Author Archive

Negotiating

January 23, 2017

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FountainBlue’s January 20 When She Speaks was on the topic of Negotiating for a Win-Win. Below are notes from the conversation. 

We were fortunate to have a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives on our negotiation panel. Their combined advice is summarized below.

  • Build relationships deep and wide before you need to.
  • Fundamental to any successful negotiation is understanding your own personal needs and desires, and also the motivations and interests of the other people involved.
  • Emotions may run high when stakes run high in a negotiation. Accepting that this may happen and managing your own emotions – like giving yourself the time to react and respond – will help you be more successful through a negotiation.
  • Know the strength and value for yourself and for your team/product/company so that you can enter into a negotiation from a position of strength.
  • Be open and curious about the perspective of the other parties so you are better positioned to negotiate a win-win.
  • Take a chance and get noticed. Reach beyond your responsibilities and role when you’re able to.
  • Work with partners, mentors, allies and sponsors to keep stretching yourself, and to make sure others hear of your successes and impact.
  • Sometimes asking for something a bit less than you wanted may bring you closer to what you wanted in the long run.
  • Be a great listener, one who truly and authentically cares about the welfare of the other party.
  • Don’t generalize about people based on gender, ethnicity, age, etc., Everyone is different and unique.
  • Make others around you look good, feel good.
  • Make the best of what you are given. Sometimes what you dread happening may wind up being better than what you wanted in the first place.
  • Put yourself first – that’s hard when your team and family are so important.
  • Be accessible and reachable so that people will reach out to you and start that communication channel.
  • Manage the conditions for the negotiation itself – everyone should be comfortable and not feel rushed or pressured.
  • Have open communications with spouse regarding work priorities so that your own front is managed and your work demands are addressed.
  • Be proactive about spelling out your needs and dreams. Don’t judge yourself or others, or be with those who judge you for your needs and dreams.
  • Encourage and support children to take responsibility and ownership for their own problems.
  • Know your walking points and be wiling to walk under those conditions.
  • Know the top line and the bottom line going into the negotiation. Having those boundaries will help ensure a successful outcome.

Bottom line – be strategic, relationship-based, and engage with long-term, win-win results in mind. We wish you the best of luck in managing your upcoming negotiations. 

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Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Samsung and our panelists!

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue – Coach, Adviser and Consultant
  • Panelist Charlotte Falla, Vice President and General Counsel, Samsung Research America, Inc.,
  • Panelist Jennifer Morrill, VP, Commercial Legal (Americas/EMEA), LinkedIn
  • Panelist Lucia Soares, Vice President, Healthcare Technology Strategy, Johnson & Johnson
  • Panelist Yvonne Thomson, Vice President, Culture & Employee Experience, Symantec

ISMAC is Where It’s At

January 21, 2017

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FountainBlue’s January 13 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘ISMAC is Where It’s At: What’s Hot in Immersive, Secure, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud Technologies for 2017. Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at TCV, and our executives in attendance.

This month’s roundtable executives represented a wide range of industries, roles, functions and company sizes. Therefore, their perspectives around the what’s hot and what’s next would vary greatly. However, there’s agreement that we are on the cusp of great change in the way we adopt technology and in the way we do business.

  • Open source technologies will be integral to address technology opportunities and challenges.
  • There are an abundance of solutions in the areas of ISMAC. But integration of a wide range of disparate solutions are necessary to address the wide ranging needs of customers. 
  • Adoption of new solutions and integrations will be difficult for all companies and all industries, with different issues for each company and industry. Policy, leadership, standards and protocols, etc., will all factor in throughout the adoption and integration cycle.
  • Starting first with the adoption of Salesforce and other cloud-based solutions, there’s been an increasingly marked shift in focus to adopting cloud solutions, with less reliance on IT staff and support prior to the integration.
  • DevOps is becoming a more important target and beta market as they are 1) close to the customer, 2) open to integrating new technologies, 3) tech-savvy enough to understand options and requirements, 4) increasingly more important and empowered, 5) historically known for quick deployment, and 6) known for creating libraries, modules and protocols to support rapid implementation for new and upgraded solutions. 
  • With that said, DevOps divisions in general has not historically not had the budget or the inclination to buy enterprise-targeted solutions.
  • Therefore, business units within enterprises may be more logical targets for enterprise solutions. However, working with DevOps initially would increase likelihood of success for a project and sale.

