Game Changers

Overview

Game Changers think and act differently. They’re eager to embrace transformational ideas and technologies and lead in the creation of new business models, disruptive approaches, and more effective organizations and processes. The BPI Network invites you to browse through our ongoing interviews with prominent Game Changers to understand and compare their ideas on innovation in 21st Century. Read insights »

Five big questions on innovation answered by...

Amine Ayad, Head of Workforce Management, Bed Bath & Beyond

Amine Ayad, Head of Workforce Management at Bed Bath & Beyond

Ayad sees a trend in the retail landscape where the front end registers disappear, and where check-out lines are eliminated through predictive data analytics, sensors, and artificial intelligence – and, eventually, where self-driving shopping carts meet you at the entrance of the store with your shopping list already uploaded into the cart screen, and even direct you to the items you need. 

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

I really don't know whether we are changing the game or the game is changing us. Success in business, today, is all about the optimal intersection of the physical and digitals worlds, and the interaction between humans and intelligent machines.

If you really think about the retail industry, so many innovations have compelled companies to start to think different, to act different, and to plan for potentially different outcomes. Within workforce management, for example, the industry is going through tremendous shifts due to the expansion in internet selling coupled with rapidly changing demographics and regulations. Thus, brick and mortar stores are under a different type of pressure. And it is said that necessity is the mother of all inventions, so many organizations find the dynamics of the environment and the accelerated speed by which innovation is happening a threat and an opportunity leading to new strategies and innovations.

I’m of the opinion that societies change slowly, and despite so many years in e-commerce rapid growth, e-commerce is still a fraction of the total retail and service industries. So, it is going to continue to be a combination of digital and physical for the retail industry. Many organizations are utilizing data - predictive modeling, advanced algorithms - to better forecast work in the stores. And once work is forecasted and measured, then it becomes easier to schedule people to be at the right places and times - either when the truck is coming to the store to deliver products, or when customers are coming to the stores to receive a service.

You need optimizing software to help deliver efficiency. But no one platform is going to be the only and the ultimate solution. I think what's so clear, at least in my mind, is that the future is a blend of the digital and physical capabilities.

Based on my academic and my industry knowledge, I can tell you that customers want to shop anytime and anywhere. Leading retailers, including Bed-Bath, want to serve customers wherever, whenever, and however they wish to be served.  Leading retailers want to be there for customers when they want to shop, the way they want to shop, and the way they want to complete the transaction, whether it is “ship it to my home” or “let me pick it from the store”, or a combination of both.

What's exciting about the current technology is how friendly it is to everyone involved. For example, 10 years ago you had to go to the store to see your schedule as an employee. And the manager of the store ultimately decided who worked when. There was little freedom or flexibility. Today, technology allows you to see your schedule on your phone, and even to opt for available shifts. Employees can swap shifts with their coworkers if they need to, without disrupting operations. This is a significant win-win change.

The technology is not only allowing organizations to respond better to customer needs, but also to employee's needs and situations. It's becoming more participatory versus top-down. And it is proven in research and in practice that happy employees create an environment of happiness for the customers. Efficient workforce management is beneficial to customers, and to the business. That's why companies invest in them.

In terms of benefiting from customer insights, today, you can measure and map customers’ movement in the stores from the entry point to the exit point through sensors. Based on data, you would know exactly, or on average, know how long the customers will be shopping in your store. Eventually, you would know when they're going to get to the register. Ultimately, you will be able to know the number of employees that need to be at the front end to help the customers exit the building and pay for the merchandise. So, it is not just long-term predictive modeling, but on-time, live, as you go, so that there will be totally no long lines up front for customers who choose to interact with an employee, and managers would be able to respond faster to customers’ needs. 

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Scott Carr, CEO, Modria

Scott Carr, CEO at Modria

As CEO of Modria—the pioneering Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform—Scott Carr provides businesses and government agencies globally with a transformational tool for fast and fair resolutions, customer service efficiency, and even brand loyalty. The model provides a unique pathway to justice and institutional trust for global consumers, and is rapidly growing beyond transactional disputes. After 15 years of development and technological enablement, ODR itself has surged beyond its initial brief of legal cost savings and eCommerce complaint solutions to become a game-changing catalyst for brand building, civil justice access, and marketing intelligence. Carr says that between one and three percent of all transactions go wrong each year, and that clogged Small Claims courts are unable to cope with either the volume or the cross-border jurisdictional nature of online disputes, while consumers have neither the time nor the resources to pursue them through traditional channels.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

We have created an online platform for online dispute resolution (ODR) that can resolve disputes of all kinds from eCommerce to relational disputes, and we are available to companies, government agencies, and ADR organizations, to deliver fast and fair resolutions across these categories. We have done a couple of things that I think are unique. One is that we built a configurable platform that has all the modules of dispute resolution that can be snapped together in different ways to solve particular needs. No one else has built a platform like this. We think of online dispute resolution as a business process or a civil justice process, and it is kind of like how salesforce.com created the CRM category—we have not seen anyone else do that for DR; it is like this underserved business process. Secondly, we built a team with a unique composition of experts, mediators, arbitrators, and technologists. Some are experts in building technologies in start-up environments, some have done international Mediation and Arbitration work, and some are just experts in ODR. No one else has assembled a combination of talents like this. We design the resolution journey, and in that way, we bring people together.

The platform is a click away on websites where you are transacting your business: an online marketplace, or a merchant’s website, and in some jurisdictions on an ombudsman site. We are increasingly working with ombuds organizations, especially in European jurisdictions. Europe has started to pass laws that require online businesses to provide online dispute resolution. In addition, we have innovated a SaaS-based business model focused on the value of making our customers’ customers happy. We deliver our platform as a service subscription, and the price depends on the number of disputes the customer runs through the platform. The more disputes you have, and the less you pay per dispute. We deliver value by making it more efficient for you to resolve a dispute—including resolving it through automate software—and making your customer happier.

ODR is changing the traditional customer service role: Modria is reducing the number of customer contacts in the call center for a problem transaction, and freeing the agents up to do more account management, up-selling and outreach into the customer base. In customer service, for a typical US company, if I pick the phone up and call, and they answer my call and try get me a basic outcome, it is going to cost the company about 12 dollars for labor, technology, telecommunications, and overhead. That is before they pay me any compensation. Our system brings that cost down from 12 dollars to four dollars and eighty cents. We do that through the reduced contacts because we are resolving issues in software; for marketplaces, we resolve issues between buyers and sellers without CS having to get in the middle. We typically serve the space that you might classically think of as Small Claims. Our disputes usually involve 25,000 dollars or less, but resolutions are tailored and often involve solutions beyond dollars that might satisfy the customer. With an eCommerce site, the value is often 25 dollars to 150 dollars, but we also, for example, resolve insurance disputes. We have a large caseload in the state of New York, and with New York No Fault insurance those claims are higher because they are related to medical bills, but they are still not millions of dollars.

We have spent a lot of time innovating the user experience, and trying to package up what we call resolution flows. What we see is that there are patterns of commerce and the disputes that arise from them. A typical problem we see from customers is that they didn’t get their item. Or they did get their item, but it was not the way it was described on the website. We innovate by pre-building the resolution process, so we give our customers a jump-start when it comes to deploying online dispute resolution. They do not have to start from a blank piece of paper. We synthesize decades of experience in this. We are working with major airline companies on delayed flight compensation, and so far it is working well. If your flight was six hours late, and you missed a meeting, how do you build that resolution flow and make it available to multiple jurisdictions?

Most disputes are resolved in the diagnosis and negotiation phases, and then there is also a neutral party in the mediation module. Beyond that, there is the arbitration pathway that also sees resolution in a short time, relative to the courts. We are now in a regulated process; decisions are typically given by retired judges who are arbitrators. All their decisions are published online, and are searchable. In a lot of ways, it looks like an online court, and is legally binding—a process the injured party opts into.

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Prith Banerjee, Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer, Schneider Electric

Prith Banerjee, Executive Vice President & Chief Technology Officer at Schneider Electric

Prith Banerjee is Group CTO of Schneider Electric, a global leader in energy management and automation, with operations in more than 100 countries. With an EcoStruxure platform that defines its “Innovation at Every Level” business philosophy, Schneider leverages the most advanced data technologies—and an open, standards-based innovation strategy—for next-generation solutions and efficiencies. Its commitment to innovation is illustrated in an R&D budget of 5 percent of revenue and a dedicated architecture for incremental, new-market, and disruptive innovation, defined as Horizon 1 (core or short-term), Horizon 2 (adjacent or medium-term), and Horizon 3 (disruptive or long-term). Historically, its disruptive initiatives include pioneering aspects of IoT itself in 1996, and with recent technologies like arc-fault detection and its new IoT-enabled M580 automation controller. Today, its connected circuit breakers, protection relays and variable speed drives are already reducing machine downtime for customers with remote reporting of actionable data, while pilot projects are underway to slash downtime even further, with asset performance management IoT systems predicting faults before they happen.

Meanwhile, Schneider is now looking at business model transformations, in which guarantees of production outcomes can be sold as services. Seeing access to energy as a basic human right, the company’s “Life is On” vision is to ensure that energy is available to everyone in a safe, reliable, and sustainable manner. Anticipating global megatrends like rapid urbanization and digitization as the defining parameters for this vision, Schneider recruited Banerjee as Group CTO specifically to drive digital innovation and the transformation to IoT. Banerjee was previously MD for Global Technology R&D at Accenture, after serving as CTO for ABB and Senior VP for Research and Director of HP Labs at Hewlett Packard. In driving innovation and technology differentiation for these leading companies, he also leveraged significant academic experience. Banerjee has served as Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Walter Murphy Professor and Chairman of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Northwestern University. He is also the author of 350 research papers.

In an interview with BPI, Banerjee says that despite the massive strides already made with IoT-enabled solutions, the truly game-changing innovations will come from next-generation analytics on big data. And he says those leaps in efficiency are not only required for competitive advantage, but also for the macro challenges of demand and sustainability facing the industry. Banerjee also mentions a 300 percent increase in efficiency is required to deal with a 50 percent increase in global energy consumption in 40 years without significantly increasing carbon emissions. Fortunately, the company’s portfolio of innovative products has vast consumption efficiency gaps to eat into, including 50 percent energy inefficiencies in asset-intensive industries and a stunning rate of 80 percent inefficiencies in the world’s buildings.

Banerjee says the bringing together of smart energy management, automation, and software could not only achieve the required efficiencies, but also lead to exciting new business models.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

We deliver to our customers low and medium voltage products and automation systems that are all integrated in several end markets: buildings, data centers, asset intensive industries, and utilities. We have a host of innovations throughout those areas, and we invest 1.3 billion euros on R&D. It is about faster, cheaper, better, so why do we need that deep level of innovation?

