Tag Archives: Innovation

7 Considerations when Creating a Corporate Innovation Lab

How do I understand the consequences of technological change and position my company to capitalize on the opportunities?

Diane Schwarz, VP and Chief Information Officer of Textron Inc.

In this interview, Diane Schwarz discusses World Class IT Principle One, People, World Class IT Principle Three, Project and Portfolio Management, World Class IT Principle Four, IT and Business Partnerships, and World Class IT Principle Five, External Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • How IT is structured within Textron, and how dual reporting structures are used to enable business-unit IT and enterprise-level IT effectively collaborate
  • The criteria that business units use to find a balance between shared services and specialized solutions
  • How Diane’s strategic plan – which focuses on (1) advancing the business, (2) making IT easy, (3) protecting the enterprise, and (4) succeeding with talent – keeps the business units moving in a coordinating direction while allowing variability for specific strategies
  • How Diane uses ideation events and hackathons to drive innovation across the business and provide the environment for employees to grow outside of their comfort zone
  • How IT is made easy by emphasizing communication and maintaining comprehensive knowledge bases on IT tools
  • Diane’s career progression, and why she advises aspiring CIOs to gain experience both inside and outside of IT
  • Eye on the trends: the diffusion of technology through all business functions, and machine learning and artificial intelligence

Clay Johnson, Chief Information Officer of Walmart

In this interview, Clay Johnson discusses World Class IT Principle One, People, World Class IT Principle Two, Infrastructure, World Class IT Principle Four, IT and Business Partnerships, and World Class IT Principle Five, External Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • How the unification of the back-office technology and shared services teams under Clay enables Walmart to operate more efficiently
  • The consumerization of IT, and how that drives Clay’s focus on providing intuitive digital tools that enhance the productivity of Walmart’s two million employees
  • The importance of having employees with the right skills and mindset in the right roles, and how Walmart ensures it has the proper skills mix
  • Clay’s three-pronged approach to gaining an understanding of the needs of Walmart’s business and its massive workforce, and how that informs project prioritization within his 10,000-person team
  • The four key elements to creating a healthy culture: transparency, encouraging healthy debate, empowering people to speak up, and celebrating failure
  • How the shift to a product model and end-to-end ownership has improved internal efficiency
  • Walmart’s network of innovation centers, and how they leverage the surrounding ecosystem of academic institutions and startups
  • The key lessons Clay has taken away from the various experiences across his career
  • Walmart’s approach to artificial intelligence and the tangible benefits they are seeing

Linda Jojo, EVP of Technology and Chief Digital Officer of United Airlines

In this interview, Linda Jojo discusses World Class IT Principle Three, Project and Portfolio Management, and World Class IT Principle Four, IT and Business Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Linda’s expanded purview as Executive Vice President of Technology and Chief Digital Officer
  • United’s digital strategy, and how they use digital to enhance both the customer-facing experience as well as internal operations
  • Evolving customer expectations in the travel space
  • How Linda has seen the role of the CIO evolve during the past 10+ years
  • Linda’s view on the role of the Chief Digital Officer
  • Advice for CIOs who aspire to join corporate Boards
  • How United thinks about cyber risk, and how to have the conversation with the Board
  • The importance of machine learning for leveraging data across the company

Yoshua Bengio, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Montreal, Co-Founder of Element AI

In this interview, Yoshua Bengio, discusses World Class IT Principle One, People, and World Class Principle Five, External Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Supervised verses unsupervised deep learning
  • The heart of deep learning: disentangled representations
  • The genesis and mission of Element AI
  • Exploratory AI research verses applied AI research
  • The development of the Montreal Institute of Learning Algorithms (MILA)
  • The significance Yoshua places on supportive and collaborative cultures
  • The evolution of AI in Montreal
  • Yoshua’s concerns bout lethal autonomous weapons (LAWs)

Andrew Moore, Dean of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University

In this interview, Andrew Moore, discusses World Class IT Principle One, People, and World Class Principle Five, External Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • The genesis of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science
  • The history of artificial intelligence
  • Aspects of human intelligence that have been automated to date
  • The impact of automation on jobs
  • Automated personal assistants as the predictor for the future eminent AI company
  • CMU’s strategies for retaining faculty talent
  • The two distinct safety concerns of AI
  • The supportive relationship between Pittsburgh’s government, universities, and tech and manufacturing companies

Taso Du Val, Co-Founder & CEO of Toptal

In this interview, Taso Du Val, discusses World Class IT Principle Four, IT & Business Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Toptal’s mission
  • Finding, screening, and monitoring talent
  • Toptal’s two engagement models: Talent Model and Toptal Projects
  • Taso’s entrepreneurial journey
  • Advantages Toptal has gained by developing their own CRM, ERP, VPM systems
  • Future talent verticals

What Are Microservices? – Part 2: An Interview With Confluent CEO Jay Kreps

What are microservices? In the first part in this series, I interviewed Matt Miller of Sequoia Capital. In this, the second part of the series, I interview Jay Kreps, the founder and CEO of Confluent, an open-source streaming platform based on Apache Kafka. Kreps developed Kafka while he was the Principal Staff Engineer at LinkedIn. Three years ago, he left that social media giant to develop his own company to develop real-time data streams leveraging microservices.
In this interview, he describes his entrepreneurial journey, highlights the opportunity that microservices offer to large and small companies alike, and offers advice on how best to harness the power of this trend.

What Are Microservices? – Part 1: An Interview With Matt Miller Of Sequoia

Matt Miller is a Partner at Sequoia Capital, and he is among the foremost experts on microservices. He has invested in many leading companies in the space, and maintains a microservices ecosystem roadmap that highlights the various aspects of the topic and the leaders in each aspect. He seemed like the perfect person to ask the question, “What are Microservices?”

Paul Fipps, Chief Technology Officer of Under Armour

Under Armour used to be known primarily for its moisture-wicking t-shirts. In the 21 years since the company was established in founder and CEO Kevin Plank’s grandmother’s basement, the company has expanded its product line extensively to include hats, pants, shoes, gloves, bags, and the like.
In recent years, the company has made three strategic acquisitions that will continue to reshape the company. With the acquisitions of MapMyFitness, EndoMondo, and MyFitnessPal, the company has become the largest digital health and fitness community in the world. Peter High recently spoke with Under Armour’s Chief Technology Officer Paul Fipps, who leads this digital transformation of the company. He sees the future as a combination of the physical and the digital, where one’s clothing and accessories provide better information on heart rates and sleep quality.