How Innovative Are You

Companies today often talk about “being more innovative”. It’s a real competitive differentiator, right? If you are more innovative, you will win, right?

But what does “being more innovative” really mean? Last week we attended the Chief Innovation Officer (CINO) event in NYC, where we set up our booth to showcase our Innovation Solution. It seemed straight forward to me, but I quickly saw many conversations change and expand well beyond how companies can better crowd source and execute on new ideas.

Sure some of the people I met were trying to navigate the challenge of driving an innovation program, but most recognized that to be innovative you need to deliver an engaging and collaborative employee environment. Having a tool to share ideas is not innovation but a culture of sharing, collaborating, challenging, and executing is really the path to success.

To make this point even more obvious, the CINO event was co-located with the Chief Strategy Officer Summit, and I couldn’t really tell the difference between the conversations being had by each group of attendees. I was inspired by how many people we talked to who were blurring the lines between strategy and innovation and looking for a solution that simply makes their employees succeed. And with success comes innovative ideas and flawless execution of strategy.

I ended my time at the event by attending a few of the last sessions. I even got the chance to hear from Barry Calpino, VP of Innovation at Kraft. I’ve met many of the folks at Kraft through their social collaboration efforts and it was great to put the conversation of Innovation in context. Barry spoke about the success Kraft has had re-inventing themselves as a truly innovative company. He shared best practices around developing scorecards, sharing, teaching, and & coaching. It was refreshing to hear his conversation lead back to the conversations I'd been having all week – to be innovative you must motivate and inspire your employees to be engaged. Doing so will help them connect in every way they work, which will certainly stem great results.

How is your company innovating? Feel free to share your successes with us via a comment in this blog or on Twitter. Thanks.

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