Over the next 10 years, the energy consumption in the world will increase by about 40 percent, and electricity consumption will increase 80 percent thanks to things like urbanization, industrialization, and digitalization; you must be three times more efficient to keep carbon emissions near neutral. We found that in the domain of buildings, only 18 percent are energy efficient, so there is an opportunity for 82 percent of untapped energy efficiency in buildings. Data centers are 30 percent energy efficient. Asset intensive industries such as oil and gas, mining, and metals are about 50 percent efficient. The grand problem we are trying to solve is making sure your energy efficiency is running close to 100 percent.

I work with the five business CTOs to harness the innovations springing from that $1.3 billion investment. Connectivity is a major part of the solution. We are on the IoT journey, and our innovation chain is tied to IoT and digital transformation. Connectivity is about bringing value to our customers, and it can be cost reduction, efficiencies, performance, or all of the above. It also promotes safety, and safety has always been a core value in our customer proposition.

We look at innovation in the portfolio approach. A large percentage of investment—about 70 percent—is on Horizon 1: short term innovations on our core products. With Horizon 2, we have products like Masterpact MTZ, which has an IoT and power monitoring capability. This is Horizon 2 or adjacent and medium-term innovations: bringing new technologies to the same product. H-2 also includes bringing the same product to a new geography, meaning bringing these circuit breakers to China or India with modifications. H-2 is about 20 percent of our innovation investment. Horizon 3 is truly disruptive and long-term innovations, and represents a lot of the stuff we are driving today, and is about 10 percent of our R&D spend. Some of them are seemingly crazy, but with huge potential to completely disrupt our industry.

I am responsible for all innovation, not just the digital parts. We are on the journey of IoT and digital transformation, and almost all our products—from automation systems to circuit breakers—are integrated with digital technologies. We are absolutely the market leader.

Our new products are taking the industry by storm, and I am completely proud.

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Sebastian Herzog, Co-Creator & Chief Strategist, Lufthansa Innovation Hub

Sebastian Herzog, Co-Creator & Chief Strategist at Lufthansa Innovation Hub

Sebastian Herzog constantly moves between corporate culture and startup spirit. Herzog has more than 10 years of work experience within Lufthansa, including being the former executive assistant to the CEO of Lufthansa Group, while also founding his own fashion ecommerce startup OfficePunk.

In 2014, Herzog finally bridged both worlds by becoming a true corporate entrepreneur, initiating and founding the Lufthansa Innovation Hub jointly with internal and external top talents as a separate legal entity. Asked about the focus fields of the Lufthansa Innovation Hub, Herzog explains that he is not a believer in focusing on specific trends or technologies. “If you really want to change things, you have to focus on a specific customer,” he says. “Innovation starts with empathy and only with understanding the needs of a customer, one will be able to derive real improvements and innovations. In that sense, our only focus is the traveler and his or her needs. In an exaggerated way, I would say, 'customer interest beats company interest.'”

One very concrete example is the pain of travelers having to check-in for their flights manually. Instead of supporting the Lufthansa core business with state of the art self-check in solutions, the Lufthansa Innovation Hub built www.airlinecheckins.com-- an industry-wide solution that allows travelers to be checked automatically for more than 100 airlines based on their preferences. Herzog says, “While it might sound contra-intuitive in the beginning, we are now learning a lot about the traveler behavior when they use other airlines than Lufthansa. And of course, this knowledge helps Lufthansa as well.”

Herzog is also advising and consulting other corporates on the topics of digital transformation and corporate entrepreneurship. He adds, “Regardless of the industry I am working for, they all struggle on how to cope with the incredible speed and rate of change out there. That is why corporations such as Lufthansa can fully exploit the full potential of an Innovation Hub by setting it up as a second operating system of the corporate that runs with a different speed, based on different talents and framed with a different set of budgeting rules. If you then develop the right links to the mothership – Innovation Hubs can become a major driver of commercial and strategic impact.”

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

Three main differentiating factors between the Lufthansa Innovation Hub and other corporate innovation activities are:

1. Talent: Instead of “just relocating” existing line-managers to a fancy tech-location – we managed the challenge to get significant amount of entrepreneurial talent on board. Currently 80% of the Lufthansa Innovation Hub consists of people that have not worked for Lufthansa before.

2. Tool set: Instead of being a pure incubator, accelerator, technology lab, or corporate VC, we are deeply linked with the Lufthansa Corporate Strategy and pursue whatever innovation setup that is suited to a specific challenge.

3. Test-driven culture: Instead of writing five-year plans on whiteboards, we try to get instant market feedback, regardless if we are building prototypes and products or developing broader strategies.

This unique combination really allows us to support and drive the digital transformation within Lufthansa by supporting the existing business with startup partnerships and new products, (“better business”) as well as pursuing topics out of current business boundaries (“new business”).

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Wendy Mayer , Vice President, Strategy and New Business Innovative Pharma, Pfizer

Wendy Mayer , Vice President, Strategy and New Business Innovative Pharma at Pfizer

Wendy Mayer is Vice President of Worldwide Innovation for Pfizer, responsible for driving ideas and fresh thinking across the organization through the identification of transformative and disruptive innovation platforms, and through the development of capabilities and a culture that will support continued innovation.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

You have to have that enthusiasm and drive from the kind of grassroots level of the organization, but then they have to be supported and feel as if they have the ability to take action on those ideas from above. And so it's the combination of those two that really enables, I think, productive activity across an organization.

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Gautam Mahajan, President of Inter-Link; Founding Editor of Journal of Creating Value, Inter-Link

Gautam Mahajan, President of Inter-Link; Founding Editor of Journal of Creating Value at Inter-Link

Look at almost any plastic soda bottle, and you will find that it stands on five ribs that are integral to the walls. The invention of the “petaloid base” in the 1970s offers crucial insight into an innovation process that is highly relevant to business today, and to the growing movement away from functional roles and toward value creation. Because pressurized plastic expands like a balloon under pressure, bottles at the time were two-piece products that stood on a rigid cup – and efforts to create a one-piece bottle had cost tens of millions, without success.

Gautam Mahajan—the co-inventor of the petaloid base, then head of research and engineering at Continental Can— told BPI that his team solved the problem by reframing it in this way: where does the bottle want to go when under pressure, and using the concept of entropy, where everyone including the bottle resists being forced into an ordered state? It had been assumed in the industry that the bottle would need an incremental innovation, and that the machines that make them would require an expensive disruptive innovation—since they would have to create far more pressure to force out those five bulges. Mahajan proved the opposite: the disruptive petaloid solution changed the entire industry, while the machines needed only affordable shock-absorbing improvements, and timing changes.

Now a leading author and thought leader, Mahajan moves executives and academics globally to his belief that the purpose of companies is not to generate profit, but to create value—where profit and competitiveness are by-products. “We all know the purpose of attending college is education, not grades. Grades are a measure of how well you have studied,” he says. “Why then do business leaders still insist that the purpose of a business is profits? Indeed, why do we study for a Masters of Business Administration when it should be a Masters in Value Creation? Everything is process-driven at present, but we want the mind-set to be changed.”

Mahajan’s new book, “Value Creation: The Definitive Guide for Business Leaders”, was introduced this month by the Director of the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore, and received high praise at a recent business literary festival. Gautam is setting up Value Creation Forums around the world and catalyzing colleges to conduct research on Value Creation. He believes values create value, and that efforts beyond formal job descriptions—efforts as small as a smile— generate brand equity for both the employee and the company.

Mahajan is now the Founding Editor of the Journal of Creating Value, which enables academic research become more responsive and relevant to business practitioners, while promoting value creation as the new “true north” compass heading for executives. This approach echoes recent findings at Harvard Business School, in which Michael W. Toffel noted that, “The lack of practical relevance of much of our research might suggest that few of us also have the ambition to improve the decisions of the managers and policymakers whose actions we study.” The business leader who Harvard quoted on the issue—Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council—also noted that, “There is often a disconnect between practitioners and academics, who tend to be far removed from operational complexities and market dynamics”.

“I see myself as a generalist, as someone who has created and who thinks differently, who doesn’t get stuck with the run of the mill thinking,” says Mahajan. Previously, he was President of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, which is the only bilateral chamber between the US and India, and includes 14 offices between the two countries. He is also President of Inter-Link India and Customer Value Foundation and went on to become a leading consultant to top Indian companies, as well as the author of three seminal books on value. Mahajan told BPI that his consistent advice to innovators is to ban any concerns about cost when at the early, explorative end of the innovation process. Conversely, he also advises executives to free themselves from the fear of making incremental increases on the prices of their products, since customers will pay for value.

Mahajan poses a fundamental thought challenge to companies innovating in areas like customer experience and “customer journey”—where customers are provided ever-better experiences when returning defecting products. “They forget that customers do not want that journey in the first place,” he says. “Why not rather innovate toward zero complaints, and zero product returns?”

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

Value Creation is a distinctive mind-set. It is a mentality driven by enhanced self-esteem, awareness, and pro-activeness. It goes beyond just doing your job, it is doing something extra. Value Creation is executing proactive, imaginative, or inspired actions that increase the net worth of products, services, or an entire business. This creates better gains or value for customers, stakeholders, and shareholders. Value Creation stimulates executives and business leaders to generate improved value for customers, driving success for the organization; it creates customer-conscious companies.

Value Creation Forums have been started in the US, Europe and Asia, along with Value Creation research. Programs are underway to modify MBA teaching to become less functional and more value creation oriented. The role of an executive is not just to be a good manager, administrator, or a good efficiency expert; his or her role is to create value. Ahead of my most recent book, I realized that value is completely misunderstood. Everyone has a meaning for it—some think value means price, benefits, or importance— you can think of it in any way. In business jargon, value is creating financial benefits, and for people around you, which will eventually create greater financial benefit for you. You cannot set out and say you’re going to create value for yourself; you have to create value for others, such that they recognize you are a person of greater value.

You hear words like CRM, customer satisfaction, customer experience, customer journey, customer this and that, yet all are only one part of what the customer is looking for. When you start investing heavily in things like customer experience and customer journey, you are essentially saying that they are very important—and they are—but you forget the context of their importance.

Once I have bought a cellphone, what is the experience I really want? I want it to work; I don’t want to waste a lot of time on maintenance. The moment I have to go back to the company—and that’s the experience companies are investing on improving but not the experience I as a customer want in the first place—I am making an extra journey. I just want to be left alone. Companies tend to glorify a journey that customers don’t want in the first place instead of making sure I do not have a problem. The real thing they should be working on is how to prevent that journey. Companies should be innovating toward zero complaints, toward zero defects.

