Topic Overview: Digital Innovation
- Creating new teams, centers, or labs that are not necessarily part of the IT organization, or the Chief Information Officer's domain, to build digital products.
- Bringing in new “digital native” talent to fill out those teams, as opposed to relying on existing software development teams in the company.
- Working with startups, academia, and outside development firms to explore high-potential possibilities.
- Embracing agile development, lean startup, continuous delivery, and other methodologies to ensure products are in tune with customer needs — and delivered without the usual delays.
- Creating testbeds or sites where new technologies can be quickly installed and evaluated.
We surveyed large companies about the challenges they face in creating connected products and services (aka the “Internet of Things”) — as well as the success factors and metrics they are using. The results appear in our research report “Getting Connected Products Right.” Download the report here »
- How $6B real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle built a revenue engine
- How Viacom is using lean startup and agile development to keep viewers engaged
- How the Sierra Club is broadening its digital reach
- Inside the ‘AnyWare’ digital strategy at Domino’s Pizza
- ‘Vapor to paper to brick’: Universal Orlando exec on deploying tech to theme parks
- How new CVS digital lab proves value, collaborates with business units
- Visa explores future of buying without plastic at innovation center
- How Taco Bell accelerated progress on digital and mobile initiatives
- How the lab at Express Scripts leverages data to predict — and prevent — healthcare problems
- How U.S. Bank is pushing the edge on voice biometrics
- How Royal Bank of Canada moved fast to deploy mobile payments
- Florida Hospital innovation exec on ‘Internet of Things’ learnings
- United exec shares idea scoring system, innovation challenges
- Harvard’s Chief Digital Officer on being relevant in the digital world
- GameStop’s new Technology Institute explores future of retail
- Learnings from an IT innovation program that didn’t last
- How the Capital One Garage is incubating new products and ‘re-imagining the relationship with money’
- How ExxonMobil IT started a grassroots innovation program that’s changing company culture
- Webcast: Emerging business models for connected products and IoT
- 7-Eleven "Digital Strategy Map,” and more
- Associated Press’ “Cloud-First Decision Tree”
- Biogen: Creating a channel for innovation in IT
- CVS Health on digital vision and strategy
- IBM Mobile Innovation Lab: Discover, select, plan, build process The Resource Center includes many more org charts and job descriptions.
Boston’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, created in 2010, is a civic innovation incubator and a research-and-development lab. But beyond that, it’s also the city’s “risk team, the failure team,” says co-founder Nigel Jacob. Innovation Leader spoke with Jacob to get his advice for other urban innovators.
As software continues to “eat the world” and large organizations work to keep pace with technological change, there can be a tendency to assume that all transformations are now digital transformations. But that is not entirely true. Beth Devin of Citi Ventures explains, with examples from Ford, Microsoft, and SAP.
At the National Retail Federation’s Big Show 2019, 16,000 retailers from 3,500 brands discussed how to vie for attention from customers that have access to thousands of options at their fingertips. Find out what big retail companies are working on in the age of Amazon to persist past disruption.
Vicki Dobbs Beck, Executive in Charge at Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB, forecasted the future of storytelling at Innovation Leader’s 2018 Impact Event. During her keynote, she discussed Star Wars, immersive experiences, and bringing people together through story. Watch the video excerpts, and read the highlights.
Sports teams and franchises have to adapt to keep up with fans’ expectations, embracing new technology that connects them with their customers. Angela Ruggiero, CEO of the Sports Innovation Lab in Boston, talks about how technology can help teams avoid disruption.
Harvard Business School’s Sunil Gupta on Peloton, Goldman Sachs, and Designing a Digital Strategy That Works
Harvard Business School professor Sunil Gupta has seen a lot of your attempts to make your company more digital. And he is not impressed. In a wide-ranging interview that touched on Peloton, Goldman Sachs, Best Buy, and Amazon, Gupta talked about going beyond the buzzword “digital transformation” to design a digital strategy that works.
How Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner is Building a Company that Can Innovate in the Physical and Digital Realms (Part 1)
In the decade since Hasbro Chairman and CEO Brian Goldner took charge, the company has begun to take a “digital-first” approach to everything it does. That approach, informed by consumer insights data and customized “blueprints” that guide each of its brands, is helping the $5.21 billion company weather one of the most tumultuous retail landscapes in recent history. We spoke recently with Goldner about how Hasbro is navigating the changing retail landscape; initiatives like company-wide idea fairs and Quick Strike; managing Wall Street’s expectations; and why changing things as fast as the market needs you to change can often run counter to human nature. Part one of three…
Digital Transformation as a Team Sport: Advice from Former Pirelli and Mondelez Exec Marcelo De Santis
According to former Chief Innovation Officer Marcelo De Santis, digital transformation is a “team sport” that requires buy-in across a large company. In a recent interview, he discussed his experiences with digital transformation, the importance of organizational relationships, and creating a space for experimentation at large companies.
