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Collaboration, not Disruption is the Driving Force behind Innovation in Asia

A common narrative these days, amongst tech-startups, is one in which an underdog ‘Disrupter’ would turn the tide in their favours and overcome impossible odds against corporate hegemony in any industry, much like how David defeated Goliath, using nothing but ingenuity and innovation. Since the first day of RISE Corporate Innovation Powerhouse, however, we thought differently. It has rather been a core belief of our founder, Dr.Kid Parchariyanon, that it is collaboration, not disruption, that can truly pave the way forward, providing win-win solutions to corporates and startups, big and smalls, for exponential and sustainable economic growth in Asia.


Such a view echoes that of Peter Thiel’s, one of the original startup entrepreneurs during the dot-com era, co-founder of Paypal, one of the first online payment systems, and a partner of Elon Musk in their various ventures. Here, Thiel has given an interesting perspective on disruption, saying that the very concept itself is not very helpful to the startups. He reasons that within the logic of disruption, startups are playing into the games of the old corporates, trying to come up with new strategies to gain a distinct advantage in order to knock off the incumbents from their thrones, but ultimately still playing the same game against the players who have both more experience and immeasurably more resources at their expenditure to win against you at all cost. Such a competition is unlikely to tip in favor of our Davids, the startups, in any way.


Take, for instance, the story of Uber and Grab, the two foremost names in ride-hailing and sharing economy, in Thailand. For a time, Uber seemed like the poster child of the Disruptor: a company that, within the span of a few years, came to dominate the ride-sharing economy, taking businesses away from traditional taxi services as if they were the only game in town. Fast forward a few years, and Uber is all but extinct, itself having been disrupted by its own disruptive attitude towards the incumbent, the local taxi operators who were all too eager to leverage their long-honed expertise in legal and social matters to eliminate what they saw as a threat to their very livelihood. Grab, on the other hand, took a very different approach. Under its Grab Taxi service, it fostered goodwill relationship with local businesses, and integrating them within its own platform, and the result of this collaborative, not disruptive, attitude speaks for itself.


On a broader scale, while corporates big and small are slowly coming to term with the reality of disruption, a lot of them also realise the need to collaborate. Corporates who command high market share have invaluable experience and expertise within their field, with financial prowess to match, but they at times could become overburdened by their very own successes to innovate and change at a pace needed: a gap in expertise in which startups can perfectly bridge with their creative, can-do attitudes. Because of the very clear advantages, this symbiotic relationship has to offer, in the recent years many such collaboration has come to fruition near and far. 


Closer to home, RISE has been very active in fostering collaboration between corporates and startups. our RISE.AI in 2019 saw us bringing together its partners, the corporate giants Krungsri, PTTEP, and Thairath, to meeting up with the most advanced, state-of-the-art startups from around the world to showcasing their innovative approaches to addressing the pain points these incumbents were experiencing. From using AI to streamlining HR process for better recruitment process, to implementing robotics in exploration of natural resources, and even finding novel ways to efficiently delivering news content to customers, the breadth of their industries served to further highlight that any industry can stand to benefit from innovation, and that anyone can stand to benefit from collaborations.


Far from our shore, our partners abroad are of similar vocation, and our fruitful partnerships with Enterprise Singapore (ESG), and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) can attest to this, as both have welcomed RISE to supercharge the collaborative efforts within their tech ecosystem to the benefits of all. In our latest fundraising Seed Round, we managed to raise USD 8 million, one of the largest Seed Round in Southeast Asia, in order to expand its services and offerings exponentially to other countries in the region. It seems that everyone who is listening has listened and got the message clearly and understandingly, and they want this vision, to collaborate, not to disrupt, to materialize above all else.


Staying true to his vision, for the upcoming Corporate Innovation Summit 2020 (CIS 2020), Asia’s largest experiential conference, Dr. Kid said that “for CIS, even though we have started it, but we never meant to finish it alone. Our goal is to mark CIS as the flagship conference for Southeast Asia, and this will succeed only if we are able to pull the efforts of win-win collaborations among key players within the region and make an impact out of these collaborations together.” And with 20,000+ CEOs and top executives from across the globe, along with innovation experts, fast-growing startups, accelerators, and investors from every industry taking part, a lot of collaboration is sure to take place.


Come take part and start collaborating in Corporate Innovation Summit 2020 to acquire new mindsets, skill sets, and toolsets for executing breakthrough innovations through more than 240 workshops and over 100 keynotes and panels run by world-class thought leaders. With the bold mission to drive 1% of GDP for Thailand and Southeast Asia, RISE, a leading corporate innovation powerhouse, envisions CIS 2020 as a gateway to Southeast Asia’s market, the new promising destination for business and innovation with its $100-billion-internet-economy opportunity.