What We Learnt As Intrapreneurs And Why We Exist | Studio Zao

Discover the origins of Studio Zao & why we came to be. Learn about our founders & how they plan to change the way we think about corporate innovation.

“We care about what we do, how we do it and most importantly, why it matters.”

While it’s easy to get swept up in the here and now, it’s important to take a step back and reflect on days gone by.

Here at Studio Zao, we’re an ambitious organisation with a focused mission to make positive leaps forward in the world of internal entrepreneurship, or intrapreneurship (learn more here), and innovation.

After our Founders established themselves as successful entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers, they joined forces to channel their frustrations into a bigger vision to help businesses embrace internal entrepreneurship.

Read on to explore the beginnings of Studio Zao, the inspiration behind our mission, and discover why we believe intrapreneurship holds the key to unlocking the future of corporate innovation.

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The Origins Of Studio Zao

Studio Zao was inspired by mutual frustrations and observations, shared by a pair of seasoned entrepreneurs, Jamie Qiu and Davide Turi.

Both Jamie and Davide were fascinated by the idea of driving innovation in large corporations by adopting a people-oriented approach — intrapreneurship. Their combined passion to inspire, change and make a positive difference forms the helix of Studio Zao’s DNA.

So, let’s rewind the clock and take a deep dive into the history of our Founders.

Jamie Qiu

Jamie Qiu — Founder and Managing Partner

Jamie has years of hands-on experience as an internal entrepreneur. He was the Founder and Director of Ernst & Young’s (EY) Startup Accelerator and Head of Open Innovation Ecosystems, helping global corporations across energy, retail, media and telecoms with enterprise innovation strategy and programmes. He’s also got his hands dirty as the Managing Director of Startupbootcamp’s Fintech Accelerator in Dubai, investing in and incubating early-stage FinTech startups to scale across the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.

After years of experience as an intrapreneur creating EY’s Startup Accelerator, Jamie came face-to-face with the trials and tribulations of embracing innovation in a corporate setting. While he loved identifying problems, proposing innovative solutions and developing concepts to gain executive support, corporate environments weren’t geared to support his way of working.

Jamie’s first-hand experience pushed him to evolve the way businesses approach corporate innovation. His solution was to build upon his passion for intrapreneurship by helping organisations develop their own internal entrepreneurs who could embrace innovation through a more defined role and become agents of change.

Davide Turi

Davide Turi — Founding Partner

Davide’s wealth of experience in the world of entrepreneurship and innovation spans across two decades. After leading corporate innovation initiatives for FTSE 100 and multinational companies, Davide has worked as a Lean Entrepreneurship trainer and coach for the likes of Virgin Startup, Imperial College London, UCL, Mass Challenge and Wayra UK. He’s a serial entrepreneur, having founded three ventures with one exit under his belt.

As his pioneering work on the Lean Startup Methodology slingshotted his influence in the startup world, Davide observed a recurring block between great ideas and how they were translated in practice. He was determined to forge an inspiring environment where innovators and senior executives could enjoy fluid synergies and speak the same language.

Davide was also motivated by the age-old problem of embracing entrepreneurial risk in a corporate setting. He wanted to address the conservative attitudes of large organisations and encourage iterative experimentation.

Empowering The Role Of An Intrapreneur

Jamie and Davide’s shared passion for intrapreneurship brought them together at a networking event in 2018. After many years of internalising their personal frustrations and toying with plans to kickstart individual side hustles, Studio Zao’s Founders had finally struck gold.

A few months down the line, the ambitious duo got down to work — kicking things off with an open innovation strategy workshop to help DTG enhance collaboration across the value-chain of the broadcast television sector.

Jamie and Davide’s mutual frustrations around corporate innovation formed the building blocks of Studio Zao.

  • Fostering a Culture of Innovation. Almost all businesses are brimming with untapped entrepreneurial talent. Studio Zao helps organisations harness that talent from within by empowering intrapreneurship and promoting a company-wide culture of innovation. 
  • Helping Entrepreneurial Talent Find Their Voice. Why can’t intrapreneurs find their voice in large organisations? Studio Zao provides employees with the tools and know-how to communicate killer ideas to senior executives with maximum impact.
  • Embracing a Lean and Experimentative Mindset. How can large corporations embrace experimentation to learn from their actions and adopt a Lean Startup methodology? Studio Zao helps intrapreneurs translate the business value of their innovations to executive decision-makers.
  • Empowering Intrapreneurs in Corporate Environments. Both Davide and Jamie were juggling side hustles alongside their main source of income to quench their entrepreneurial thirst. Why can’t corporate environments empower and inspire intrapreneurs to express their creativity at work?

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Evolving Innovative Corporate Culture Through People

While most corporations attempt to embrace corporate innovation by focusing on organisational structures and various innovation frameworks, Studio Zao believes a people-orientated approach is the way forward.

Connecting creative minds and building inspiring environments that promote innovation can help businesses distil intrapreneurship into a learned-skill. Studio Zao’s people-orientated approach is all about embedding intrapreneurship across entire organisations — encouraging repeated entrepreneurial behaviours as the ‘new normal’.

Champion Intrapreneurial Talent

Did you know that 69% of professionals say they would leave their current position for a similar role at an organisation who embraces innovation?

Jamie and Davide’s diverse team of innovation specialists are committed to unleashing untapped talent from within organisations. Delegating creative control and ownership to in-house teams can fuel a culture of innovation where employees feel empowered and driven by a tangible purpose.

As more and more organisations face losing talented employees to entrepreneurship, spotting the traits of successful intrapreneurs and empowering these prized individuals holds the key to unlocking the full potential of your team.

Unleash Intrapreneurship to drive
Strategic Change

50% of executives ranked creativity and entrepreneurial spirit as the top workforce requirement for their organisations to excel in today’s increasingly disruptive and complex world. (Source: Accenture)

Discover our learnings and insights on how to identify, empower and unleash the potential of intrapreneurs as key drivers of change from within.

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