GRIP – The Future of Innovation

I founded the Grass Roots Innovation Program (GRIP) in 2009 with a view to bringing together leaders and innovators from different points of view to EMC and the Silicon Valley community.  GRIP going into its 4th year has grown into a Bay Area series of seminars, lectures and panel discussions featuring well-respected leaders & innovators from a diverse set of industries and careers. Speakers discuss their leadership styles, personal visions, and strategies for success while reflecting on their views around leadership and innovation. GRIP is sponsored by EMC, but attendance at GRIP events is open to anyone regardless of employment status or company affiliation. As luck would have it, EMC’s Merissa Hamilton and Whitney Mullin are the new co-directors, as their passion for innovation has grown along with their commitment to the community at large.

Many of the speakers have come to the program via connections with Bill Daul Founder of NextNow Network and Nosostros Salon. These groups of visionaries were selected to meet regularly to explore and transcend creative and intellectual boundaries — from the past…to the here…to the next now. Then there is our friend Jeff Chow a member of the governance board of Global Women’s Leadership Network (GLWN) and serial social entrepreneur.  He and his wife Shirley Chen, PHD work with many other organizations, including the Salvation Army, One World Children’s Fund, the Big Turtle Fund (sea turtle research and environmental education), and numerous organizations working in Africa.

GRIP is one example of community coming together to form new alliances.  I am still amazed by the power of our microcosm of Silicon Valley,  where competitors regularly become allies, when their passion is fed by a vision of what the new world can be through partnership and collaboration.

In mid-2012, I took a new role at EMC working in the Office of the Chief Technology Office (OCTO).  In addition to a number of  other assignments I also worked on University Programs with Rhonda Baldwin, PhD. and OCTO University Research Manager. New to this function I invited Dr. James (Jim) Spohrer, Director IBM University Programs to our GRIP.  At this program, “The Future of Innovation”, Jim discussed the role of universities as knowledge engines.

Join me as Rhonda Baldwin asks Jim a few interesting questions on innovation like:

  • Is there a dark side of innovation?
  • Is there a cap on innovation?
  • Where do you get together with the greatest innovative minds?

More About Dr. James (Jim) Spohrer

Dr. James (Jim) C. Spohrer is IBM Innovation Champion and Director of IBM University Programs worldwide (IBM UP), Jim works to align IBM and universities in regional innovation ecosystems globally.   Previously, Jim helped found IBM’s first Service Research group, the global Service Science community, and was founding CTO of IBM’s Venture Capital Relations Group in Silicon Valley.  During the 1990’s while at Apple Computer, he was awarded Apple’s Distinguished Engineer Scientist and Technology title for his work on next generation learning platforms.  Jim has a PhD in Computer Science/Artificial Intelligence from Yale, and BS in Physics from MIT.  His current research priorities include applying service science to create smarter (less waste and more capabilities) universities and cities, also known as tightly-coupled holistic service systems that provide whole service to the people within them.  He has more than ninety publications, been awarded nine patents, and is a Fellow of the SRII (Service Research and Innovation Institute).

Innovation Clusters

I recently introduced the ENTOVATION® Network, lead by Debra Amidon, which is an international network of theorists and practitioners, dedicated to developing a sustainable future through knowledge and innovation. Within that network,  E100 is a group of over 200 leaders and innovators representing different perspectives, and 69 nations.  See Global Knowledge Leadership Map.

Let’s drill down and meet some of these amazing leaders starting with, William A. Ghormley SVP Marketing Xconomy.  Xconomy is the exponential economy mashed together to get one word out of it (smart).  Xconomy is focused on providing business and technology leaders timely, insightful, close-to-the-scene information about the local personalities, companies, and technological trends that best exemplify today’s high-tech economy.  Their team many of who have an authoritative voice on the exponential economy, the realm of business and innovation characterized by exponential technological growth and are responsible for an increasing share of productivity and overall economic growth.

