TAO has recently launched an exciting member benefit: Office Hours with our cohort of Executives-in-Residence. The TAO EIRs are a group of seasoned technology industry experts who are offering to share their skills with TAO members looking for guidance. We created weekly, 30-minute “Office Hours” so that TAO members can meet each EIR, get a taste for their areas of expertise, and then follow up with them directly to schedule one-on-one support.
Coming up next week, TAO Executive-In-Residence Mark Neuhausen will lead an Office Hour on “How to bring more innovation to your company.” Mark’s first two careers were in defense electronics and networking/IT, where he was usually responsible for launching new products and services. He has now pivoted to his third career, mentoring and advising early-stage companies in customer traction, raising money, and scaling.
In preparation for Mark’s event next week, we asked some of our EIRs to weigh in on this question: How have you injected innovation into your established companies?
In my experience with technology companies and startups, innovation comes through insights. Insights come from customers. Customers will make or break your innovation by their desire, voice and purchasing power. If a company ignores or placates a customer who offers an insight, it most likely will impact the success of the innovation—product or service—in the long run. —Greg Jorgensen, Startup/Board Advisor
I believe in blending and infusing innovation into every day work in addition to having a stream focused on innovation. While innovation in your every day work leads to optimizing the routine, the focused stream leads to break through thinking. —T.R. Srikanth, Banfield Pet Hospital
Companies with large existing businesses can pursue innovative, new opportunities often through the carve-out of small, completely cross-functional, and independent teams. The key ingredients for success are both the power to execute independently and requirement not to rely on participation from the mainline business to achieve success metrics. —Steve Pao, Hillwork LLC
Hiring new college grads to bring in a very different perspective. Putting in very tough goals to eliminate the status quo. — Jackie Seto, Side People Consulting
Implementing a “Quality Management System” and continuous improvement process. —Steve Kelly, Business Advisor
Successful companies think about risk differently… They seem to forget their risk tolerance as a startup. Not sure if that is the influence of too many lawyers or a fear that what they have accomplished will get taken away? I also think that successful companies get confused. They either got lucky and confuse that with skill. Or they forget that their success was closely tied to their efforts to understand what their customers, partners and the market wanted. They start to think that they know more than their customers. —Erick Petersen, Renewable Energy Executive