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Panel Discussion: Corporate Innovation

Presenters: Katherine Holt, Lee Konczak, and Steven Kowalski 

The panel will discuss cultural factors and people practices that foster innovation, along with challenges facing corporations as they grow larger. We will explore how tools (e.g., KAI) and workshops can improve creative problem-solving and collaboration in teams. We will compare strategies for building innovation capacity to achieve sustainable growth.

Learning Objectives:
  1. Describe cultural factors, people practices, and training programs that can foster corporate innovation.
  2. Design programs and utilize tools to build innovation capabilities in individuals and teams.
  3. Identify and overcome barriers to innovation, especially as corporations grow larger.
Lee will talk about barriers to innovation and helping individuals and teams tap their potential for innovation. He will discuss using the KAI as a tool (what is it and how can it be used) and provide individual and team examples from his work at Anheuser-Busch.
Katherine will present some highlights from her research on corporate innovation – focusing on the people practices used by innovative companies. She will share the “innovation pipeline” that she uses in coaching and present a role-based competency model for building capabilities in innovators and their teams. Time permitting, she may contrast 2 projects where groups had markedly different KAI averages; enhanced insight about group differences plus the use of bridger roles helped both groups achieve their objectives.
Steve will talk about Genentech's approach to ensuring and sustaining innovation capability during high growth and what they are doing to manage some interesting tensions in the culture and business, in particular:
-         The tension between staying innovative and creating efficiencies during high growth. These often seem at odds with one another, but they are working on them together… as "two sides to the same coin."
-         The tension between project/deliverable/execution focus and "discretionary/exploratory" time.
Genentech is also doing some interesting work in various parts of the Product Development group to build individual and team capability in the areas of creativity, and leading innovation and change. Three recent programs have focused on building this capability for 1) pushing the boundaries of science, 2) building more creative, resilient and proactive teams, and 3) linking creativity with accountability to enhance the effectiveness of the group that shepherds their portfolio of product assets.