The collective advice of our executives is summarized below.

  • Create an architecture and infrastructure, and an ability to do regular updates. This would support a solution in the near term and for the long term. An example of doing this successfully is to create a security layer like a coat of armor around a solution, and then making it easy to provide modular updates based on ongoing threats and needs – much like a flu shot.
  • Collaboration between technologists and business leaders is essential for delivering to the needs of the customer.
  • Although DevOps might be a great initial partner for other technologies, security solutions may not be as interesting to DevOps members.  
  • Although selling solutions to engineers and DevOps team members might be attractive for many reasons, companies such as AppDynamics and Splunk are finding more success selling to enterprise business units. 
  • When looking at the security of medical devices, you must first consider the health and welfare of the patient. The security of an application is not of primary concern if the life of a patient is at stake.
  • When the health challenge is not critical and more ongoing and chronic, like diabetes treatment solutions, there’s more latitude to ensure the privacy of the patient data, while also collecting aggregated data for medical research and clinical application. 
  • Agencies such as the FDA are not well positioned to review and set protocols for the adoption of tech-based devices or cloud-based applications, yet this is their mandate. A wide range of stakeholders are working with these types of agencies to forge a path forward.

Below are some hot areas to watch.

  • Leveraging AI for voice recognition may help virtual assistance better serve customers, beyond what Alexa and Siri are doing today.
  • Integrators who work with the wide range of stakeholders on track the adoption of standards are well positioned to help customers integrate a wide breadth of solutions to address specific problems.
  • Modular solutions which follow standardized protocols and open source elements will be more likely to be adopted. 
  • Find ways to leverage aggregated data to generate targeted reports tailored to the needs of the customers. 
  • Find ways to monetize open source – perhaps by creating customized, dynamically-generated reports.
  • Find ways to containerize/modularize elements to ensure cleaner and more robust scalability and security.
  • IoT solutions will continue to be hot. Those that integrate well with others and fit protocols and standards will be more readily adopted.

The overarching message is that technology innovation will require more leadership, more collaboration and better coordination and better communication.

When Digital Meets Physical

December 31, 2016

digitalphysicalDigital will continue to be the buzz – the differentiator which makes it easier to gather, digest and interpret data, easier to send personalized solutions to a wide range of customers. There’s no question that AI, BI and the Internet of Everything will affect the amount of information we receive online through our computers and through our wide range of smart devices. But there will be a physical element to digital solutions and elegantly integrating the two will set products and solutions apart.

  1. Yes, this means that IoT in general will continue to be hot, and affecting all of us in our day to day lives in ways we can barely imagine, and much more pervasively than we expect. Companies who can create a standard for the physical devices and the digital output from these devices will help the entire industry further ride that boom.
  2. IoT in the health and fitness space will continue to produce volumes of data, but also begin exploring the implications of the data and also interpreting volumes of data for patterns, while respecting the privacy of individual users.
  3. IoT in the retail space will help companies do everything from managing inventory to tracking customers, from improving security to anticipating orders.
  4. IoT in the transportation space will go far beyond GPS and emergency services and parking support. It will soon transform everything from car upgrades to changing appearances and going driverless!
  5. IoT in the consumer at home space will be all around automation a la Google and Nest and its temperature settings, and going far beyond that into appliance automation, lawn and garden care, and automated cooking and anticipatory grocery buying.
  6. Digital Out Of the Home (DOOH) solutions provide digital experiences going beyond computers and mobile phones and devices. Think about bus stops, bill boards, airports, train stations, food courts . . . pushing information out where people congregate, without the need for a computer or mobile device.
  7. Digital solutions can extend far beyond the tech world . . . including into agriculture. Imagine if we had tools which could support the full food supply chain – from production to processing to distribution and storage. These innovations will help improve efficiencies and the physical world for millions of people.
  8. Digital solutions enable peer-to-peer platforms which will continue to explode. Whether it’s with transportation services such as UBER and Lyft or vacation rental services such as AirBnB, or funding and loan services such as Indiegogo and Lending Club, people will connect with each other to deliver physical services, leveraging the digital platform to ensure fit, efficiency, security, etc.
  9. The quantity and quality of easily-available streaming digital videos is mind-boggling. We’re rapidly reaching the point where videos are preferred over standard television. And the point where original content, even if produced in non-commercial ways a la YouTube is preferred.
  10. And the point where immersive and interactive components are mandatory requirements for a successful digital experience, leveraging AR, QVC codes, motion sensory or MAC detectors.