I had a chance to interview WIlliam (Bill) Ghormley to better understand his role and some of the issues his organization is focused on including these key questions:

  1. What are the technologies that innovation clusters are going to need in the future?
  2. Where are they going to come from?
  3. How are they going to be funded?
  4. How are entrepreneurs going to be trained and supported and enabled to support new technologies?

Bill went onto talk about innovation clusters, represented as a geographic concentration of interconnected businesses, suppliers, and associated institutions in a particular field. Accordingly there are 6 clusters in the US, Boston, Detroit, New York, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.

Join me as learn more about Bill Ghormley and Xconomy.

The Power of a Community of Innovators – E100

Committed to building a shared community of innovators, Debra Amidon, Founder and Chief Strategist, ENTOVATION® International, invited me to join a new community, Entovation 100.  Debra is a visionary leader and is the architect of the knowledge economy and a collector of fellow thinkers.  The ENTOVATION network (Debra’s collection) is made up of people from a variety of disciplines with a wide range of functional roles and responsibilities representing over 69 countries.   Joined together through Debra we share a common vision and desire to play a strategic role in shaping the global economy.

Debra Amidon (CEO Entovation International) & Joel Schwartz (EMC SVP)

Debra Amidon (CEO Entovation International) & Joel Schwartz (EMC SVP)

Debra passionately believes in a virtual community of collaborators working for the common good and that, as a result, a new economic world will form, one based upon knowledge. She believes this will result in profitable growth for the enterprise, the vitality of their respective national economies, and the advancement of society – both industrialized and developing nations alike.  I was inspired when I heard Debra state:  “A multi-faceted conception of a world knowledge commonwealth replacing the world of nations is proposed, as a means of going beyond the one-dimensional, zero-sum game of economics and interest driven money. The knowledge commonwealth, which includes what we now classify as social and moral issues, could not be controlled, or even led, by a single entity, although it might be balanced. In this New Eden, the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life grow together into one tree, as thinking about knowledge becomes less abstract and more conscious, more concerned with diversity and wisdom, than the struggle between right and wrong.”

Calvin Smith Lead Anchor EMC TV interviewed Debra at the World Summit on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (WSIE) on September 26th.   

Officially in the “E100”, now 201 strong, I met the 14 new inductees at a reception.  Welcome New Members E100.  These inspirational leaders opened a new view into the world of knowledge management.  Impressed with them all, I had a chance to build a strategic connection with Edna Pasher, Founder and President of Edna Pasher Associates, a knowledge management consulting firm specializing in knowledge management.   Capturing the beginning of our journey which started in Boston and continued to Israel the following month,  I interviewed Edna at the WSIE conference.

New beginnings founded on a common vision of innovation and collaboration, I am looking forward to growing my partnership with Debra, Edna and the E100 Community of leaders.

Edna Pasher & Sheryl Chamberlain

Edna Pasher & Sheryl Chamberlain

About This Blog

The journey of life has many paths all providing new insights to understanding the world in which we live. Innovation Station is focused on capturing the journey through inspirational stories of innovation.  It is through others that we learn but it is through our stories that we share.  Join me as we stroll through the Innovation Station and strive to grow by learning from the lives of others.

Mentors in Your Life

As leaders, we appreciate the mentors, leaders and role models upon whose shoulders we stand. We should carefully consider the support and guidance we are consciously and unconsciously providing for those who come after us.

On October 24th I was in Tel Aviv at the David Intercontinental attending an EMC conference when Efrat Segal Mesika came up to me with a big smile on her face.  Remembering our last meeting was at EMC’s Women In Technology leadership breakfast at EMC World over 3 years ago I was excited about the opportunity to catch up and find out about her life.

Calvin Smith and Sheryl Chamberlain

Calvin Smith and Sheryl Chamberlain

I often take moments out of life to connect with people and don’t always realize the impact of those chance meetings.  This one, totally unexpected brought to mind the impact we have on each other’s lives and the opportunity we have to guide others.

