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Innovation Ventures

Although there are countless advantages that come with a partnership like this, Varley explains that one clear advantage would come from within the organization through its existing employees. He says that the employees “see how other companies operate – they see how much more nimble they can be – and they want to bring that into their organization. So they start finding ways to break down the internal rigidity.”

Research and Development is a necessity for a business to thrive, however there are many bottlenecks and misconceptions that come with the process as a whole. One primary misconception that Varley touches on is the overall role of an R&D professional. He states that “the key is to enable the people in R&D to be gatekeepers and to understand that their role is to not necessarily to always invent everything, but to identify what the right things are.” 

Digging deeper into the bottlenecks of this process, Varley expresses some frustration he has with organizations that don’t understand how much of a hurdle they make for their R&D when they push back deadlines. “One of the bigger hurdles is getting them to understand that the difference in pace extends beyond just start-ups being able to do things faster because they’re smaller – they get paid differently,” he explains. “I have to remind managers all the time ‘You get paid every two weeks. You can push a project off for a month. You still get paid every two weeks. That could be the difference between these guys putting food on the table.’ And so we need to be respectful of those differences, and as the partnership internally develops, people do get that respect.”

Another important topic that Varley touches on is how important it is to have the right person in the seat when it comes to introducing a startup. “You also need to have someone who understands the different parts of the organization,” he explains. “Someone who’s trusted by the different parts of the organizations – who, when they make an introduction of a startup to a particular group, they’re going to be taken seriously.”

When asked about what his outlook in 2023 was, Varley emphasized being heavily involved in his industry for a while. With his time in the business world, he explains that there have been many ups and downs. With the future, he encourages with “You just figure out how to ride through it. You don’t panic, you don’t batten down the hatches, you don’t slam the doors – you say ‘okay, let’s just work our way through it.’ Nobody knows for certain whether the recession is ahead or not. There are all kinds of indicators that say it can’t be because employment is so high – there are other indicators that are typically used as recession indicators. I’m not an economist – I can’t say whether there’s going to be one or not.”

As far as the startup business goes, Varley is extremely optimistic. “It actually makes it the most exciting and the best time to get into this. If you’re a corporation and you’re thinking about corporate venturing, you do not want to start at the top of the market when valuations are astronomical.” 


  • Seth Adler

    Seth Adler heads up All Things Insights & All Things Innovation. He has spent his career bringing people together around content. He has a dynamic background producing events, podcasts, video, and the written word.


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