The list could go on from here . . . Suffice it to say that the trend is going from Online to Offline (the physical), moving the user Onward – to a richer, more fulfilled, better served future. And if there’s success, there will be a loop back to the Online option, for more information, for more connections, for additional options.

Power to the Team

December 12, 2016

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FountainBlue’s December 9 When She Speaks was on the topic of Power to the Team, hosted by Nutanix. Below are notes from the conversation.

This month’s panel represented a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, but they had much in common.

  • Their authentic voice and leadership style helped them connect with people across the organization and between people and teams. 
  • Their varied experience helps them work with a wide range of people and perspectives, in a broad range of functions and roles.
  • Their track record for success helps them succeed in higher-impact positions and projects, and gains them credibility across the board, and including executive suite members.

Leading teams is much more challenging today than it used to be for many reasons. 

  1. The technology is more complex. There are many more moving pieces and many more people and groups involved in development. 
  2. The pace of change has accelerated, from the technology side and from the business side.
  3. The size of the team, and the number of groups and teams involved is now greatly increased.
  4. The customers are much more discerning, much more demanding. They are also requesting customizations and personalizations. It takes a coordinated team effort to deliver these solutions at scale to this discerning customer base.
  5. Changes in corporate direction happen, and teams must deliver to new objectives mid-stream, even when the new goals are contrary to prior plans!
  6. There’s a greater need to include more diversity on the team, to represent a much larger and broader customer base.

The need for collaboration and communication is much greater because of these changes. Below are some best practices for leading teams.

  • Be authentic to your values and your goals, and ensure alignment between who you are, and what you do, working with people who share your values.
  • Be a versatile team leader who are also adept at following. 
  • Help others disagree and commit where necessary.
  • Be positive, candid, transparent and clear in all communications. It’s not always easy to ensure seamless alignment on clear, measurable goals, especially when changes and challenges take place. It takes courage to have difficult conversations, to own up to mistakes and problems, to maintain momentum and credibility, despite the changes. But it must be done to maintain energy and progress.
  • Be nimble, agile and quick. 
  • Make it about the data and the cause, not about personal or political agendas. 
  • Focus on quality and results rather than volume and quantity.
  • Build relationships that are deep and broad in the short term and for the long term. Build relationships not because you might need something from them someday, but because you can build these relationships, because you can help each other one day, because you can better understand the perspectives of others, especially when they don’t think like you, especially when change is in the works!
  • Focus on high-impact tasks which would generate measurable progress towards well-defined goals. Communicate progress to stakeholders regularly and build momentum around the cause.
  • Secure the sponsorship of key execs to help ensure your team has the resources and support it needs to succeed.
  • Pivots will happen. Be transparent and clear about why pivots happen, what it means for the team and company and individuals, etc.
  • Celebrate successes and progress.
  • Be inclusive, productive and positive.
  • Enlist the support of a Board of Directors, a group of mentors and supporters to help you identify and work around your blind spots. Play that role for others as well – whether they are execs who would value an opinion or a high-potential team member.

The overarching message from our inspiring and diverse panel is clear – be true to YOU, and keep the energy and results flowing, so you can serve your customers, support your team, and deliver for your product and company!

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Please join me in thanking our gracious hosts at Nutanix and our panelists for the Power to the Team Event.

