put in place some sort of plan.

“So if you’re inside these corporates, much is talked about disruption from start-ups and new technologies. That drives us to look at opportunities to change.”

Though Stead has been with IAG for less than three months, his mission is to effectively build and grow start-ups inside a corporate environment.

“This for me is the start of a journey of an experimental phase,” Stead said.

“I’ve come out of accelerators and incubators. The reason I joined IAG was to try and bring in some of those mechanisms into the business.

“But you have to be clear about what the objectives are for the organisation and how they best fit the type of program you want to initiate.”

One of the main problems that start-ups face is that their trajectory isn’t linear.

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