It is easier to give examples of value destruction because they are so obvious. Value creation in a very simplistic sense is everything that goes beyond your job. You could be an accountant who does efficient work, you can’t fault his numbers, but the guy comes up to you and says, you know the tax laws are going to change and maybe we should do something with our investments and our accounting practice so we get an advantage. He’s done something extra. Everyone whose career progresses is creating value, but often he does not know that because he is doing it unconsciously. If you were conscious about it, you might create a little more value, and might destroy a little less.

Stephen Vargo is on the board of our journal, and he coined the phrase, ‘service-dominant logic’. Before that, there were other concepts, but he said no, it is not about products. Everyone is serving everyone and the product is just part of the service. This year, there might be thousands of papers written on service dominant logic, talking about value co-creation, but few people seem to know what value co-creation is. Many see it as some kind of a vague thing that is nice to think about.

We first started a journal that addresses both academics and practitioners: that’s a difficult mix because academics like to write in journals, and practitioners generally don’t like to write. They like to read. What we want is for academics to write in the way that business people can really understand, that is relevant. Then we encourage the practitioners to use this. On the other hand, we want practitioners to write about things that make academics pay notice. So if I write about zero complaints, they may wish to do research and find the best way to get to zero complaints. The second thing we have done is start Value Creation Forums around the world, and we have leaders in their fields come together and discuss value creation.

We set up one in the Benelux with academics and practitioners, and many universities in the Netherlands came together and discussed three things: one, how can you create value for the student in the present courses. The second was to look at courses like HR and IT and see if you can just add one lecture on value creation for those courses. The third was to have a general management elective which is based on value creation. If you look at HR, it is probably one of the most important functions in the company since people--employees, partners and customers— are really important. The question I always ask is, ‘Why don’t HR guys become CEOs? Why are they called a staff function?’ That is because they do their functional work; they really do not do their value creation work. Once they start to do it, they begin to create immense value for the company.

We have asked a college in India to look at values and value—what you stand for, such as ethics, morals, and integrity). The idea is that if you are a college that talks about values, do your students who become teachers do better than teachers for whom values were never inculcated? There is a professor at Wharton that does customer lifetime value; we want to work together so that he can correlate customer value-added with customer lifetime value. 

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Andria Long, VP of Innovation, Johnsonville

Andria Long, VP of Innovation at Johnsonville

Andria Long - VP of Innovation at Johnsonville Sausage - believes that effective innovation is, most centrally, about delivering on the ideas which actually solve consumer needs in a differentiated way. When it comes to innovation, her first question is: "what differentiators are consumers actually willing to pay for?"

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

We are a deeply entrepreneurial company, founded by a family of entrepreneurs and we are still family-owned today. It’s no accident that we are ranked number one in our category. Ideas are not the hard part; rather, the challenge arises from actually delivering on those ideas.

Everything can be made better, and I do mean everything. Differentiation is critical, but we’ve found that you can skip some traditional steps in innovation: weeding through ideas and holding ideation sessions, and waiting for “perfect information” can hold up the process needlessly. We are focused on the front end – delivering on real insights of what consumers need. 

In the CPG industry, driving competitive advantage from innovation techniques is all about figuring out and meeting a consumer's unmet need in some new or different way. It is learning how to balance the risk and reward of how much you know with the amount and depth of information and research you need in order to make a decision. You're never going to have perfect information. You need to achieve that precarious balance of using good business judgment combined with enough consumer research to confidently approach the market. 

The success we’ve had with the Fully Cooked Breakfast Sausage is a great example of delivering against a trifecta of insights. We found that convenience really is key for time-pressed consumers. We also thought about how consumers actually use products. It turns out that not everyone eats 12 sausages at a time, so we used re-sealable packs. And consumers want to see their foods, so we use clear packs. In essence, we lean in on where and what we need to know versus what is nice to know. Companies that do this well will have competitive advantage over others in their industry and will have greater speed to market. 

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Otto Schell, Member of the Board of Directors, DSAG

Otto Schell, Member of the Board of Directors at DSAG

Schell is a Member of the Board of Directors of the German speaking SAP user group (DSAG), specializing in business processes and digital transformation. Beside this, he also runs the bi-yearly Globalization Symposium for international user communities.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

Others try to be on the political side; some try to be advisors, but what we really offer is the practice. What we can deliver on is the knowledge and experience of 3000 company members – both large and also midsized.

We ask – are you prepared for 24/7? Are you prepared for changing from products to services? Are you really cyber-ready? I am talking a lot about IoT – we need to change in terms of its promise. How do we motivate this group of people who are doing IT business processes to adopt new business models to reflect these capabilities?

Many leading companies are evaluating the importance of digitization, and new business models, and I see a responsibility with vendors such as SAP to inform and accompany them in their transition to a digital future. I want to ensure people are aware of what they need to think about – to get from digital to practice. We don’t know everything, but we do know there will be huge change. Companies will really be out of the game if they don’t change their business models. There are companies which do sensoric very well, but they don’t understand the business models, and there are those with good business models, but no clue about sensoric. We must bring those together.

Business model development and innovation needs to have an iterative approach, not a sequential process. I think IoT will change asset-rich industries in a positive way – you’ll know the usage and change in your assets. You can add sensoric to 10 year-old assets and derive a longer lifecycle. The question is how you change your business model around it.

In terms of the mix of skills sets companies will need, what we see going on in the European ecosystem, for example – universities; schools – is that there is a lot of momentum to embrace a positive attitude about change. The question is only how far to take this attack mode. It is difficult to understand what’s going on regarding China and India – they are so huge. Everyone in the west knew Amazon; not many knew Alibaba, and yet Alibaba is much bigger than Amazon ever will get.

In Germany and Switzerland, and really Europe in general, there is nothing we can do anymore in terms of extracting materials from the ground. All we can provide is knowledge. In recent decades, our exports have been dominated by engineering; by producing the best machines. But knowledge is the future. Nevertheless, too many executives tend not to take the opportunity, and wait for others, which is a pitfall. More acting than (worrying) is the right thing to do.

Some organizations still believe they can run with isolated strategies – with marketing/sales and production/purchasing in isolation. I firmly believe you can no longer do this alone. Companies need to have a clear glide path of where they want to go; they need clear buy-in that transformation is both top-down and bottom-up. What I think companies normally don’t do, and what they should do, is to really attack markets. Uber attacked.  Do you really believe that if Uber had entered the market in the normal, slow way, analyzing and checking everything – they would have succeeded?  They did not wait. Many other companies should also move away from a risk-awareness position to attack mode.

They need to ask: How can I attack other areas where I am strong? Many companies believe they are world-leading, and then some company in China, or Korea, or India has already overhauled them from an income perspective.

Executives must ask: are we ready for the shared economy? Are we truly cyber-ready? A lot of people talk about data analysis and big data, but at the end of the day its not about the big data – its about finding a pattern from the data which creates a new business model.

Too often, this is not what companies do. We analyze to death; we prepare for a presentation, and we wait for someone to make a decision. And when the CEO makes the decision, they are not ready for that decision because they are too large. The way of working together needs to change.

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Barry Money, General Manager - Retail Development, Toyota Australia

Barry Money, General Manager - Retail Development at Toyota Australia

Barry Money insists that the Japanese innovation concepts of kaizen and kaikaku represent the twin competitive engines for a cramped automotive market. With Toyota already hailed as a classic model of both disruptive and incremental innovation, Money says the most urgent challenge is to direct disruptive strategies toward creating lifelong customers, and to transforming the used vehicle market.

Scores of dealerships in Australia are already reaping the rewards of offering personalized benefits to repeat customers, driven by integrated big data tools, and a laser-focus on loyalty. While some brands are offering car sales directly online, Toyota is using digital resources to enrich person-to-person relationships throughout the dealer network, including an innovative sales and service collaboration.

Money tells BPI that other connectivity technologies are also being piloted. However – having worked everywhere from the production line to the logistics desk at Toyota – Money believes that trust remains the one truly indispensable asset.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

Toyota has the largest number of units in operation in the Australian automotive market. We have more owners on the road than any other brand. Our strong dealer network services many of these customers. With innovative service, finance and repurchase products, we have the ability to move customers from their existing vehicle into a newer vehicle – which provides the customers with that Oh What A Feeling emotion as well as great value.

The specific innovation that my team has delivered is combining the best of our service and sales departments and assisting our customers to move from their current vehicle to a new vehicle. We call this sales and service collaboration. It’s been tried before in the market, but this time we have strong system support, combined with training, on site consulting, KPI management and follow up and most importantly segmentation and one-to-one marketing that tailors the offering to the needs of the customers.

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Alex Blanter, Partner: Innovation and Product Development, Digital and IoT, A.T. Kearney

Alex Blanter, Partner: Innovation and Product Development, Digital and IoT at A.T. Kearney

Alex Blanter is a partner and leader of A.T. Kearney's innovation practice. Armed with over 20 years’ experience in driving high-tech business growth in Silicon Valley and beyond, Blanter is a global thought leader on new technology deployment for enterprise-scale businesses, and on novel solutions for complex problems.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

This technological and business model transformation we are living through actually requires companies to innovate differently. The set of innovation practices companies could rely on to stay in the game – even recently – are no longer sufficient. In the past, and even the most recent past, the main philosophy was that innovation is a science – that you can go through a number of predictable steps: create new ideas; decide which ones to invest in; have an efficient development engine that gets those ideas to market; and manage your portfolio in the marketplace.

What’s happening now is that the level of disruption is such – and the level of fluidity is such – that this is no longer enough: you now need to plug into the ecosystem of these new technologies, and monitor your broader role in the marketplace. I explain it to companies this way, especially for larger enterprises: you need to play the long game fast.

As we know, the capabilities deployed from new technologies allow you to do amazing things. But out of those 50 amazing things you can do, we assess which of those will actually deliver the most value within your timeframe, and what you need to do within that timeframe to take maximum advantage. Some of these technologies, and corresponding opportunities, are mature enough that you actually need to jump on the bandwagon and start developing a product right away, or start implementing a feature. Some technologies (and business models) are farther out, and therefore you shouldn’t do that – but you do need to engage with the ecosystem and monitor the development of those technologies so you are in the flow, and are not left behind.

Whether you look at IoT, or AI, or Big Data, or any one of those fundamental tech shifts – and even the business model shifts – we see that they are affecting the majority of the industries in a way those industries are not used to. Companies are either seeing real benefits or are suffering.

Take IoT, for example. If you think about being able to source granular data in real time, process it and effect change back in the physical environment, you can think about all kinds of examples of solutions. Look at LA, where drivers lose millions of hours a year just looking for a parking space.