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue – Executive Coach, Tech Adviser and Leadership Consultant
  • Panelist Neela Deshpande, R&D Programs Director, Chief of Staff, VMware
  • Panelist Natasha Hoady, Senior Director of HR, Nutanix
  • Panelist Cheri Leonard, Senior Technical Program Manager, Samsung Research America
  • Panelist Martina Sourada, Senior Director, SWQA, ISV Certification, NVIDIA

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M&A Best Practices

December 7, 2016

mergersFountainBlue’s December 2 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘M&A Best Practices’,and was graciously hosted by NetApp. The executives in attendance at this month’s roundtable represented a wide range of industries, roles, functions and company sizes. Therefore, their perspectives around the planning, envisioning and execution of a success merger, acquisition and integration vary greatly. However, there’s agreement that:

  • Plan-fully envisioning and executing a successful M&A is a team effort.
  • Transparent, strategic and ongoing communication between all affected parties is critical to the success of any integration.
  • M&A deals are bigger and faster than they’ve been in the past, with the potential to transform markets and industries, with BIG companies buying each other, with companies buying new products, channels and markets, etc.
  • Some companies are more ‘acquisition-minded’ than others. Those that are generally have a complex and comprehensive process to help ensure that the integration goes well end to end and generally measure specific data points, agreed prior to the initiation of a merger, whether the data is around innovation/technology deliverables or Gartner hype curve appearance, operational cost optimization or lowered support and outreach costs, improved distribution channels or larger footprint in specific geographies.
  • The trend toward having a broader and more diverse, more demanding customer base will continue to evolve. Corporate M&A strategists will take this into account.

The collective advice of our executives is summarized below.

  • When you are looking at best merger opportunities, consider not just the market landscape, customer base and technology fit, but look also at the cultural fit. Even if everything else fits well, the lack of cultural fit can immensely impact the success of a merger.
  • Seasoned M&A leaders know the cycle of response around M&A events – from the ‘shock’ to the ‘work overload’ phase, and on to the ‘disillusionment’ and then the ‘acceptance’ phase, and on from there to the ‘search-for-the-next-deal’ phase. Sharing their stories and experience will help companies retain their best people through these high-change cycles.
  • Understand their motivations and facilitate collaboration between stakeholders.
  • Plan-fully and pro-actively manage the integration from beginning to end through an Integration Playbook highlighting People, Process and Technology details. Know when it’s business as usual for the integration, and when something is urgent, who which exec needs to respond in what manner in order to get the integration on track. Make sure that happens – the success of the deal may depend on it.
  • Build relationships with all stakeholders. Know what their role is for the integration process. If possible, know also how they would respond to stress and change prior to their being subjected to it. Have a plan B if plan A may not work out.
  • With ongoing communications based on measurable results, also include self-assessments. Make sure that everyone has the time and support and resources to deliver their piece of the puzzle to help keep the integration project on-track.
  • Ensure clear and ongoing executive sponsorship throughout the M&A deal.
  • No matter how much you plan for the merger, no matter how well it’s going, no matter how quickly or elegantly it’s coming together, there will be surprises and unintended consequences. Accept that this will happen, and respond and react using your best judgment, while aligning motivations and remaining transparent and communicative.
  • Be clear on what must be done, what’s nice to be done, what doesn’t need to be done yet, and what will never happen. Negotiate with important stakeholders if you’re not in alignment on which buckets each objective or task fits in.

Below are how to best leverage mergers to grow a business.

  • Identify adjacent markets and technologies location for expansion.
  • Know the value and timing for fast organic group, for new market growth, for headcount growth, for industry consolidation, etc.,
  • Find higher-margin services and customizations for low-margin businesses.

Again, please join me in thanking our participating execs and our hosts at NetApp.

In Search of Clarity

November 23, 2016

Arctic landscapeWith the dramatic end to a colorful and divisive election, most of us realized that the world is not what it appears to be. Some have responded with retreat and anger, disbelief and shock. Some have celebrated in quiet disbelief, some have lamented in public outrage. To me, it’s a message that things are not as they appear, that people are not who we think they are, that feelings are deeper and closer than we once thought. It’s an invitation to double-down on understanding ourselves and the world we live in, the people we live with.

