10 Powerful Takeaways – Chief Innovation Officer Summit San Francisco

by Lynda Koster

10 Powerful Takeaways - Chief Innovation Officer Summit San Francisco

San Francisco Hosts Chief Innovation Officer Summit

There is an incredible buzz in the air. Different communities are getting together to explore multiple approaches to the “jobs to be done” … exchanging stories, experiences, successes and failures. They are rolling up their sleeves and digging right in – my kind of people.

The last several years have required a deep level of exploration in order to identify the multiple forces at work, while gaining a better understanding of their implications. And with that, generating new ways to apply different approaches to business, learning, collaboration and innovation through experimentation.

This is exactly what I found at the CIO summit in San Francisco, hosted by Innovation Enterprise.

After reflecting on the conference and combing through several pages of notes here are just some of the insights and key takeaways that truly stuck:

1. Ask yourself: “If innovation starts with yes, why is everyone empowered to say no?”
Stuart Jenkins, the VP of Innovation at Deckers Outdoor Corporation, spoke to the importance of building a culture of innovation around the principal of saying ‘yes’.

He discussed how most organizations are structured for “no,” stating no is not risk-free. There is a huge consequence.

How do you structure organizations to say yes? To start, Stuart recommends we put C- level Executives in charge for saying yes and compensate them for it. He says that we are never going to get innovation if we are asking the same execs compensated for the same old to be in charge of taking the types of risks necessary to disrupt ourselves.

2. “People want to be part of your brand – let them in”

3. “Take a leap, take risks, make mistakes…BE Committed”
Shelley Kuipers ‪from Chaordix discussed the 7 habits of brand participation stating, “Participation is the new brand” and discussed how crowdsourcing is far more than just idea sourcing and management. It’s about engaging, activating and enabling your crowd over the long term.

She provided this list of the 7 Habits of Brand Participation:

  1. Find Your Crowd (they’re out there waiting)
  2. Get them Engaged (even before day one)
  3. Keep them Participating (it has to mean something)
  4. Think Participants, Not Ideas (you’ll get more out of it)
  5. Introduce the Crowd (to everyone in your business)
  6. Lead the Crowd (so they can help you innovate)
  7. Be Committed (the path to Innovation)

4. Hold a Failure Conference

5. Know that “People are bursting at the seams to make stuff!”
Carie Davis, Global Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at The Coca-Cola Company, discussed her team’s approach to driving entrepreneurial efforts inside of Coca Cola.

She shared her insights from holding a failure conference and said that easy to talk about failure generally, but found it was hard for people to talk specifics. People may be uncomfortable about talking about own personal failures, but it is really important to share so everyone can learn from them.

Carie also spoke about an incredible initiative called Startup Weekend at startupweekend.org – 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers & startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, & launch startups! Love it.

6. Figure Out if You are on The Linear Path to Doom
Kyle Nel, the Executive Director of Lowe’s Innovation Lab spoke about efficiency vs. innovation and how Lowe’s uses uncommon partners like Singularity University, LIL Facilities and the Consortium, Coca-Cola, Hershey’s and Unicef to create truly disruptive innovation.

Kyle Nel initiated the discussion around “The Linear Path to Doom” and reinforced that as innovators, we should be interested in exponential change.

He shared his experience using scientific prototyping – from “storytelling to story doing.” This was incredible! Kyle shared how Science Fiction Inspired Lowe’s Holoroom and Home Improvement Innovation.

7. Understand Your Organizational Identity
Dan Ostrower, CEO of Altitude spoke to the importance of considering how your organization makes decisions – and what it needs to make them well, which is critical in making innovation real.

He shared three main organizational archetypes –

  • Data-Driven – Decisions fueled by evidence, require an objective tone of voice. Qualitative tools, projections, case studies and validation tools are needed.
  • Consensus-Driven – Decision fueled by team, require an open tone of voice. Socialization tools are key.
  • Vision-Driven – Decision fueled by conviction, require a inspirational tone of voice. Visualization, models and demonstrations are needed for tools to help drive decision-making.