If I can instrument my parking garages so that they can show the absence and presence of cars in specific parking spaces, and if I can couple it with positioning sensors in the cars so I can understand where they are going, I can actually create predictive models where I can direct drivers to the places which most likely have open spaces at the time of their arrival. I can even predict when a space will likely become available, or at least predict turnover on average stays. I’ll know that 15 cars are leaving every 5 minutes. If I install sensors in various places in this whole use case – then think of it as a use case with multiple players – parking garage; traffic controls; individual drivers. I can actually collect and connect that information to optimize the whole use case and deliver value to multiple players at the same time.

At a strategic level, we’re helping companies figure out how technologies like IoT present a potential for disruption: in some cases, fairly minor, which can be dealt with in the normal course of business, but in other cases, the disruption will be fundamental. And the challenge is not just that they will be fundamental, the challenge is that they will sneak up on you. These start as an interesting curiosity, but before you know it, you are behind the curve.

Industries with significant capital assets like oil & gas are not going to be displaced by the next Internet company, but they can be materially affected from a competitiveness point of view. If some competitors start instrumenting their assets and increasing their asset utilizations – e.g., predictive maintenance based on predicted wear – that will be a competitive game changer that will demand a response.

Let me give you another example. Let’s say you have a logistics company with warehouses, which you might think is not a very cutting edge business. You will find that as simple a thing as a garage door can be the focus point for a significant opportunity. Residential garage doors in the U.S. have some level of automation at around 80%, but only about 30% of commercial doors are instrumented in any way. By 'simply' installing automation and the sensors on the garage door, you can significantly reduce energy consumption, because you’re otherwise losing all that heat or AC to the environment – and who thinks about keeping the door closed? There is nobody in charge of closing the door within 10 seconds of a truck coming in. Then you go a step beyond that – with algorithms that allow me optimize goods and truck flow through those doors, and that creates additional opportunities from the same technological solution.

At A.T. Kearney, when it comes to innovation and disruption our differentiators are three-fold.

First, we have a very deep understanding and knowledge of the industries in which we operate. So, for a project we did recently for an insurance company, we brought our financial services group and our high-tech group together, both to the pitch and the project.

Also, because many of us here are engineers or technologists by training, we come into all of that with a very pragmatic lens. Its very easy to get completely absorbed into the hype: “Okay, robots and Big Data are taking over the world; AI is the next best thing since sliced bread; IoT is nirvana.“ And to present big messages and great forecasts.  But where it becomes valuable for our clients is our ability to actually translate that into what it means for their business, now and in the medium and long term, and how they need to respond to it in very pragmatic terms. Very few companies have unlimited money – therefore, while you can have the best strategy, you still need to be able to make the right choices.

A third differentiator is that we are truly a single global partnership; there is no friction in bringing together our capabilities in the Silicon Valley and in Korea or Germany. Many of our competitors are regionally or even locally structured, so they have a more difficult time in bringing a global perspective to bear. What we can help companies in a very collaborative, open way, is to really drive to a better set of choices that will allow them to do what they need to be successful in this ever-changing landscape.

Beyond the right choices, companies are faced with the need to incubate things that have a much longer gestation period. If you are an automotive insurance company, for instance, instrumenting all the cars in order to take all their information will change your business model, from a statistical, actuarial model to an individual use model. But you’re not going to instrument old cars en masse, only new cars, and you’ll need to achieve fleet thresholds  – so its a 5 or 7-year horizon. Look at what’s happening at Intel – the pre-eminent chip company is laying off 12,000 people, and its because they were not fast enough; not agile within the ecosystem when it came to mobile. With the new technologies, that agility will be even more important.

I have looked at how innovation has evolved, going way back. In the Middle Ages innovation was mostly considered magic, and the winner became a tribal chief and the loser possibly was burned at the stake. In later centuries it was then driven as art, and it evolved to a more or less a science by the end of the 20th century. We are in transition right now, and it is now fundamentally culture driven – a culture that requires rapid experimentation and constant involvement in the ecosystem.

Even the recent past, when you were innovative, your prize was your position of dominance in the market.  What you have now as a prize is simply an opportunity to innovate again; that’s all you actually get. Just science isn’t enough; you actually have to change the DNA of the company to innovate differently.

Different industries will move at different speeds. The number of technologies that are now available for a broader set of industries and how those technologies interplay with each other is fundamentally changing the business environment.

Before, you had communications and computing at certain speeds, and sensors at a certain cost – when you put them together, each of those things was useful, but they were not reinforcing each other. Now they are all at the level of cost/performance where you can put them together in a way that creates completely novel outcomes. They are no longer additive; they are multiplicative.

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Charles Lusk, President & Co-Founder, Onsite Dental Solutions

Charles Lusk, President & Co-Founder at Onsite Dental Solutions

With both corporate wellness and elite staff retention increasingly critical for large enterprises, President Charles Lusk and his partners at On-Site Dental Solutions have pioneered a game-changing model that is solving multiple challenges at once. 

It turns out that in an economy where employee populations are best treated as treasured communities, an on-site dental suite offers far more value than an additional amenity to the gym and the company laundry. 

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

We’re very proud of our title as the first fully dedicated provider of turn-key dental suites. We sought to create a care delivery model for dentistry that previously did not exist in the same form, quality and packaging for campus environments.  We wanted to bottle the magic of private dental practice and drop it into corporate settings in a way that is aesthetically pleasing, and customized to those settings. We love the way clinical settings of every kind are trending more towards aesthetically pleasing environments as opposed to sterile and impersonal settings as found in days gone by.  

We like to think of ourselves as pioneers in this area.  Dentistry is perhaps the most interpersonal form of healthcare, since the services are provided “face-to-face.” While we are unable to eliminate every element of that experience, we strive hard to control the things within our reach to positively impact the clients senses. But the value-adds have been game changing too. We know that a filling today avoids a very costly crown tomorrow. But there is also a high correlation between a lack of routine dental care and large medical claims involving chronic disease later on.

One of the most valuable commodities is time, and employers are measuring productivity in terms of not just absenteeism, but also “presenteeism”, which involves remarkably significant losses – the degree to which they don’t have fully engaged employees within the workplace. If you have toothache, it's probably a major reason why you’re not mentally engaged.

Also, a lot of our clients are really interested in optimal recruitment and retention – and they know the millennial generation is looking closely at the work environment.

Having a boutique dental office on-site goes a long way for clients in communicating the message that we really care about our community.  In fact, we do frequently have prospective employees come into our offices, because the employers are very proud of these amenities.

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Thomas White, Co-Founder & CEO, C-Suite Network

Thomas White, Co-Founder & CEO at C-Suite Network

Thomas White is a co-founder and CEO of the C-Suite Network, which offers services and programs to connect business leaders. From invitation-only conferences, custom-tailored content, C-Suite Radio and C-Suite Television, to the educational programs from C-Suite Academy, the network aims to cover the diverse needs of high-performing professionals. Prior to C-Suite, Thomas started 10 companies in the fields of technology, publishing, market research and corporate consulting. He also holds four patents and is co-author of a book on business process technology, executive producer of radio programming and a speaker.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

Leadership must allow people to take risks without fear of being fired. Companies only innovate when they are willing to go outside the box. Out-of-the-box thinking allows organizations to see new opportunities and execute against those opportunities. Change happens when leaders realize they can no longer maintain their vision through status quo.

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Sam Miller, Senior Counsel , Dykema

Sam Miller, Senior Counsel at Dykema

Innovation and creativity are at the core of Sam's practice and view of the legal profession, and he has for some time now been involved in projects which seek to use technology to change the way in which legal services are delivered and purchased. Sam is the founder of the pioneering online legal advice platforms, VirtualLawDirect, and SvPerbar which use technology to make lawyers, legal advice and pricing more accessible, transparent and efficient, with an emphasis on standardizing legal advice and providing access to flat-fee legal products.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

This is not an easy prospect by any means, particularly when working within an established and age-old profession. Change is seen as a threat to existing stakeholders in many cases, but law firms are beginning to realize that through pure market forces alone they will eventually be required to innovate in order to compete. I have found that having an international perspective on how things are done helps to instill a desire for change, not only in seeing how different work cultures operate, but also in appreciating the broad inter-connectivity that we now all experience,  the need to keep ahead of the pack to serve clients' more diverse and ever more challenging expectations, and to compete effectively. Giving employees and partners the latitude to experiment with ideas and, perhaps more importantly instilling a culture of respect for different ideas and initiatives is a key element which law firms have traditionally struggled with given their hierarchical structures. To innovate, I believe that you need to  instill a framework for acceptance of differing and new ideas and the creative potential of your people. This  is a fundamental cornerstone, particularly for the legal profession, for building organizations which can successfully embrace change.

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Mark Manney, CEO and Founder, Infobeing

Mark Manney, CEO and Founder at Infobeing

Mark Manney is the Founder and CEO of Infobeing.com - a website disrupting the forefront of human interaction and trade practices. Mark left his corporate life and Seattle roots to travel the world and study new ways of commerce. While practicing international customs and eCommerce abroad, Mark was able to identify a major issue in today’s global networking practices. This led to his creation of an ideal People’s Economy via Infobeing. Mark believes that through innovative networking and modern trade, the People’s Economy will help lead the world to a more productive and healthier lifestyle.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

It is tempting to say that there is no industry sector for what we’re doing, but in fairness we might compare Infobeing.com to social media like Facebook, Ello, Tumblr, and LinkedIn. These sites offer a Web 2.0 experience that is becoming obsolete for a few reasons.

Social media contributes to information overload by providing a massive amount of irrelevant information. This makes us feel physically ill. Information overload is becoming a real problem. Infobeing.com is different because it is designed so that users spend minimum time on the site and maximum time living, doing, and becoming.

Another problem with today’s social media is that there is no real mechanism to meet new people in order to easily form mutually-beneficial relationships. These sites are designed primarily for staying in touch with existing friends or, occasionally, meeting someone new in a random way. Infobeing is designed for the purpose of helping you meet the new people you need to know in order to move your life forward.

Social media leads to stagnation and inaction. It is passive. Infobeing uses the potential of the network world to create a People economy where everyone is doing what they want, what they are good at, just as they live in freedom and maximize their earning potential. This isn’t happening on Facebook.