  1. Respecting people for who they are is fundamental to understanding them. Judging people based on gender, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, religion or anything else is not respecting them as individuals. There is no way to find clarity and understand the world we live in when these types of classifications happen.
  2. Proactively seek to understand the viewpoints of those who don’t think like you.
  3. Appreciate the time and energy it takes for someone not-like-you to share his/her viewpoint.
  4. Be curious about their reality – their background, world view and experiences are likely different than your own, in ways that are hard to imagine.
  5. Ask relevant and poignant questions and LISTEN at all levels to what is said and what is not said.
  6. Express compassion for the trials and challenges they describe.
  7. Share a connection through common experiences, common obstacles.
  8. Sit comfortably with the differences you have with others’ viewpoints, accepting without judgement.
  9. Concisely and clearly respond to questions without the ulterior motive of converting someone to your own point of view, without anger or judgement.
  10. Agree to disagree where appropriate, still embracing the thoughts above.

This Thanksgiving, I hope that we will all sit together as one, come together as one, grow together as one.

Diversity

November 14, 2016

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FountainBlue’s November 11 When She Speaks event was on the topic of The Business Case for Diversity. Below are notes from the conversation.

Today, more than ever, it’s important to bring the diversity business case to the forefront of the conversation. Being open to diverse points of views and backgrounds, being truly inclusive independent of gender, age, political and cultural backgrounds, facilitates the success of individuals and teams and companies overall. Leaders who think, speak and act with open-minded and empathetic inclusiveness draw out a wider range of perspectives, ideas and input, which ultimately leads to increased innovation and an increased ability to meet the needs of a diverse set of stakeholders. (See resources below.)

The twenty years of globalization has not only led to expanded operations and increased market share, but it also to an increased pace of innovation, a more empowered, more demanding, and more diverse customer base. Successfully serving the needs of the market and customers involves increased complexity, increased partnerships, as well as a more diverse and more educated worker. 

Recruiting, retaining and developing the diverse workforce is core to success. Below is an aggregated list of best practices for embracing diverse perspectives into the workforce.

  • Create a culture that thinks, talks and walks in alignment with diversity values. From the top down, from the bottom up, with each and every conversation, work toward embracing diversity, especially when it makes you feel uncomfortable. Take specific and immediate action if the alignment falters because of specific words, actions, and events.  
  • Be curious about what others around you think and invite their perspectives at every turn, building bridges in every direction, at every opportunity.
  • Work with allies and partners to communicate directly, clearly and transparently, and follow up with clear and consistent, measurement-based actions.
  • Be curious especially when their may be an ‘unconscious bias‘, one that is so engrained that you didn’t know that it existed.
  • Be selective about the thoughts, words and actions you use, to make sure that you’re making the impression you want, whether you’re the one being evaluated, or the one that is doing the evaluating.
  • Enable managers and leaders to succeed, proactively welcoming their questions and curiosity, while also providing training and education, and even rewards specific to diversity and inclusion measurement improvements.
  • Adopting tactical practices such as blind resume reviews, interview panels  and anonymous code review may help managers more consistently address unconscious biases based on gender and other factors.
  • Offer job rotation opportunities so that people can participate in different functions and see the business from a wide range of perspectives.
  • Be emotionally intelligent, so you can recognize and read your own emotions, and that of others, so you can discern what is said and what is meant, so you can manage the labels placed and mis-placed, and ultimately so you can guide thinking and behavior – your own and that of others.
  • Be Patient for change takes time.
  • Be the Role Model you want to see.
  • Find the Role Model who will stretch you, and give you the opportunities to succeed.
  • See the promise in others, and allow them to step up, while giving them a leg-up.
  • No matter what your background, do a good job – be competent, work hard, be pure of intent. Your thoughts, words and actions will build momentum and catch attention.

Resources: 

Contact us for a list of measurement-based resources which may help you measure your diversity efforts.

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Please join us in thanking our panelists for FountainBlue’s November 11 When She Speaks event was on the topic of The Business Case for Diversity and to our gracious hosts at Symantec! 

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue – Executive Coach, Tech Adviser and Leadership Consultant
  • Panelist Weiping Cai, Sales Director » Product Development & Marketing | Sales & New Account Acquisition, ASML 
  • Panelist Nolwenn Godard, Director of Pricing Product and President of Unity, Women@ PayPal
  • Panelist Andria Jones, Senior Corporate Counsel, Office of Ethics and Compliance, Symantec 
  • Panelist Chhavi Upadhya, Head of Engineering, Strategy and Operations, Nutanix

In Search of Unicorns

November 4, 2016

pegasusFountainBlue’s November 11 VIP roundtable was on the topic of ‘In Search of Unicorns’ hosted by Samsung.

