Applied Innovation in Residence

Last week, we introduced an upcoming residency program aimed at imbuing a culture of innovation in the businesses of our clients. This program will select a handful of participants for an 18-month immersion program that will recode them to be executives for the digital era.

I’m excited about this program because it embodies the goal of our Applied Innovation Exchanges (AIEs) Our AIEs steep clients in awareness and insights so they can create a sustainable framework for innovation within their organizations amidst ongoing digital disruption. We recently introduced the residency program at our San Francisco-based AIE during an event for media and partners.

At this event, we discussed some of the many challenges clients face in a digital age where innovation is expected and, when optimally utilized, can be a catalyst for rapid and scalable impact when applied in a results-oriented manner. Two issues that frequently arose from sessions covering retail, automotive, and the rise of fintech within financial services, were keeping pace with change and incorporating a culture to scale the benefits of innovation. These issues will become increasingly relevant as the digital transformations of business accelerate the pace of change in the market and magnify their effects. 

During a retail session, Kevin Schaff from Twyst pointed out fully digitized brands (i.e. everything from design concept to logistics and inventory) are able to get a product to market in ten days–something that normally takes up to eight months to do. Lisa DeCarlo from Wells Fargo during a fintech panel discussion said that by turning to digitization in product development they were able to gain willing support from 90 different internal business stakeholders for a new product that launched in six months. Typically in such a large organization as Wells Fargo, it could take at least two years to launch a product and would rarely have broad awareness let alone support.

Too frequently, innovation is misunderstood and underutilized. Innovation isn’t a shiny object, such as a drone or a robot – it is a skill set that needs to be understood, distributed and sustained to achieve breakaway results. Skill sets take time to develop and a commitment to nurture them.

Our AIEs help our clients build up those innovation skill sets and embed them as a foundational part of their organizations. We offer up workshops to help discover innovations, devise frameworks to take advantage of them, deploy business models using the benefits of innovation; and sustain a culture of innovation. Our AIEs can act as a platform for digital transformations and offer the application of innovation as-a-service.

Organizations need to harness innovations to translate them into their businesses and their results while simultaneously keeping up with the pace of change that is accelerating as more businesses go digital.

We currently have 12 AIEs globally located in strategically important regions for our clients and our business, with two more set to open in 2017–one in New York City and another in Singapore. We anticipate two to four more in the coming years.

Our next step in our AIE vision is the residency program, which is in the planning stages, and we have identified our first three participants who will undergo a digital transformation in our San Francisco-based AIE starting in early 2017.

Check back here for more details on the program and the progress of our AIE residency participants.

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