Why KeyBank is Investing in Digital Innovation, Acquiring Startups — and Betting on the Future of the Branch
KeyBank is one of the biggest in the US, with more than 1,100 branches, $137 billion in assets, and about 18,500 employees. And while it is steadily investing in its digital relationship with customers — in June it acquired Bolstr, a startup focused on small business lending — it remains committed to the old school, face-to-face interaction that takes place in a branch. Senior executive Dennis Devine explains…
At our recent invitation-only “Underground” roundtable in Chicago, we tackled several topics around digital transformation: how do you define it, who should be involved, how do you overcome cultural barriers, and how do you get things moving with a sense of urgency? Photos inside…
How does the staid world of car insurance not only survive, but find opportunities for new growth? $3.5 billion CSAA Insurance Group believes it will happen by upgrading its technology infrastructure, creating new programs for employees and leaders, and investing in innovation both inside and outside the company’s walls. Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer Debbie Brackeen explains…
How do you innovate in an environment where everyone is busy, and everything is legitimately an emergency? John Halamka, Chief Information Officer for Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and a practicing emergency room physician, shares his advice on bringing new technologies into a large healthcare organization — and discusses some of the projects he has worked on recently with Amazon and Google.
When most large companies use the word “innovation,” they’re talking about new products, services, technologies, or business models. Changing how they sell is often the last thing they mean. GE Vice President Cate Gutowski thinks that’s a big mistake. She explains inside…
Don’t buy into the narrative that these two companies are gladiators battling to the death. Here’s what’s really happening.
The $95 billion retailer is exploring new technologies like artificial intelligence and voice-driven search, as well as running design sprints and building minimum viable products, with an eye toward creating a more “interconnected” shopping experience between stores and the online world. Prat Vemana, VP of Online, explains how the company is working to make in-store and online shopping seamless for customers. Includes slides from a recent presentation on artificial intelligence…
“The postal service for years was a very operational culture,” says Gary Reblin, its VP of New Products and Innovation “We acted almost as a monopoly business for decades. We’ve got to change with the times.” Inside, Reblin offers a look at several recent initiatives to tie paper mail to the digital world.
How Beckman Coulter, Maker of Lab Instruments, is Letting the Voice of the Customer Drive Innovation
VP of Clinical Informatics Wido Menhardt talks to Innovation Leader about getting his company to take the cloud seriously; how Beckman Coulter uses employee hackathons to explore new technologies, languages, and platforms; and letting the voice of the customer drive innovation.
Matt Griffin of the Boston Celtics recaps some of the key points from his session at Innovation Leader’s 2017 Teach-In, “How the Boston Celtics Leverage Technology and Data Analytics to Predict Demand, Set Dynamic Pricing, and Maximize Revenue.” Video inside…
From Ford to Walmart, GE to Amazon, here’s our run-down of the 10 most interesting corporate innovation happenings of 2017.
Learn the latest tactics on rapid prototyping and market-testing new digital offerings in this 45-minute webcast, led by Bob Klein of Digital Scientists.
Guests who check into Marriott’s M Beta hotel in Charlotte, originally built in 1984 but revamped last year, are immersed in an environment where nearly everything is experimental, and intended to gather feedback. Here’s a look inside…
Pano Anthos of the retail accelerator XRC Labs discusses five roles that the store can play in the future — and the importance of trends like on-demand manufacturing, augmented reality, and text messaging.
Isaiah Kacyvenski is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Sports Innovation Lab in Boston. A former linebacker for the Seattle Seahawks and wearable technology entrepreneur, he now works to identify and evaluate new technologies that will influence the future of sports — from the sidelines to the stands to the television set (or mobile device.) In this short video interview, Kacyvenski discusses five major trends he sees impacting the future of sports, including “smart venue,” eSports, and “quantified athlete,” or measuring all kind of dimensions of performance using new sensors and wearables.
Plenty of big companies working on new business ideas talk about the potential for spinning them out. But few actually follow through and do it. Here’s the inside story of how it happened at Eastern Bank, the largest and oldest mutual bank in the US.