The executives in attendance at this month’s roundtable represented a wide range of industries, roles, functions and company sizes. Therefore, their perspectives on what it means to be entrepreneurial, what’s hot and what’s not varied greatly. However, there’s agreement that:

  • The innovation ecosystem will include investors, entrepreneurs, executives and providers. Interactive conversations and collaborations will become increasingly more important.
  • We should all value the openness and creativity of the entrepreneurs, the resources, channels and funding of the corporate partners, as well as the funding and vision of the investors, for each has a piece of the puzzle.
  • Perhaps we should re-think whether we’re looking for ‘unicorns’. So many companies are captivated by the mythical element, or the horn, and miss the importance of the wings – wings which transcend what regular horses can do. So perhaps a winged horse, a ‘Pegasus’, will more likely lead us to that billion dollar company.

The collective advice of our executives is summarized below.

  • What you’ve learned throughout your business journey may feed into your future entrepreneurial efforts. So take the time to learn about what worked and what didn’t work in terms of business models and processes and in terms of technology. The answers will lie in efficiently delivering what customers are looking for.
  • Work within the needs of the customer, the mind-sets of the players in the industry, the processes embraced over decades. But find ways to provide innovation which would fit into all these forces as well.
  • Corporates may value the technology innovation over the current adoption rate of the start-up. A company’s R&D and manufacturing centers, network of partner and channel contacts, access to funding, etc. may help that promising unicorn realize its potential.
  • Whether you’re facilitating innovation conversations between teams within an organization, encouraging customers to adopt of the latest solutions, or fostering the introduction of a new hardware, software or government standard, it’s always about getting influential people to adopt a new way of thinking or speaking or doing something, and encouraging others to do the same.
  • All industries will be transformed by the immersive, social, mobile, analytics, IOT and cloud solutions.

Below are opportunities ripe for innovation.

  • Seek opportunities to transform how we do things now, leveraging IT, big data and automation. 
  • Seek opportunities to provide integrated end-to-end solutions.
  • Voice recognition leveraging Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence will continue to be of foundational importance. 
  • Automate functions which connect vetted providers with those-in-need, UBER style. Whether it’s connecting substitute teachers to classrooms, or connecting companies with excess food to nonprofits who distribute food (like gocopia.com), automating that connection adds value to all.
  • Innovative ways to digitally vet health status of patients with certified health professionals may save people and companies time and money in spades.
  • Look inside out and outside in to find those upside-down ways of addressing existing challenges. Embrace people with diverse perspectives who can help solve problems in new ways, leveraging IT, software, and devices.
  • Look for solutions beyond our world, and into the stratosphere to address a whole new layer of solutions – above the realm of drones, and within the earth’s atmosphere.
  • Connect the digital solution to the physical world. 

We are on the cusp of innovations in all markets at an astronomical scale. The world as we know it will become much bigger than we could ever imagine, and we can all choose to participate and shape that direction, to create a bigger, brighter, more collaborative and more efficient future.

On Being Limitless

October 31, 2016

limitlessWhat if the world were your oyster – if you had all the energy, all the answers, all the resources you need to do whatever you’d like to do, within reason, and address specific problems and challenges? What if you knew, or could easily figure out, the answer to some of the world’s greatest challenges – from the cure to cancer to the challenge of overpopulation, from global warming to the ongoing survival and well-being of mankind, from the origin of the big bang to living outside and beyond our solar system.

In today’s quickly-changing world, powered by ground-breaking technology-based transformations that are dynamic, immersive, relevant and real, it’s hard to imagine what the next chapter will bring, and easy to see that bright minds are focused on addressing remaining challenges one by one.

Assuming that this happens, and we are all so much more powerful – limitless even – what can we do to ensure that we remain compassionate and human, ethical and logical in applying our faculties and resources?