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Clinton Phillips, CEO, 2nd.MD

Clinton Phillips, CEO at 2nd.MD

Voted one of Houston’s “40 under 40” business stars by Houston Business Journal, Phillips has founded and grown a company which is changing the game for consumers in the healthcare field. In fact, in September 2014, PBS named 2nd.MD one of the Most Innovative US companies. Whether solving the most complex medical case, serving the poorest in Africa, or speaking at MIT, he is determined to make healthcare ridiculously easier, and more effective, for millions of families.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

Medical knowledge is doubling every two years and most people are receiving poor, conflicted medical information. 2nd.MD's first goal is to make the ability to reach medical specialists more easily accessible. For example, our member​s can now ​enjoy a video consultation with a top specialist from ho​me ​within three days, getting remarkable clarity and up-to-date information regarding their condition. ​We are combining high-tech with high-touch, and the marriage is beautiful. Healthcare gets faster, easier and more personal.​

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Steve Hoffman, Co-Founder & Captain, Founders Space

Steve Hoffman, Co-Founder & Captain at Founders Space

Steve Hoffman is a virtual midwife to the future of humankind at Founders Space. “Captain Hoff” doesn’t just predict a world in which computers replace accountants and IOT chairs automatically adjust to your personal dimensions, but he actively selects and empowers the tech innovators who are shaping these kinds of revolutions.  Named a Top 10 incubator in its first year of active mentorship, the Silicon Valley-based and globally focused accelerator is helping to mature hyper-innovative tech companies which could change our lives.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

We've been innovating on the incubator/accelerator model.  Instead of just adopting the standard 'Y-Combinator' model, which is meeting start-ups once a week for 3 months followed by a “Demo Day,” we spent 18 months interviewing start-up founders and asking them what they'd like us to do differently.  Here's what we learned: 

a) Three months is a long time to wait for a Demo Day.  Most start-ups apply to their accelerator several months in advance, and then if they get accepted, it’s another 3 months until they actually get to pitch investors on Demo Day. That means that many start-ups must wait 6 months or so from the time they first apply until they are in front of investors. In half a year, everything changes: competitors, market conditions, funding trends, etc.  A start-up can miss their window by waiting.  Founders Space solves this problem by having Demo Day at the end of the first month. 

b)  The second issue founders have with the traditional model is being committed to stay in Silicon Valley for 3 months during a program. This is a big issue, especially if the start-up is coming from overseas and has employees, family and customers back home.  Founders Space solves this problem by having a more condensed, intensive program.  Instead of having mentoring and training sessions one or two days a week for three months, Founders Space has them every single weekday for four weeks, followed by Demo Day.  This way startup founders can move quicker and get the same benefits.

c) Lastly, the Y-Combinator model ends after three months, leaving start-ups on their own.  It turns out start-up founders have more questions after Demo Day than they do before.  But most programs end after Demo Day.  Founders Space solves this issue by allowing startups to continue to attend all mentoring sessions and workshops for an entire year after Demo Day.  This way startups can receive on-going support when they need it most.  

We work with a lot of corporations who say they are innovating, but when we ask them to sacrifice revenue, they recoil.  The one strategy that we propose to our partners is to reward innovation with virtual dollars.  These dollars count as real dollars, but they aren't actual revenue.  This way managers can justify spending time on innovative projects. 

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Pieter Nel, SVP of Operations, YouNow

Pieter Nel, SVP of Operations at YouNow

Described as “a Renaissance man of the digital age,” Pieter Nel – Senior Vice President of Operations at YouNow – is also a pilot, a yacht skipper, a mountain rescue volunteer, and a MIT-award-winning entrepreneur. Previously, the South African-born executive and engineer was the CTO who helped propel the massive early growth of Africa’s largest social network, Mxit – which, at one point, was larger than Twitter.

A new profile on Nel on BPI’s sister platform, the SABLE Accelerator, adds: “The 40-year-old is a key innovator in three of the most coveted fields of the new economy – virtual currencies, machine learning and monetization strategy – and he’s doing it all for YouNow: a platform which defines the social connectivity revolution.” This live video social network is even disrupting the cable TV space, having recorded average active user times for its millions of subscribers at almost 50 minutes every day.

Nel positively boils with ideas for disruptive technologies – and told BPI that he has retained his passion to innovate on mobile platforms to empower African entrepreneurs. Is this Q&A, Nel also speaks about the potential for “smart farming” in Africa, enabled by drones and smart data. He has also harnessed his experiences of leading dozens of mountain rescues for a Thought Leadership project that principle tech founders and CEOs should use in navigating the fast-changing market landscape.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

Open communication and easy interaction between people of different backgrounds always have a net positive impact on society. We saw this at Mxit where we allowed millions of users to interact and communicate at a mere fraction of the cost of an SMS. Once again at YouNow, we are using the video medium to allow users from all over the world to socialize, meet friends and exchange ideas.  It’s an extremely interactive platform – you are chatting directly with the broadcaster and fellow viewers, live. There is this powerful need for social interaction, to share ideas and opinions, and this is a fantastic channel for that impulse.

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Francois Ragnet, VP, Innovation Development, Xerox Services

Francois Ragnet, VP, Innovation Development at Xerox Services

With more than 15 years in R&D, Francois Ragnet specializes in successful transfer of innovation into Business. More recently, he focuses on pre-sales and is a technology evangelist, as well as managing an R&D group within Xerox Global Services in charge of transferring breakthrough innovation. Francois has spent almost his entire career at Xerox, and understands Xerox's innovation strategy from many angles. For the past 8 years, he has focused his innovation experience at Xerox Services, and received the Netherlands National Contact Centre Association (NCCS) Innovation Award for the technology developed & deployed by Raganets’ team in call centers in the Netherlands. He also currently holds 21 patents in the United States for various technologies he has developed since 2008 with various team members within Xerox. Francois holds a Masters in Telecommunications from the Institut national des Télécommunications in France. 

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

Xerox has a long, well-known innovation tradition; it’s widely known for producing game changing inventions in particularly the 70s and 80s, with light lens copiers for instance, and the mouse. But, historically, we were not always so effective in capitalizing on those innovations. But while the culture has been maintained, and deepened to all levels, Xerox has transformed dramatically in recent years. We are now the leading enterprise globally in BPO services in areas like healthcare, financial services, education and even transportation.

In terms of traditional innovation and also blue sky research, we have 5000 scientists and engineers generating truly amazing things. The Xerox Innovation Group is a dynamic network of centers worldwide, including in the US, Canada, and France. We also have our major partnership in Japan with Fuji Xerox, and a center in India to capitalize on emerging markets.

We have a strong innovation culture company-wide, making sure the blue sky research we have going in Xerox Innovation Group is repeated and amplified across our services business. Some of this work does not relate directly to our core business today, but we want to keep that flexibility of researchers to come up with totally new ideas.

Innovation has been incremental in the BPO area, with profound results – you don’t have millions to spend on R&D in the service world, but the nice thing is that it is much more disruptive; you can innovate without multi-year projects. On the downside you have to be much quicker – you don’t have multiple years to develop those inventions.

Recently I’ve been involved more in customer care – an area we’ve invested quite a lot in, and where we place a lot of our innovation focus. Evidence of this is the Call Centre Association Innovation Award that went to our Xerox Virtual Performance Indicator product in 2013 – which is now deploying across the corporation, and which we plan to sell to external customers.

The indicator is really a small innovation, technically – but it does make a huge difference, once you make it right, you make 50,000 agents deployed more motivated, more productive, and more into their job. We have invested a lot in gamification – we’re motivating those agents by bringing an element of games and fun into their day-to-day work. They have key performance indicators, but we don’t want it to be a case of ‘Big Brother watching you’ – we want to use gamification in a positive way, and get people into their jobs. We are finding that agents are enjoying the spirit so much that they virtually belong to the customer company.

Turnover rates can be 100% for traditional call centers, with people too stressed or bored. With these technologies, you ensure they stay longer; they are more competent; I suspect there is even less sick leave taken. We have created a real sense of community and engagement in the call centers.

I believe we are able to make innovation work in a very difficult domain – Business Process Services - but are also able to deliver economies of scale, and even create potential new business for our customer.

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Harry Barraza, Head of Open Innovation, Arla Foods

Harry Barraza, Head of Open Innovation at Arla Foods

Serving as Arla’s Head of Open Innovation, Barraza is a chemical engineer by training who is passionate about collaborations between enterprises, academia and entrepreneurs. He studied intellectual property law to arm himself with a tool that has since proved critical in his work on open innovation, both at Unilever and now at Arla.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

Historically, an export mindset, the focus on quality and the embrace of innovation have been competitive advantages for Arla.  In general, a strong export focus in Sweden and Denmark was a big difference from co-operative movements in other countries. In Denmark, for example, one driver was exports to the UK of butter and bacon, which originated two of the biggest companies in Denmark today: Danish Crown and Arla

I see the DNA of the company as not just being a co-op, but innovative in terms of product quality. That continues today – to be able to maintain our dominant position in markets like the UK, and bolster our ability to enter new markets in China and the Middle East and U.S. as well. Particularly in China and the Middle East, the credentials of being high quality about products really helps our exports  – stemming from the famously stringent laws we have (in Scandinavia and Europe).

In addition to having strong dairy products, we are also manufacturers for other companies, so we also need to be competitive in technologies and efficiencies for production.

What I do is often researching about research – how can we find new ways to interact with other types of research partners, such as academic partners and smaller companies, to unlock ecosystems of innovation. A big game changer for us has been the ability to translate the Scandinavian traditions of dairy products and foods to deepen appeal within diverse global markets. One of these products is Skyr, which is based on an old Nordic tradition: translating Skyr according to the taste of other parts of world, like the UK and Holland – that’s been a game changer. Another has been the change in formulation in some of our high protein products, which have allowed very successful recent launches in China.

We are also moving toward more strategic partnerships with universities. Last year, we partnered with Copenhagen University and Aarhus University to launch the Arla Dairy Health and Nutrition Excellence Center. I believe dairy can unlock major global problems in terms of nutrition, and we have only begun to tap the potential applications of natural milk proteins. We actively seek out disruptive ideas from both internal and external sources; connecting with small companies and entrepreneurs. Our approach is based around ‘technology push; consumer pull” – so that potential new products must see a deep collaboration between from both scientists and marketers before launch.

Last year, we put together the Arla Food Innovation Challenge, in partnership with the Creative Business Cup. This challenged entrepreneurial ideas in competition, and brought winners to Copenhagen – and we were able to see fantastic ideas from preexisting businesses as well as from early-stage entrepreneurs. Stimulating entrepreneurs in this way gives us a new way of thinking about our products – providing new insights from external sources. I am very passionate about working with small and medium enterprises, which is what we will be pushing going forward.

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Tim Gilchrist, Fellow, HITLAB

Tim Gilchrist, Fellow at HITLAB

Tim Gilchrist is a Fellow at The Health Innovation Technology LAB (HITLAB.org), which is part of Columbia University and conducts grant work in healthcare research and technology, consults to organizations, governments, startups, and hosts the Health Innovators summit (hitlabsummit.com). HITLAB helps organizations ideate, create, and evaluate innovative technologies to improve healthcare around the world. Tim's involvement with the Lab and Columbia stretches back to 1999 when he first started guest lecturing on health informatics.    

