Thursday, February 02, 2006

Growth and Innovation Conference Day Two

Just back from the Growth and Innovation Conference hosted by the Conference Board. On the whole a very good conference. There were some great speakers and the attendees were clearly very focused and very serious about innovation.

Today (Thursday) there were several very interesting talks that I had the opportunity to attend. Here's a recap of several of those talks:

Chris Steel, a senior partner at PA Consulting, headlined and talked about the way PA innovates. PA is a consulting firm, but it "spawns" new companies through its intellectual property. PA has a very firm process and discipline to its approach, which Chris outlined. PA, as a consulting firm, has spawned several hardware firms and software firms. They entice and incent their teams to create new companies around intellectual property, and provide venture money to get these firms started. It sounds like PA does a good job of developing and launching these new firms.

Next, Madan Birla spoke about his book, FedEx Delivers. He spoke about the growth of FedEx and how its focus on innovation has propelled it to its dominant position. Madan has characterized the five attributes about FedEx that made it successful - mostly around the FedEx team members. He felt the people in FedEx were helped tremendously by a culture that incorporates innovation into the very fabric of the business. I've misplaced my notes so now I'll have to read the book, but if his book is as good as his presentation, it will be well worth it. Madan focuses a lot on the culture of FedEx and how that impacts its innovation capabilities.

Next, Navi Radjou, VP at Forrester Research led a discussion topic on the Impact of India and China on Global Innovation. From the speakers, it's clear that India, China and other countries are really focusing on innovation. For a relatively small show, less than 200 attendees, there were a lot of attendees from India, China, and western European countries. Innovation is clearly a focus for firms in every geography.

These were the events I was able to attend today. I'd encourage you to check out the next Innovation Conference from the Conference Board. I was very impressed by the attendees and the speakers and look forward to their next event.

My takeaways after the conference: Innovation is clearly an important topic in many firms. However, there's not a clear consensus on how to approach innovation. Should it be considered as something that R&D does and needs to do better? Should it be a corporate wide initiative? How do we measure and manage innovation? Should innovation address products, business models or other functions? Right now, many firms are grappling with these types of questions.

Just like with Six Sigma, Sarbox or other recent corporate initiatives, these attendees and their firms need some more definition about innovation and what it means to them, and a road map to use to implement plans to become more innovative.
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posted by Jeffrey Phillips at 1:44 PM

38 Comments:

Blogger ClickRich said...

I used to work in the Technology Consulting Practice of PA Consulting where, for example, Ubinetics was sprung from.

I stand by everything said by the headline speaker, but would also comment that consultants often leave to start up their own technology businesses, so the innovation transfers out of PA with that model too.

Great blog.

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