The theme for this panel discussion was- 'Organization and the Creation of Innovation DNA'
Though the word DNA sounds quite loaded, the weight of speakers on this panel did the justice. Chaired by Ajay Nanavati (MD, 3M India), the session revolved around good practices of managing a structured innovation program in a corporate and enabler there of. Ajay started with this cute definition, 'Research is converting Money into Knowledge and Innovation is converting Knowledge into Money'. He outlined the Innovation DNA to be comprising of- a marketplace of ideas; visionary leadership; systematic approach; and collaboration, supported by human and technical skills.
The first speaker was- Andrew J Ouderkirk (Corporate Scientist, 3M), who spoke about the yin and yang of operations execution and innovation entrepreneurship in every successful organization. At 3M, a culture of innovation stems from: Access (to markets and platforms); Resources (including 15% time, funding and network); and Systems (for New Product Introduction, Metrics, and Stores). While depicting the Periodic Table of Technologies, Andy explained the way a technology evolves. This could be evolutionary (expert led), recombinatory (scouts and architects led), or revolutionary (scouts and architects led). These technologies result into a myriad of new products and that's how innovation get managed at the powerhouse.
Next was Rahul Bedi (Director- Corporate Affairs, Intel India), this time as a panelist sharing traits of inspirational leadership. Rahul maintained that at Intel, the two drivers of culture are- Egalitarianism (equality) and Constructive Confrontation (ConCon). The former makes it truly an open door (no door as he likes to say) company, and the latter allows people to debate objectively. He also warned that often visionary leaders might overshadow the company leading to over alignment and deselection of what's not on leader's side. That's what kills diversity. That brings back to the two principles Rahul discussed that shape Intel.
Idit Biton (CMO, Systematic Inventive Thinking), furthered the discussion with a brief introduction about her company, followed by illustrating some principles of creativity. While engaging the audience in real creative exercises, Idit introduced- Subtraction as one of the useful tools for idea generation. The talk brought freshness into the session, not just because of the presentation by a lady (first one since morning), but also because of her ability to involve the audience. A well received talk.
The session was concluded by a brief talk from VR Ferose (MD, SAP Labs India) on SAP Developer Network and some of the work SAP is engaging with partner organizations.