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

One of the areas I am most active in is the application of machine learning to health care, specifically interpreting individual’s social media feeds and determining their health status. This sounds odd but social media provides a unique environment where people openly discuss their personal lives: how they feel, what they eat, their activities, etc. Social solves a big problem in health data in that it is immediate where most health data are not immediate and often take months to gather and process. At the same time hospitals and individual physicians are moving from fee for service to quality based programs that place emphasis on health outcomes, not how many procedures were performed. This tectonic shift in health care creates a need for information regarding the health of people around; let’s say a hospital, not just the people who come in the front door, but the ones living miles away.

To meet this challenge I developed a system that listens to social media posts within a certain geographically defined area and deconstructs the stream of posts to predict who displays signs of having diabetes. It works by looking for word patterns in the text of the post and then matching that information to the person’s profile information. In tests involving thousands of posts, it is 74% accurate. Some of the interesting patterns that emerge is that diabetics tend to have many friends on social media – over 1,900, but they don’t tend to status very often – less than 65 times in a year. They also tend to say really funny things regarding their disease. Actual tweet:

“Lets play a game called how many times will my relatives ask about my diabetes. #byyyyeeee”

This system could be helpful to health providers who are looking to engage with at risk populations as problems emerge, not just when patients end up in the ER.

The HITLAB is also active internationally and is part of (MOTECH), the groundbreaking mHealth initiative designed to increase the quantity and quality of pre- and post-natal care in Ghana.

MOTECH uses mobile phone technology to improve maternal and child health knowledge and health-seeking behavior in rural Ghana. The program’s Mobile Midwife Initiative provides pregnant women and new mothers with information on pregnancy and infant care, nutrition, malaria, maternal and childhood immunizations, and family planning, as well as reminders to seek timely health care. The initiative offers these services in either SMS or voice option, in multiple regional languages. MOTECH also helps community health workers identify women and newborns in their area who need healthcare services, while enabling these health workers to cut down on paperwork and increase accuracy by giving them the ability to enter patient data via their mobile phone.

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Shannon Lucas, Director of Innovation, Vodafone Global Enterprise

Shannon Lucas, Director of Innovation at Vodafone Global Enterprise

As the Director of Innovation at Vodafone Global Enterprise, Shannon Lucas focuses on empowering global Fortune 500 businesses to stay agile, competitive and sustainable.

One of the world’s largest telecoms companies, Vodafone has mobile operations in 26 countries; partners with networks in a further 55; and provides fixed broadband operations in 17 markets. As of June 2015, Vodafone had 449 million mobile customers.

Lucas is passionate about developing ecosystems which trigger collaborative innovation between multiple stakeholders, and has presented her game-changing vision at TedX.

Armed with the unique leadership and team lessons of having served as a mountain rescue volunteer, the Bay Area disruptor developed her career with cutting edge technology experience at companies like Microsoft and T-Mobile.

At Vodafone, she is part of the core team that focuses on a global program to generate innovative solutions by turning enterprise customers into collaborative partners.

Within the enterprise, Lucas has not only supported dynamic intrapreneurship and a broad culture of change, but has invited employees to take on the role of customers in a program which has generated transformative ideation and engagement models.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

The Vodafone Innovation team is fortunate to be positioned at the intersection of the world’s leading total telecommunications company, innovation and relationships with the largest global enterprises. Mobility is the heartbeat of today’s innovation. While not every innovation is built on mobile, mobility is transforming the way the world operates. This gives us the freedom to embark on an innovation journey with our customers.

We run approximately 100 customer innovation workshops each year and take the radical approach of having an open conversation without an agenda and ask big questions starting with, “What if?” We are confident that no matter what emerges, we can help our enterprise customers on their innovation journeys. This approach shifts the relationship from customer-vendor to collaborative partners. The conversation is focused on business transformation, not technology. Of course, we look at ways that technology is supporting an ever-changing world. But first we collaboratively develop the vision of, “Where do you want to be in 3 years?” At the end of the workshop, we collectively ideate solutions, refine and prioritize and then execute with a lean, agile approach. The innovation program is our think-and-do tank.

Increasingly we see disruptive ideas or solutions emerge from our workshops that cannot be tackled alone. In response to this growing need for co-creation we launched the Enterprise Studio. It’s both a physical space in Silicon Valley and a global methodology. We pull from a variety of innovation frameworks like design thinking, lean, agile, etc., but as each project is wildly unique, we have to be willing to adapt our approach. The Studio is not an “app-factory.” We tackle problems such as user-based, real-time car insurance in the UK, to financing for smallholder farmers in Africa, to holistic analytics platforms to manage supply chains.

We have a lot of experience to draw from having run so many workshops in the last few years. At the same time, we recognize this is an iterative process and we are always looking to learn from our own experiences as well as thought leaders from across the global innovation community.

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Lance Lee, Head of Litigation and Arbitration, Lee International IP and Law Group

Lance Lee, Head of Litigation and Arbitration at Lee International IP and Law Group

Dispute resolution between companies has traditionally been viewed simply as a legal tussle in M&A processes. But what if the arbitration of the dispute itself could be innovated to actually trigger a competitive advantage for those companies in the market?

Lance Lee, Head of Litigation and Arbitration for the Lee International IP and Law Group, is a pioneer in turning the traditional legal headache of disputes into a growth driver. And the success of Seoul-based Lee International in doing so also brilliantly illustrates the Business Performance Innovation Network’s central message: that there is literally no space in which innovation cannot lead to competitive advantage.

A former US Army JAG officer and trial attorney who served with the rank of Captain, Lee now advises clients on key corporate M&As, contract negotiations, joint ventures, IP licensing, and infringement protection for multinationals. He has changed the game in this space by developing the “Dispute Innovation Practice,” which uses new M&A technologies and disruptive strategies to turn arbitrations into catalysts for growth, rather than inhibiting legal processes.

An expert in both corporate and public policy, Lee also co-chaired the AMCHAM Korea Government Procurement Forum, where he played a key role in identifying and promoting the needs of the foreign business community in government contracting processes. Previously, he served as General Counsel for STX Corporation based in Seoul. Lee is also Chairman of Republicans Abroad Korea – having been directly inspired by the values of hard work, public service and family from his father, John Yuen Lee: a poet-warrior who became a military hero – decorated by President Harry Truman – while serving as a liaison officer with the US Marines in the Korean War.

Lee says the US Marines essentially recognized a competitive advantage in his father’s values and even his love of poetry – of all things – in recruiting his courage and skills to the cause, and John Yuen Lee went on to play a critical role in the game-changing Battle of Chosin Reservoir. And so, for Lee, innovating corporate disputes for growth is not nearly as daunting a challenge as it may seem. Instead, in the words of his father’s favorite poet, T.S. Eliot, innovation can be understood simply like this: “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

We are redefining the game in arbitration by incorporating innovative corporate growth strategies to resolve arbitrations.  Previously, the handling of arbitration was often perceived as a separate function of a company, outside of the company value chain.  In viewing a dispute solely as a dispute instead of a corporate growth opportunity, what organizations faced was a myriad of legal procedures, sometimes time-consuming and outside of the scope of a company’s overall goals. Consequently, arbitrations could easily fall out of the hands of the company and individuals who are actual parties to arbitration and who have the most at stake in the arbitration. 

In response to increasing practical challenges in the arbitration space, what I have developed is the Dispute Innovation Practice, which essentially seeks to make disputes innovative, rather than conventional.  Dispute innovation changes the game in arbitration by turning arbitration into a dynamic opportunity for long-term corporate growth, rather than limiting it to the confines of the traditional in-box.  This is done by introducing new M&A technologies, strategies and methods into the space of arbitration. To not just accept the status quo as it is, but to make things better by doing things differently and disrupting factors that create legal and procedural saturation in the arbitration space.  

The ultimate question is: How can a company engaged in arbitration transform it into a major growth opportunity?  In fact, when viewing the forest through the trees, arbitrations can pave the way for commercial growth that can far exceed day-to-day processes to increase company revenue.  For example, the case of Microsoft Corporation vs. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), has the potential to impact the extent to which new products involving patented technology can be introduced into new global markets spanning different continents.  

In this backdrop, the message is simple and straightforward: Let’s look ahead of the game, and discover facts and reinvent strategies now that will invariably be highly relevant later, post-arbitration.  With the application of M&A technology to disputes to conduct factual and legal due diligence that would ordinarily be applied to an acquisition process, highly commercially relevant facts can be identified and discovered in the process of arbitration, and an assessment can be made as to how those facts can be linked to future growth opportunities in a given market. In a prior arbitration of Hanwha/ORIX/Macquarie v. KDIC before the ICC, an important issue was whether a party could exercise a put and call option to acquire shares in a company. Foreseeably, facts that could have been identified through M&A methods and software during the document discovery process in that arbitration could have had major relevance toward the successful acquisition of a company’s shares, as well as the successful growth of that company post-acquisition. Facts showed that if the purchase of shares had taken place earlier than later, then this would have mutually benefitted the parties involved. This process prompted a quicker win-win solution. 

The vision is in furtherance of redefining how arbitration is viewed, and thus handled. Companies who have adopted and shared this vision have transcended previously placed limitations of a ‘legal dispute’, and have transformed the challenge of an arbitration into a major opportunity for commercial growth.

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Les C. Meyer, Chairman, Informed Opinion Leadership Action Group

Les C. Meyer, Chairman at Informed Opinion Leadership Action Group

Les C. Meyer is a results-driven serial entrepreneur, global executive leader and MBA with extensive experience in mindful innovation and self-actualization. He has demonstrated creativity in transforming health and performance improvement through innovation leadership. He has worked with many organizations to help them achieve an optimal healthy workplace and workforce and achieve functional wellbeing outcomes via science-based mindfulness, resilience, vitality and sustainability next practices. He has also implemented game changer approaches to the creation of health care delivery, innovative health policies, advanced primary care systems, planned care coordination and proactive community health assurance initiatives. He has integrated meaningful enabling technologies and consumer-centric, integrative health services for a wide variety of worldwide stakeholders.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

We guide clients toward viewing their organization, in all facets, with a mindful innovation (MI) approach. MI is a tuned in, creative-thinking leadership engagement process — coupled with a five-step systematic approach including assessment, culture, strategy, implementation and measurement — empowering CEOs to improve the health of the enterprise and its workforce, reduce costs, improve productivity and ultimately, profitability in a global economy.

My idea of “hard-wired MI” emerged in mid-2009 as I watched CEOs working feverishly on getting their arms around their “Big Idea.”  And then, watching them formulate strategic plans to transform their companies by advancing their breakthrough brainchild as a “constructive, disruptive innovation.” Over and over these leaders were relying on outdated “thriving on chaos” playbooks not recognizing the competitive imperfections in the marketplace. 

The MI approach prompts quick-response adaptation when CEOs drive the process top down and encourage their people to embrace “imagining” from the bottom up — with all stakeholders striving for the competitive advantage that lies in the health of their people. 