Chief Digital Officer Scott Hudler tells us that in 2017, “the innovation piece of our business is becoming more and more important to us, because we’re fighting some incredibly well-capitalized competitors in McDonald’s and Starbucks. If the analogy is ‘Moneyball,’ then we’re the Oakland A’s.” Hudler discusses kiosks, intelligent virtual assistants, delivery, and driving app downloads…
The Internet of Things will impact every department of your company, according to Kilton Hopkins of Level Education from Northeastern University. In this hour-long webcast, Hopkins discusses the changes coming with IoT and the skills that will be needed in your organization to address them.
It’s hard to think of a more complicated, operationally-intensive business than air transport. It’s regulated and overseen by a federal agency. Customers expect on-time arrivals, food, and frequent flier miles—and increasingly, in-flight wifi. And every new plane you add to the fleet can cost $75 million or more, and needs to be inspected regularly. In that environment, what role does innovation play? That’s the very big question that Matt Muta, VP of Innovation and Operations Technology at Delta Air Lines, has been responsible for answering since March 2014, when he joined the company from Microsoft. Our interview inside…
Tim Gorman, Associate Director of the Verizon Innovation Program, explains the objectives of the company’s innovation centers in San Francisco and the Boston suburbs, and offers a demo of an augmented reality solution for “smart cities.”
Dennis McGrath, VP of Global Ops Innovation at Starbucks, explains how the coffee retailer developed a new protocol for testing ideas in small numbers of stores. McGrath also discusses when to bring in other business stakeholders, the failure-tolerant culture at Starbucks, and a new store format. Includes 30 minutes of downloadable audio…
Bean is the Chief Experience Officer and Head of Innovation for Global Solutions Delivery at Manulife Financial, the $53.3 billion financial services group that operates as John Hancock in the US. He shares his advice about setting up a network of labs, building support among middle management, and the “DevOps” approach to bringing software development closer to IT operations folks. Includes downloadable audio…
The future of retail, in Faisal Masud’s view, doesn’t force the customer to do anything the customer doesn’t want to do. That includes keeping shopping lists, poking around websites, getting into a car, or roaming the aisles of a store. It may even include placing an order, if intelligent software can accurately guess what the customer needs based on past purchasing patterns. Highlights and audio from our conversation…
Adobe exec Aubrey Cattell says that the lean startup approach – build, measure, learn, accelerate – has changed the way Adobe thinks about innovation.
Working on a tight schedule to develop apps for NFL Media, Jazz Singh, director of product, mobile and connected, says he uses an agile development approach to get everything ready in time for the big game. Here are some of his tips on simplicity, scrums, and setting priorities.
George Leimer, VP of Fantasy Sports and Premium Products at ESPN, discusses how the sports network is working to build a data and metrics-oriented culture, enabling analysis to replace hunches when it comes to developing and refining new products and services.
When the $86 billion German engineering giant launched the Frontier Partner Program two years ago, it hoped to lower the barriers that kept startups from easily working with Siemens. Through Frontier, startups enter a low-commitment relationship in exchange for free Siemens software and mentorship. While the program is still in its infancy, Siemens seems pleased with the preliminary results of these relationships, and other companies are starting to take notice. Here’s how the program operates…
In Q3 2016, we surveyed companies active in, interested in, or developing connected products, in collaboration with the design and innovation consulting firm Altitude. Here’s the downloadable PDF report summarizing what we found.
In her position as VP of New Capabilities Innovation, Lei Chen was at the helm of a brand new team. She viewed the role as having three main components, and task number one was to “make sure we have the right talent in place to embrace the innovation that’s opened up by technology.” Here’s what she focused on…
How the Capital One Garage is incubating new products and ‘re-imagining the relationship with money’
“We incubate and accelerate great products,” says Gagan Kanjlia, co-founder of Capital One Garage, the incubator at the $24 billion financial services giant. “But also we’re driving this broader business transformation, which is essential for larger companies like Capital One.”
While it began life as an R&D outpost in 2000, and later added a venture capital team, Honda’s Silicon Valley site is now a full-fledged innovation hub for the company, overseeing a range of important partnerships and startup interactions. Nick Sugimoto explains how it’s set up.
How the labs group at publisher Houghton Mifflin is building an ecosystem of developers and partners
Can Houghton Mifflin Harcourt remake itself into a digital platform, distributing content, software, and cloud-based services to schools? That’s a big focus at HMH Labs, a group created in 2014. Labs chief Claudia Reuter explains how she has been building relationships with startups and software developers.
Retail innovator Ron Johnson on the Apple Store, SoulCycle, and his new approach to digital commerce
Johnson talks about companies blending digital convenience with an engaging offline experience — including the SoulCycle chain, Airbnb, and his startup, Enjoy. Johnson also shares some insights about launching the Apple Store concept while working for Steve Jobs, and how he may have tried to change things too abruptly as CEO of JC Penney.
