Fidelity VP: Pick the right innovation tools for your trip

smyerspicFidelity Investments vice president Rick Smyers likens running a successful innovation program to planning a mountaineering expedition: you don’t want to leave base camp without a plan of attack, the right people, and the proper equipment.

Smyers runs the Center for Accelerated Innovation at Fidelity, the Boston-based financial services giant that manages nearly $2 trillion in assets. And he says his group serves as a kind of guide that can help business units get to the summit faster.

“We’re a central corporate function,” Smyers said in a talk at last week’s Front End of Innovation conference. “The business units have most of the power, but we don’t go into the business units and say, ‘Do it our way — we know best.’ Innovators don’t like being told how to do things. They like to invent their own way. But we can offer up examples of how other people are doing it, and what’s working with other groups.”

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