MI is moment-to-moment, surround-sound awareness of organization health achievement in action. It generates CEO imagination, ingenuity and creative execution in the boardroom. Most importantly, MI upholds the principles of disruptive innovation guru, Clayton Christensen, who introduced the criteria by which a product or service rooted in simple applications relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors.

MI is imagining what the future could look like, identifying mega-opportunities and building game-changing ways of delivering business value to all stakeholders. We do this by focusing our attention on next generation hard-wiring MI capabilities, technologies and learning system collective impact community collaboratives that provide MI solutions to the health industry in the short and long-term.

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Greg Smith, President, Blooom

Greg Smith, President at Blooom

In 2012, Greg Smith became an overnight game-changer in the debate for Wall Street reform, with his sensational public resignation in the New York Times: “Why I am leaving Goldman Sachs.” The former Goldman equities vice president is again tackling systemic inefficiencies and predatory practices in the financial world, but this time it’s in the retirement savings sector. Smith recently accepted the role as President of Blooom, a Midwest startup which was named a Word Top 10 Innovative Company (2015) in the personal finance space by Fast Company.

The South African expatriate was motivated to move due to the realization that technology innovation had yet to be harnessed to bring down costs for consumers in the financial services sector – and his conviction that, in a gridlocked legislative environment, only innovation could trigger rapid reform.The company was created in response to these astonishing research findings: that four out of every five 401K plans are incorrectly invested, and that the average American unknowingly pays $150,000 in investment fees over their lifetime – the bulk of which are entirely needless. Also, its products were innovated on the basis of these twin conclusions: that 401K plans simply cannot be efficiently managed on a DIY basis, and that only the wealthy can afford financial advisers who can customize and maximize the investments while minimizing their costs.

Just a year after its official launch, Blooom has already taken over management of 401K plans for clients in 48 states, using smart software which automatically rebalances investments, while lowering fees. Blooom manages close to $100 million of retirement assets, and employees at half of the Fortune 50 have already signed up as clients of Blooom.

Blooom is also disrupting the competition with its flat fee business model charging individuals as little as $1 per month to manage and update their portfolios. Additionally, an essay was published in Time magazine this month exposing the astonishing inefficiencies in the 401k system. Smith is again giving a public jolt to conventional thinking. And his mission is nothing less than to see an entire generation of Americans harness smart technologies to secure their retirement future.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

The US retirement space has changed significantly over the last few decades. People of a previous generation were more likely to receive a guaranteed pension either from their employer or the government. Today, Social Security is not enough to provide a stable retirement, and guaranteed pensions have largely disappeared. So Americans have to fend for themselves and are left with a legacy 401k system that was never designed for the middle class.

It has an overwhelming amount of choice, often high fees, and often poor selections of index funds. Many people are bewildered and overwhelmed by this complexity, and make no choice, often missing out on a decade of compounding returns. Others can make bad choices and pay away up to a third of their nest egg in fees, often without knowing it. 

Blooom is the first company that has a completely fresh approach to the 401k space. We are an online service that analyzes any 401k, no matter where someone works. We then recommend the necessary changes. Finally, if the client hires us, we completely take over the management of their 401k – we make the changes for them, we keep an eye on the accounts, and we rebalance it over time. We are not a 'Do-It-Yourself' Solution. We are a 'Do-It-For-You' Solution. All for a Netflix-like subscription fee of $15/month or less.

We use the image of a flower (hence blooom!) to represent the health of the 401k, instead of complicated jargon or charts or graphs that no one understands. Clients love the simplicity and we have grown quicker than anyone else in the automated advisory space in the first year since formal launch. We manage 401k’s for people in 48 states, from age 22 to 67. Our mission is to fix broken 401k’s for millions of Americans.

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Niraj Jetly, COO and CIO, NutriSavings

Niraj Jetly, COO and CIO at NutriSavings

As COO and Chief Information Officer at NutriSavings, Niraj Jetly and his team have pioneered a way to make healthy food both affordable and understandable, and are building a new ecosystem which is changing the game for corporate health costs and employee productivity in the process. A spin-off from corporate services giant Edenred, Nutrisavings has harnessed data technologies, nationwide grocery partnerships, research, and innovative thinking around food choices to save costs for large employers and health plans, while boosting productivity and even life longevity for tens of thousands of users.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

When we launched, there were several research sources which showed that the health of employees depends far more on what you eat than on how often you work out - yet there were very few solutions, if any, based on nutrition. You could attend seminars on how to cook healthier; you could get recipe books; you could be coached by dieticians. But you’d generally need to leave your workspace to attend those sessions, they weren’t scalable; and they asked people to do something they were not doing already. They also did not address the fundamental problems of affordability and confusion for the consumer.

Several research papers showed that the average American finds it much easier to file their own taxes than comprehend the nutritional fact panel of a food item in a grocery store. Go and pick up any food item; I bet you will not have heard half of those words in your life.  We know that sugar is generally bad for us – but it turns out that there are about 200 different words for sugar. Meanwhile, we found that there was a perception that certain brands were healthy, and certain brands were unhealthy – but that just isn’t true. There is in fact a wide range of nutritional value across the products offered by the same brand.


To decipher this confusion, we recruited a panel of dietitians, and we created an algorithm based on prior research which takes into account all food items and all nutritional information on the packaging. We were able to generate a nutritional score between zero and hundred; the higher number, the healthier the item.So for instance, our participants in the NutriSavings program can download our mobile app, scan the bar code of any food items in grocery store with their smart phone, and get the nutritional score right then and there.Using input from our panel of dietitians, users can also immediately learn what it is about that item that is good for you, and what you should watch out for.

But we do not tell someone not to buy this or that. Instead, the app will also show you healthier alternatives; foods with a similar taste, but with higher nutritional scores, as a gentle nudge in the right direction. But we also recognized that the absolute nutrition score of any food item was not as important as the change in score over time for participants, so incremental behavior change, and the ability to track that change, is the exciting game changer for large employers.

Many people do want to diet, but to do it they need to log their food intake – and who has the time to log 1000 meals per year? We can actually manage an individual’s pantry, and provide the log and the trends for them. We had to figure out a way that is scalable- so we built a network grocery stores – 10,000 nationwide - which we actually built connectivity with. Once we have permission from participants to reach out to grocery stores, we can use their rewards cards as unique identifiers and track the items they’ve actually bought. In addition to the primary benefits of health, we are passing along discounts from those stores to the members for items which show good nutritional scores – so healthy food has become more affordable.

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Kate Vitasek, Faculty, University of Tennessee

Kate Vitasek, Faculty at University of Tennessee

Kate Vitasek is an international authority for her award-winning research and Vested® business model for highly collaborative relationships. Vitasek, a Faculty member at the University of Tennessee, has been lauded by World Trade Magazine as one of the “Fabulous 50+1” most influential people impacting global commerce. Vitasek is internationally recognized for her for driving transformation and innovation through highly collaborative and strategic partnerships. She has appeared on Bloomberg radio multiple times, NPR, and on Fox Business News. Her work has been featured in over 300 articles in publications like Forbes, Chief Executive Magazine, CIO Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Journal of Commerce, World Trade Magazineand Outsource Magazine. 

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

The University of Tennessee has been studying the nature of highly successful business relationships since 2003. Our research was originally funded by the United States Air Force with a goal to provide a pathway to long-term, collaborative success among business partners. We codified our findings into a methodology and business model that researchers coined as “Vested” or “Vested Outsourcing.” Our research first gained notoriety with the publication of Vested Outsourcing: Five Rules That Will Transform Outsourcing in 2010. In a way that book began a movement that got people interested in learning how to work better with their strategic partners. The Vested methodology is based on five “rules” that when followed create a business model that fosters a high collaborative “win-win” relationship that purposely creates and shares value so that everyone achieves the win-win.

The five rules are:

- Focus on outcomes, not transactions: Flip the thinking from a focus on specific transactions to desired outcomes – instead of buying transactions, buy outcomes, which can include targets for availability, reliability, revenue generation, employee or customer satisfaction and the like.

- Focus on the what, not the how: If a partnership is truly outcome-based it can no longer have a multiplicity of Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that the buyer is micromanaging. The outsource provider has won the contract because he is supposed to have the expertise that the buyer lacks. So the buyer has to trust the supplier to solve problems. 

- Agree on clearly defined and measurable outcomes: Make sure everyone is clear and on the same page about their desired outcomes. Ideally, there shouldn't be more than about five high-level metrics. All parties - which may of course include users and other stakeholders that aren't directly signing the contract - need to spend time collaboratively, during the outsourcing process and especially during the contract negotiations, to establish explicit definitions for how relationship success will be measured.

- Pricing model with incentives that optimize the business: Vested does not guarantee higher profits for service providers - they are taking a calculated risk. But it does provide them with the tools, autonomy and authority to make strategic investments in processes that can generate a greater ROI and value over time, perhaps more than a conventional cost-plus or fixed price contract might produce over the same period.

- Insight versus oversight governance structure: A flexible and credible governance framework makes all the rules work in sync. The structure governing an outsource agreement or business relationship should instill transparency and trust about how operations are developing and improving. And, of course, of where the next threats and challenges may occur, because business happens.

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Mark Drasutis, Head of Innovation, News Corp Australia

Mark Drasutis, Head of Innovation at News Corp Australia

Mark is the Head of Innovation at News Corp Australia and a former executive at AOL and Yahoo. Drasutis is an established business leader and digital expert with 20 years of media and digital product experience. He is focused on defining and delivering digital leadership and innovative and creative user-centric solutions within market leading, global digital businesses. Delighting all customers of digital products is a passion Drasutis brings to his teams and organizations. He has continually driven the creative vision and customer focus of his teams. He has implemented innovative and strategic thinking, as well as thought leadership, internally and externally, within all his roles and evolved customer perceptions of the businesses. 


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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

News Corp is actually where the customers are, and that’s the change. Its about innovating around the proposition that content is about “and,” not “or.” In the past, customers either bought a newspaper or consumed content on mobile, or on PC, or Tele, or listened to it on the radio. Now, they are consuming content in newspapers and on Twitter, YouTube, in their cars, and on Spotify, so if you take the “and” model, it becomes about curating great, relevant content and delivering it where and how the customer needs it.

With declines of 15% circulation in Australia and 20% revenues on the newspaper side – you need to innovate yourself out of that bottle, but you need to innovate in the right way. We’ve embraced the reality that newspaper companies are never again going to own content and distribution and packaging. In fact, we don't see ourselves as a newspaper company; we are a content company.

Habits for consuming content have changed, and we can shape those habits. Do people buy newspapers for breaking news? No they don’t: because news is broken on Twitter and Facebook and then on other platforms. Content habits have changed. But job of producing great content hasn’t changed. We are recombining content in new ways for customers. We are now producing multi-dimensional long-form story telling in digital; creating a rich immersive experience in video, audio, graphics, everything. The Captivate platform in Australia allows us to build those.