He also provided processes that work with each.

8. Get Real and Know There is Indeed a “Not-So-Sexy Side of Innovation”

Moises Norena, the Global Director of Innovation at Whirlpool Corporation shared their approach to building a sustainable capability model for innovation.

This topic might not be that sexy, but it is critical to building a sustainable innovation capability within organizations. He said,

“A company’s management processes can strangle innovation in a hundred mostly unseen ways.” So true.

By going through the history of Whirlpool he broke it down into three phases from 1999-2010, demonstrating how they had to change their management systems to drive innovation over time.

Moises launched ideasaboutideas.org where he hopes to inspire innovators around the world by exposing the essential and deepest principles of innovation in a simple, humorous and light-hearted way.

9. “If you believe you are a commodity, you are right”
This was one of those quotes, that really caught my attention. John Hillenbrand, the Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer of Owens Corning said this as he demonstrated how multidisciplinary teams can work together to develop differentiated and innovative green solutions that are truly better for the environment without sacrificing value to business and customers.

He shared these lessons learned for organizations:

  • If you’re not the first to market, you’d better commit to being the best.
  • Know your limitations and face reality.
  • Open Innovation is neither free nor easy – and don’t expect it to take only one big success for everyone to “get it.”
  • To maximize the impact of an innovation, there’s no substitute for real science – particularly science that has IP protection.
  • Don’t underestimate the challenges of bringing a new-to-the-world solution to the market.
  • If you believe you’re a commodity, you’re right. It’s about mindset. There are plenty of opportunities to innovate and differentiate versus competition, even in the category you created 75+ years ago.

10. Two Words: Watch Moneyball
Dr. Molly Joel Coye, the Chief Innovation Officer of UCLA Health and director of the Institute shared her approach to innovation in healthcare and our need “self drive healthcare.” Patients need to be able to get the right tools to take care of themselves. Stating “the game of the game is patient engagement.”

She provided some pretty compelling facts to drive home urgency for coming up for solutions is essential in healthcare.

  • 75% of Americans nearing retirement age in 2010 had less than 30K in their retirement accounts.
  • Almost half of middle class workers 49% will be poor or near poor in retirement living on a food budget of $5/day. Healthcare is something many need to trade off for food and housing.

She also asked the audience to watch Moneyball – which she referred to as THE cultural hallmark of innovation. She suggested we run the trailer and count the # of statements that resonate with you on innovation.

“It’s new game now…you don’t want to buy players, you want to buy runs…” (Quoted as discussing innovation and outcomes).

Check out how UCLA’s Institute for Innovation in Health is looking for teams who have innovative ideas that reimagine the status quo for patient experience by encouraging patients to take a greater role in managing their health at uclainnovates.org/contest

As the pace of change continues to gain momentum, it is becoming increasingly more important to expand our view and to share in these stories and experiences.

To get hands on to see what works, what doesn’t and what we might be able to build upon. To embrace the chaos and recognize that there are multiple forces at play that are having a significant impact on our professional lives, organizations, business partners and clients. Doing so will help us to prepare, respond and perhaps invent the future. These are the very types of innovators, hand-on practitioners and management that are going to get it done.

Thank you to Innovation Enterprise for hosting such a fantastic event and to the speakers who made this well worth the time. I am still talking about this event.

To get access to the video and decks from this event – click here to sign up for access.

Disclaimer: I attended The CIO Summit on a media pass. Food and beverages were provided.

image credits: Lynda Koster; and ideasaboutideas.org

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Lynda Koster is the Programs Partner and Integrator 3.0 for Innovation Excellence. Living and working at the intersection of creativity, data and technology, her core expertise is strategic development and implementation planning, providing integrated business, and marketing solutions to clients. She is a hands-on explorer and life-long learner focused on new and evolving trends and innovations that impact the future of business, marketing and people. She is author of Business Reads Today.