Carlson School of Management – Chief Innovation Officer / Executive Education

Informatics Tag CloudMy new role is Chief Innovation Officer for the Carlson School of Management / Executive Education / University of Minnesota.   The University is looking at its role in supporting the business community and what new offerings are needed to help corporations and start-ups succeed.   In my role I will be working in the product development of new offerings.

The key areas of focus will include:

  1. Leadership:   This in main stream business school offerings focused on talent development of emerging leaders through the C-suite and board.
  2. International Business:  As globalization increases,   business must develop new strategic and operational capabilities.
  3. Innovation:  This is subdivided into three core areas of exploration and economic development:
    1. Corporate Innovation Practice:   Work with innovation groups in developing core capabilities and sharing of best practices
    2. Entrepreneurial Ecosystem:   Explore and Identify key capabilities and services missing from the regional ecosystem in comparison to other regions, globally, that are thriving.   This includes a full spectrum of incubation, financial, big data services and the platforms and networking services needed to support the ecosystem.
    3. Cluster Innovation:  Join federal and regional efforts looking a cluster level co-opition and joint ventures in driving centers of excellence and regional research centers.

The new adventure begins…

Microsoft – Strategy Advisor

Screen shot 2010-02-03 at 11.39.57 AMKicking off a new blog as I leave Microsoft as a Strategy Advisor.    My role was focused on emerging technology that was coming out of the product groups and looking at the impact of that this technology would have on business models and consumers across all vertical sectors.   We would partner with corporations to start-ups in early adopter programs to create first mover advantage.   We could work in industries to explore new business models, revenue streams,  channel development, consumer engagement, and big data opportunities by combining all the new capabilities of the emerging technology with that of the existing enterprise platform.  The second half of the role was network as evangelists to participate in industry events,  support executive briefings, and Social Media campaigns.  Our teams where comprised of Strategy Advisors to work with the C-level and board audience,   Designers to help agencies and design firms,  Architects and technology specialists to support the technical training and development projects.   In order to take on these advanced projects with new business models and emerging technology we had to work in advance to build the ecosystem of system integrators, agencies, design firms, and strategic firms.  This would involve regional and Redmond based training programs,  online programs, and special breakouts at major conferences.    Support programs also included early access to the technology or apis of services.   Direct technical and architectural support.   Go to market partnerships with marketing and advertising programs.   Network and partnership arrangements, etc.

One of the best parts of this role was the ability to engage in corporations, start-ups and agencies around the world and see their how their innovation practices and methodologies where put together.  There is certainly a broad set of new capabilities  required within organizations and those have to be developed over a maturation curve as the organization learns the nature of innovation and its impact to traditional models of standard operations.

Another highlight of the job was to see how business trends played out and varied across major vertical sectors.   Disruptive innovation tends to disrupt not only competitors, but the very innovators themselves.   Disruptions in one sector can spill over to another sector with unanticipated results.   In other cases,  what works in one sector does not necessarily apply to another.   Globalization also saw that emerging markets could easily disrupt traditional sector leaders,  because emerging markets must do business differently to compete vs. trying to play the same game.  One thing was for certain,  the best innovation where in co-opitions across diverse strategic alliances all brings a diversity of assets and resources to the table.

On to the next adventure!