Esther Gons

Entrepreneur, Speaker, Author

“Innovation is as much a trade as it is about creativity,
and you can learn the trade."


Esther Gons is the co-author of The Corporate Startup, winner of the 2019 Golden Axiom Business Book Award and the 2018 Management Book Of The Year Award. The co-author of the recently released book Innovation Accounting, winner of the 2022 Golden Axiom Business Book Award. And the founder and CEO of GroundControl. 

GroundControl is innovation software to manage, measure and report on your innovation ecosystem. The platform focuses on  innovation accounting  and helps corporate startup teams with  the de-risking process of new business models. GroundControl works with clients such as Euler Hermes, DHL, and ABN Amro. 

Gons is an international speaker on topics of corporate innovation, innovation accounting, portfolio management, and startups.

Esther has a background in technology and has been an entrepreneur for over 20 years. She has mentored over several hundred startups, among others as an investor at NEXT Startup Ventures, lead mentor in the Rockstart Accelerator programs and Lean Startup Machine weekends. That passion for pioneering is what still drives her to make change happen. 


Winner of the 2019 Golden Axiom Business Book Award and the 2018 CMI Management Book Of The Year Award.

There is now more pressure on established companies to innovate. The challenge most companies face is how to develop new products for new markets, while managing their core business at the same time. Our approach will help companies to innovate like startups, without having to act like startups. We go beyond running just another internal accelerator. We help you build successful internal innovation programs that leave lasting value.

Winner of the 2022 Golden Axiom Business Book Award.

When a company is committed to growing through innovation – not just exploiting the existing business models – standard accounting documents offer insufficient and, often times. irrelevant data.

The book provides tools, frameworks,templates, and visualisations that can be easily understood and applied. Innovation Accounting is an essential go-to book for anyone that wants to measure their company’s innovation ecosystem. 


Coaching & Masterclasses

Innovation Accounting: Masterclasses and workshops.

Building an innovation ecosystem: Keynotes and workshops

1 on 1 Mentoring: Strategy, managing innovation, and practical tools and knowledge in setting up a system for Corporate Venturing. 

'If there is one thing that we can learn from the past, it is that we are very bad at predicting the future'


GroundControl is the software platform that helps you set up a system for high-risk and complex innovation in your company.;

Implement innovation accounting company-wide,

A structured approach for your innovation teams,

Track the progress of your funnel through an innovation framework.


  • Have a visual overview of the progress of all ventures.
  • Report with confidence to the board with clear and visual data. 
  •  Use clear Key Questions to determine when ventures are ready for the next stage. 
  • Easily identify their riskiest assumptions, thanks to clear key questions and a smart risk model.
  • No more PowerPoint! Generate One-Pagers based on factual data and learnings.
  • Use shared learnings from other ventures.
  • A unified and structured approach for all of your innovation teams company-wide

If you want to allow innovation to blossom in your company, you need a separate corprate governance system to support it. This will allow you to search for new business models in a company that is designed to be a high-performing way of executing what you already do, and which is structurally adverse to anything that could disrupt that.

An innovation framework provides guiding principles for developing a series of questions that can assess where a product is along its journey. An innovation framework unifies the business, enabling everybody to know and understand what phase each idea or future business model is in while searching for something that works. This then acts as a catalyst for managing and measuring resources and investment decisions.

When looking at the innovation maturity within a company, the existence of different definitions for innovation is an important criterion. The acknowledgment that there are multiple types of innovation and we should treat these types differently. Because we all agree that innovation is no longer to be treated as a ‘catch-all’ phrase.


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