“If you look at convenience, convenience means spending less time with a customer,” Pine said on a recent conference call with Innovation Leader members. “What I’m talking about is spending more time with a customer, where customers actually value the time they spend with you. Instead of time well-saved — a commoditized service — they view it as time well-spent. We spoke with Pine about how social media and virtual reality are changing the nature of experiences; Uber, Hilton, and Capital One; and more. 30 minutes of audio inside…
The startups that pitched at last week’s Demo Day ranged from instant interior design services to pop-up boutiques to a smart mirror that could change your morning routine.
Ben Einstein, managing partner of the investment firm Bolt, joined Innovation Leader editor Scott Kirsner on a recent webcast to discuss ten of the emerging business models for connected products and the “Internet of Things,” as well as how to avoid commoditization.
Innovation VP Alec Humphries discusses how his group inside the commercial real estate firm has begun generating millions in revenue within five years of its creation.
Roberto Masiero, vice president and head of ADP’s New Jersey innovation lab, offers lessons and recommendations for companies looking to start their own labs. Among them: deploy small teams focused on specific projects. “They almost become like a family,” he says. “It drives the project, and it’s been quite successful so far.”
Kimberly Hicks, Viacom’s vice president for user platform product management, says that in an arena where people’s media consumption behaviors and the devices they use are changing so quickly, the lean startup approach is extremely helpful. “We can’t just get a requirement, walk away and come back in six months, because the world’s changed,” she says.
In his first five years at the Sierra Club, Chris Thomas has advocated for building new digital platforms and introduced a start-up-like culture of testing and experimentation.
It has been just two years since the French multinational Schneider Electric set up an innovation center in Silicon Valley. But already, the outpost is helping the $30 billion company experiment with new services and business models. We talk to innovation VP Paul Campbell about its structure and one of the first projects…
Markus Durstewitz, head of innovation methods and tools for Airbus Group, talks about how the $67 billion manufacturer is working with suppliers, passengers, and pilots to make air travel more efficient. Includes slides…
Betting big on digital has been very good for Domino’s Pizza, the nation’s second largest pizza chain by sales and locations, after Pizza Hut. In its latest quarterly earnings report, the Ann Arbor, Michigan company said same-store sales grew by 10.7 percent at its domestic franchise locations. Chief Digital Officer Dennis Maloney explains how they’ve been doing it…
Chris Kay of Humana discusses how the $48 billion health insurer is collaborating and co-creating with startups in the healthcare industry, and outlines his process for going from ideation to market.
Talking about ideas is great — but it’s just vapor. Universal Orlando exec Al Callier explains how his team takes ideas from “vapor to paper to brick,” and what new technology they’re exploring now.
Chief Digital Officer Brian Tilzer discusses why the $37 billion retail and healthcare giant set up its new Digital Innovation Lab in Boston; how it connects with teams at CVS’ Rhode Island headquarters; and his thoughts on mobile payments, videoconferencing and collaboration, and in-store Bluetooth Beacon technology. Includes 40 minutes of audio from our recent Field Study visit…
When most people talk about connected products or the “Internet of Things,” they mean a new generation of devices that can communicate with one another wirelessly. But what if devices could buy stuff, rather than just conveying status or the need for maintenance? Here’s what Visa is experimenting with …
When Taco Bell tried to deliver new digital and in-store technologies for its customers and team members, the quick-service restaurant chain felt like it wasn’t able to move fast enough. A recently-formed 20-person team focused on Digital Innovation and On Demand is changing that. We talk to leader Lawrence Kim.
The Express Scripts Lab, which opened in 2010, roughly tripled in headcount last year and now houses more than 100 employees. One area of focus: working with data to better predict which patients will need extra nudges to stick to a medication regime. We talk with one of the executives who leads it, Mark Bini.
The bank’s mobile app already allowed customers to use spoken commands to check their balance, available interest rates, and make payments. Could it allow them to speak a phrase that would replace their password, too?
In recent years, Brian Lee, vice president of product innovation at Jamba Juice, has engineered a number of new product launches, expanding Jamba’s reach in beverages with fresh-squeezed juices and making a leap into the healthy food space with energy bowls. Lee lays out the steps Jamba goes through in developing a new food or drink idea.