When I met Efrat she felt trapped by her engineering role and wanted to find a way to grow into a new career using existing skills.  Understanding the power of her vision I could see opportunities outside of her comfort zone but easily in her reach.  What is now amazing to me is Efrat’s fearless commitment to her future and the value of hearing from a mentor that she could grow and achieve her vision.

Join me as we catch up to Efrat and learn about mentors in her life and her new role as Director Business Development at CliniWorks.

Efrat Segal Mesika – Mentors In Your Life

Adapting Innovation to Create Tangible Results

While some would think innovation is tangible sometimes it is simply about adaptation; It is through adaptation that we can realize tangible results. There could be no better example of this than Dr. Orna Berry currently EMC Corporate Vice President and GM for Israel COE. Orna was the first Chief Scientist Israel; Being first is her hallmark. While there are many firsts, Chief Scientist of Israel has had a powerful impact on her, her community and most of all on her country, Israel. Israel’s water resources and other natural resources being as limited as they are, the utilization of innovative technologies gathered from a knowledge based society becomes necessary and  critical in order to harbor and maximize those resources as efficiently as possible. At the junction of this society is the collaboration between government, university and industry. Orna understanding the opportunity quickly and once again the first (in Israel) to focus on this community sometimes referred to as the “Golden Triangle of Innovation”.  This union helps ensure the continued realization of the value of of innovation, entrepreneurship, high-risk production development, and international collaboration.

She clearly understands goods created intellectually need to be exported because the local Israeli market is very small, and regional trade doesn’t exist. She also believes that Israel is not just a startup nation, it’s a “restart nation“.  This is due, largely, to the cultural heritage of Israel, which requires that people learn how to read situations differently, and think of things in a different context. This has been a part of Israeli culture for many generations, since The Diaspora.

Dr. Orna Berry opens EMC’s 6th Annual Innovation Conference in Israel

Join me as we catch up to Dr. Orna Berry at EMC Forum – Israel:

Dr. Orna Berry EMC Forum Israel

A little more about Dr. Orna Berry

Dr. Orna Berry is a recognized entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in Israeli science, technology and venture capital.  Known for her efforts to promote excellence, entrepreneurship and innovation in Israeli society Dr. Berry has held a wide range of positions with significant social and public impact throughout her career.  One of the hall marks of Orna’s career was her 4 year tenure as Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Industry and Trade in the Israeli government where she managed an annual budget of a ½ Billion dollars.  Having served as the Chairperson of the Israeli Venture Capital Funds Association she continues to follow her passion and is currently the Chairperson of the Israel Australia Chamber of Commerce.

Catalysts of Innovation

Catalysts of innovation, sometimes referred to as mavericks suited in an entrepreneurial spirit, gather in many communities.  Some of them solve old problems with new perspectives, while others look at today’s technology break throughs and consider alternative implementations.

In October I had the opportunity to spend two weeks in Israel meeting thought leaders and innovators and captured their perspectives.  One, Yanki Margalit Chairman & CEO of Aladdin Knowledge Systems Ltd, was the keynote speaker at EMC’s Annual Innovation Conference.  He took us on a journey as he explored sustainability in a global economy. The question he raises asks us to think long and hard about what magic (i.e. technology) will be needed to ensure a global population of 7 Billion people can live with the same level of comfort, food, and life style that we enjoy today.

Yanki Margalit Speaking at EMC’s 6th Annual Innovation Conference

As he states, “We haven’t seen nothing yet” when we consider today’s innovations around computing and artificial intelligence, genomics, brain research, nanotech, sustainable and clean energy, robotics space exploration and social connectivity.  He asks us to think to the future and consider these possibilities: I could have my own DNA lab, I could sequence my own genome (become a cat), I could generate my electricity, I could build my own lunar spaceship robot, and perhaps I could even print my own money. Join me by going to this video link as we learn more about these “possibilities”.

Yanki Margalit Keynote at EMC Innovation Conference

Yanki Margalit Keynote at EMC Innovation Conference – Part 2

Yanki Margalit Keynote at EMC Innovation Conference – Part 3