  1. Will we be wise enough to define the right problem to solve?
  2. Will tribal knowledge be collected and also be factored in?
  3. Will we be able to collaborate with the right people to make the right near-term and long term solution?
  4. Will we be patient enough to vet solutions to make sure that they deliver intended results?
  5. Will we be able to prioritize which problems to solve first and how many resources would be allocated to which problems?
  6. Will we be able to get the buy-in from the right people to implement solutions?
  7. Will we be able to test amongst many options?
  8. Will we be able to elegantly rewind a choice already made?
  9. Will we be able to do the ‘right’ thing for all stakeholders involved?
  10. Will we be able to have sufficient oversight to prevent people from unilaterally making decisions that affect others without their permission?

If the answer is no for any of the above, how can we plan-fully prepare for this whole new world?

Innovation in SF

October 24, 2016

innovationsf2016FountainBlue’s October 21 When She Speaks in SF event, on the topic of Women Leading Innovation in San Francisco and Beyond. Below are notes from the conversation.

We were fortunate to have such an energetic, forward-thinking and accomplished range of innovators on our panel. Our panel represented a wide breadth of academic and social backgrounds, upbringings, roles and companies. Their collective advice is summarized below.

Innovation is not just about technology. 

  • Encourage everyone to define innovation more broadly as opportunities to think, speak and do things differently, whether it involves technology, processes or thinking.
  • Look not just at tech innovations but also look into innovations which improve business processes, innovations which help expand into new markets, as well as business model innovations.

Challenge people around you to think, speak and act more broadly and more deeply and gravitate toward people who are doing the same for you and to you.

  • Encourage and support self awareness in everyone around you, so they can see the bigger picture and their fit into the market and business trends.
  • Encourage both girls and boys to be self-reliant and curious, and socialize them equally to enjoy and appreciate science, technology, math and sciences.
  • Create a product, team and company where quality people want to work and stay and help them to be successful.

Focus on the Needs of the Customer as you create your strategy and your plan.

  • The adoption of a technology by paying customers is much more important than the elegance of the technology.
  • Your starting point should be ‘what are the needs of the customer’ and ‘how are you solving the customer’s problems’?
  • With advances in technology such as big data and AI, make sure that the customer still has access to human interactions.
  • Customers will increasingly demand more immersive so adopt the technologies which would address their needs.
  • Be nimble and quick with your innovations and features, resetting where necessary, gathering data to ensure alignment with the needs of the customer.
  • Ensure that the customer consistently experiences exceptional results – no matter how many hats you have to wear to make that happen.

Create a culture which embraces innovation opportunities.

  • Encourage innovators who can in turns be the humble do-er as well as the grand strategist and visionary. 
  • Invite all parties to participate as the collective entity bobs and weaves in a forward motion.
  • Be clear on WHAT needs to be accomplished by WHEN, but allow people to define HOW results will be delivered.
  • Consistently and generously believe that educating and enabling others makes things better for everyone.
  • Relish all opportunities to receive feedback and insights from others, especially from people who don’t think like they do.

Predictions for the Future

  • Customer will continue to demand more real-time digital solutions that are iSMAC (immersive, social, mobile, analytics and cloud) based.
  • Digital transformation will continue to be headline news, transforming all industries.
  • Watch for innovations on the way we distribute and create content.
  • Innovation will be in our world, in our face, in ALL industries (no matter how far we think they are from tech), from virtual reality experiences to driverless cars.

The big take-away is that everyone should feel empowered and enabled to lead and participate in an innovation, and open up opportunities to collaborate with others in being part of the win-win solutions.

Resources:


Please join me in thanking our speakers for FountainBlue’s October 21 When She Speaks in SF event, on the topic of Women Leading Innovation in San Francisco and Beyond as well as our gracious hosts at AppDynamics!

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue – Coach, Adviser and Consultant
  • Panelist Anne Evans, Global Head of Recruiting, Unity
  • Panelist Camila Franco, Head of Product Management – Browser Experience, StubHub
  • Panelist Balwinder Kaur, Principal Software Engineer, AppDynamics
  • Panelist Jessica Mah, CEO, inDinero
  • Panelist Katie Penn, Global Head of Platform Growth, Twitter
  • Panelist Kayti Sullivan, VP of Account Management, Yelp