For example, we produced a story around Cinderella Man: the amazing journey of an Australian man to becoming the country’s first heavyweight boxing champion. We’ve just done a great piece of footage for surfers for an angle of a surf break which you would never have seen before, using drone footage, and two surfers: one a leftie, one a rightie. So how do we get to surfers? We promote it on Facebook, we promote it on Twitter, we made a 15 second video for Instagram, and then we moved it to content for tablet.

The Wall Street Journal is doing the same thing, with amazing footage from the Oracle boat for the America’s Cup. When we have these great stories involving multiple assets, we ‘re able to quickly build rich story telling elements now that we didn’t think we could do three years ago. So it’s a case of: We’re capable - lets do more of that.

The reporters who do these pieces, like Trent Dalton, now know when they start looking at the yarn, they need a videographer, a photographer; he needs to understand how to work with a developer and designer to tell the story best via the digital channel. And that’s just one space.

On the other extreme, we just launched in Australia – news.com.au and Foxsports - on Snapchat’s new Discover platform. Once again, here’s another area where we’re atomizing our content and saying we’re going to create an edition every day which is relevant to a Snapchat customer, which is more a teen, kind of funny, laugh-out-loud type of experience.

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Nicole Alexander , VP of Innovation Practice, Nielsen

Nicole Alexander , VP of Innovation Practice at Nielsen

Nicole Alexander is a marketer and lecturer; the quintessential unconventional marketer who has an extensive background working in digital media with an enviable list of blue-chip brands. She leads the Innovation Practice for Nielsen China and in this role she advises clients on the importance of evolving consumer journeys to deliver stronger returns on investment while eliminating fragmentation of brand communication across channels. 

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

It should start from both the top and the bottom of an organization. Where leadership enables a culture of inspiring teams to develop ideas around change, provoke them to act on that change and then develop a framework that supports test/pilots to scale innovations that can be successful.

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Diana Stepner, VP of Innovation Partnerships & Developer Relations, Pearson

Diana Stepner, VP of Innovation Partnerships & Developer Relations at Pearson

Diana Stepner is the VP of Innovation Partnerships & Developer Relations at Pearson - a company which has been innovating since the Industrial Revolution. She helps business units accelerate digital innovation, drives global partnerships with startups, builds relationships with developer communities- including incubators and start ups- and runs the Pearson Catalyst for Education accelerator program. Diana's passion is to bring innovative user experiences, products, and partnerships to life by applying technologies that are not always ready for primetime. 

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

We help teams across Pearson gain insight into emerging trends - what we call developments “on the fringe.”  For example, over the last few years we have witnessed the consumerization of education. Students, teachers, and learners, for example, have similar expectations and behaviors in the classroom as they do outside.  As a result, they crave rich digital experiences and believe learning can take place anywhere and at any time. 

Acknowledging that technology is helping to drive change in education to deliver on the expectations of learners and teachers. We have been able to quickly identify and connect Pearson teams with startups - particularly through connections with incubators and accelerators (RocketSpace, 1871, 1776, MaRS and LearnLaunch). Then via Catalyst, Pearson’s accelerator, we’re able to build pilots collaboratively with the startups – all the while providing mentoring and insight that will help them grow and scale effectively.  We’re also championing the next wave of creators and makers by being involved with maker spaces where learners of all ages gain hands-on skills, whether it be in electronics, arts, science, or beyond.   

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Jorge Barba, Innovation Insurgent, Game Changer

Jorge Barba, Innovation Insurgent at Game Changer

Jorge is a global Innovation Insurgent and author of the innovation blog Game-Changer

Jorge is known as the Puzzle Builder and Pain Reliever by companies such as FedEx Ground, TelVista, The Jumpitz, Tuni&G, IOS Offices and Chivas USA. This is because whether it's planning and executing strategies to improve processes, helping companies "wow" their customers, or creating new capabilities, products and services and launching them in the market; he's done it.

He is the Co-founder and Chief Strategist of Blu Maya. Connect with Jorge on Twitter @jorgebarba and LinkedIn.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

Leaders that want to build an organization that innovates consistently must provide three things to employees: freedom, support and challenge. Those are the key ingredients needed to accelerate innovation in any environment. In other words, you can put it like this: Have bold goals, get out of the way and reward people for trying. The last point is very important because when people see that getting rewarded for trying, not getting punished, is like a badge of honor; they will start giving a damn. Try it, you'll see.

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Steven Bowman, Author & Global Business Advisor , No More Business As Usual

Steven Bowman, Author & Global Business Advisor at No More Business As Usual

Steven Bowman is a noted author and business advisor. He has an extensive background in the nonprofit arena. He is one of the world’s leading governance and senior executive team specialists, having previously held positions as national executive director of the Australasian Institute of Banking and Finance, CEO of the Finance and Treasury Association, general manager of ExpoHire (Australia) Pty Ltd, assistant director of the Australian Society of CPAs, and director of the American College of Health Care Administrators.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

Your own personal leadership is essential. From our point of view, leadership is about strategic awareness, where you are willing to be aware of the future possibilities, are nimble enough to turn to advantage any of these possibilities, and wise enough to know that your personal points of view are what creates your reality. Leadership and innovation do not come from policies, procedures or structures. It all starts with you. In the case of any organization, the culture of innovation and change starts with the CEO. If the CEO thinks they can train innovation by external advisors, workshops, incentives and rah rah talks, and the CEO does not choose this him or herself, then the culture of innovation cannot be created. And the hallmark of any really good CEO is their willingness to be strategically aware.

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Lilach Felner, Founder & Managing Director, I Trust U

Lilach Felner, Founder & Managing Director at I Trust U

Lilach Felner is a marketing consultant and lecturer specializing in building customer trust. She helps companies and brands become trustworthy by injecting trust into their businesses. As a marketer of multinational consumer brands for over 15 years, Lilach has experienced first-hand the tsunami of consumer militancy towards companies and brands, social media escalation and the dramatic transition of power to consumers. Her Trustworthy Marketing Approach helps organizations and brands become more worthy of their customers’ trust in the age of open social communication. 

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

First, the organization must be managed by strong leaders that know where the organization is heading, and have a clear purpose and clear goals. Second, in order to make the changes happen, the organization needs a management that "walks the walk", adheres to its values and lives by them. Essentially, an organization needs management that believes in the necessity of change, and is willing to be committed to the change and its implications. Third, rolling out the change depends on management's ability to lead and inspire its employees, to empower those who come up with ideas, nurture them and activate them as advocates.  In order to execute change, the employees must be involved. This is why the management should have an "open door policy," encouraging an open flow of communication and demonstrating high levels of accessibility. Fourth, another critical parameter for rolling out innovation and change is trust. In an atmosphere of trust, innovation and speed reach their full potential. 

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Robert David, Director of Corporate and Professional Programs , University of California, Berkeley

Robert David, Director of Corporate and Professional Programs at University of California, Berkeley

Robert David is Director of Corporate and Professional Programs at the University of California, Berkeley - UC Berkeley Extension. He has more than 20 years in key sales and business development operational roles inside several technology companies. He specializes in helping HR and Learning & Development professionals bring Berkeley-quality curricula to their companies through custom on-site training, sponsored tuition enrollments and intensive course program development.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

Within UC Berkeley Extension, education innovation is highly valued. We tend to look for examples outside the organization and compare those with opportunities inside the organization, and then try to create an innovative approach to solving our objectives.  Then communicate the value internally and embrace the change. But that's all very theoretical until you consciously try to do new things or do the same things in a different, more efficient or more effective way. It's very important to work at it. We tend to do 'pilot projects' to prove the concept and see what the outcomes are from both a financial and student satisfaction perspective.

It's also very important to recognize and encourage ideas for innovation from all levels of an organization. These ideas can be simple changes to business processes to large shifts in strategy involving relationships to customers or vendors. Don't underestimate the value of simple changes--in empowering the people who come up with them and in keeping the organization agile and welcome to change. We also like to use successful models or processes in one academic program area and try to apply it to completely different academic areas to see if it will work as a controlled experiment.  Our Dean likes to share examples of how we innovate, or how we focus on quality of student experience, or work more collaboratively in all-staff meetings to inspire staff to bring about change.

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Thomas Buckholtz, Business Advisor and Innovation Consultant,

Thomas Buckholtz, Business Advisor and Innovation Consultant

Dr. Thomas J. Buckholtz, Ph.D., has served in many executive roles including Chief Information Officer for both corporate and governmental organizations. He has made key contributions to the business, technology, and governmental innovations.  He has served as an advisor to many key startups, and works as a University Extension Professor guiding workshops on innovation.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

Let people pursue their natural curiosity and good intensions.  Nudge a person's curiosity, intensions, and pursuit toward outcomes that benefit the organization, its customers and other external constituencies, as well as the person's colleagues and self.  Help people overcome shyness about trying to make a difference.

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Chris Hummel, Chief Marketing Officer, Schneider Electric

Chris Hummel, Chief Marketing Officer at Schneider Electric

Chris Hummel has a 20+-year career in enterprise sales and marketing and is a globally-recognized thought leader and widely-respected senior executive in the technology industry. Chris Hummel is a true international executive, having lived, worked, and successfully led organizations around the globe, including the US, Germany, Eastern Europe and Asia.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

Innovation is something you don’t easily teach or even force on an organization.  It requires fresh and unique perspectives gained from either pulling people out of their traditional roles and comfort zones or by bringing in outside perspectives through new talent acquisition or external expertise.  At the same time, executive leaders must display and encourage a strong preference for thinking ‘outside the box’ and a willingness to take risk to foster a change/innovation culture. 

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Pieter de Villiers, Founder and CEO, Clickatell

Pieter de Villiers, Founder and CEO at Clickatell

Pieter de Villiers is responsible for establishing Clickatell as the world’s leading mobile messaging provider, enabling tens of thousands of enterprises and millions of consumers to interact, communicate and benefit greatly via their mobile phone. De Villiers has led the organization through a decade of robust growth and innovation by providing high value, application-to-person (A2P) SMS services to banks and other financial services providers, governments, social communities, and a myriad of mobile developers in several additional vertical markets.

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How do you build organizations and cultures that embrace innovation and change?

Building an organization or culture that embraces change is no easy task since both are a reflection of its people and most people do not like change -- we are, after all, ‘creatures of habit’. However, I’ve found if the change or innovation is focused on efforts that improve, enhance, or simplify things you are already doing, it is generally accepted by smart organizations. You can then get those same smart people to innovate in areas outside of what you do today as long as you provide a clear “Vision” and “Why” to your people.

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