Staying ahead of a technological shift in your industry can be tough when you’re not a tech leader like Google or Apple. Should you marshal the internal resources necessary to do cutting-edge development on your own, or simply wait for one of the tech giants to make their move, join them as a partner — and risk letting them come between you and your customers? Here’s how Linda Mantia tackled that question…
Rob Chumley’s mission: help 7-Eleven Inc. become more than just a quick place to stop for a sandwich and a Slurpee. “What we’re really focusing on now is this transition from convenience, which is defined by the products, to a convenient store, which is defined by the solutions it provides,” Chumley says. Here’s what 7-Eleven’s SVP of Innovation has been working on since he took on the role in November 2011…
Florida Hospital has been deploying “Internet of Things” technologies — including RFID locator tags attached to equipment and worn by employees — since 2010. Innovation Leader editor Scott Kirsner spoke recently with Ashley Simmons, Director of Innovation Development, about what they’ve learned so far, in a session held at the Internet of Things Summit in Boston.
A FedEx innovation team has been at the center of building businesses that leverage “Internet of Things” technologies. The first is called SenseAware, and it allows FedEx customers to know about the temperature, light exposure, and humidity of a package in transit — not to mention its precise location and whether or not it has been opened.
The $82 billion home improvement retailer opened the new site in January. One goal is to connect with students at Georgia Tech, but Home Depot exec Martin Key says they’re also exploring technologies that could impact the way people shop and the way store associates work. Includes videos.
Jason Flores of United Airlines shares his RAMP scoring system for employee ideas, and talks about some of the challenges of leveraging technology to make significant changes inside an established organization.
Brian Tilzer says the $139 billion company is navigating two revolutions: omni-channel retail and what he terms “the digital enablement of healthcare.” It wouldn’t be possible without dialing up spending, and bringing new talent to the company. Here’s what he’s doing (includes slides)…
An acquisition in 2014 gave Dun & Bradstreet a 49-person, cloud-focused software development team in Vancouver. Here’s how that group has evolved into D&B’s Cloud Innovation Center — and some of the challenges they’ve faced.
Perry Hewitt joined Harvard University in 2009 as the institution’s first Chief Digital Officer. The mission, as she describes it, was to help the university “be relevant and relatable in the digital world.” Though Facebook had been founded in a Harvard dorm room five years prior, for example, the school didn’t yet have an official Facebook page when Hewitt took the position. Here’s her advice for others in similar situations…
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ first Government Innovation Officer talks about the importance of quick hits; implementing a crowdsourcing initiative; and sponsoring competitions to diversify the pool of new vendors available to state government. Includes video and an annual report…
As startups deliver services like transportation, home cleaning, and errand-running with the click of an app, here’s how the playing field is changing.
Without the rights kinds of people on a project team, says Mike Duke, the Chief Innovation Architect at Wells Fargo, progress can stall. “Diversity of thought is critical,” Duke says. “If you have the same minds in the room, you’ll get the same ideas.” He offers an overview of innovation initiatives at the $21 billion financial services company.
In March, the $9 billion videogame retailer created the GameStop Technology Institute to help it develop new experiences and offerings for the “empowered consumer.” Senior director of technology innovation Charlie Larkin gives us a look at their first project, launching this month.
Companies are experimenting with Glass apps for airline check-in personnel, oilfield workers, and assembly line workers. The hoped-for benefits are better service and more productivity — as well as a connection with early adopter tech consumers.
Beth Comstock talks about how the $146 billion behemoth is pursuing speed and growth through partnerships: investing in startups, crowdsourcing solutions, inviting inventors to use selected patents to create new products, and more. “You have to recognize that no matter how good you are, you don’t have all the answers,” Comstock says. Here’s our exclusive interview…
Mary Cullinane, Chief Content Officer and EVP of Corporate Affairs at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, talks about breaking down walls between print and digital products, hacking away at hierarchies, and renewing the company’s focus on the customer.
Innovation Leader regularly keeps innovation executives apprised of startups that merit attention, and we’ve found another one in Placemeter. Inside, we describe why this disruptive Manhattan-based startup (or one like it) may have an impact on global retailers and other large corporations.
Being a bank is no longer just about branches and vaults full of cash, says Dominic Venturo, chief innovation officer of the $4.75 billion payment services business at U.S. Bank. Venturo explains how his 13-person innovation team interacts with the lines of business to make sure the organization stays ahead of trends like mobile payments, telepresence, and biometric security.
IT executive Fabio Almeida shares his experiences in trying to get an innovation program off the ground at Infineum USA, a New Jersey-based maker of petroleum additives. “Don’t expect people to embrace innovation just because they are interested in the topic, or it is the new buzzword in the organization,” he writes.
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