Category Archives: Corporate Innovation

3M Innovation Center

CULTURE. At 3M, everyone I met shared in their own words the same sentiment…that 3M’s innovation is “fueled by a culture of freedom to take risks and learn from mistakes.” The right culture is essential for innovation. It facilitates the ideation-to-commercialization process as well as attracts and retains employees.

3M is a $31B Fortune 500 company headquartered in Maplewood, Minnesota. While well-known for the Post-it note, 3M has developed over 55,000 products. Their tagline is “Science. Applied to Life.”  To develop the next industry, healthcare or consumer goods product, they leverage a community of 8,500 scientists, tap 50 innovation centers and utilize 46 core technology platforms.

This corporate innovation center provides collaborative working spaces as well as being a showcase space for experiential learning and presentations for customers and the community. The PDMA-sponsored event I attended included a tour of the World of Innovation Center.  The interactive experience began with a warm welcome from our guide who hosts four groups like ours each day. We were entertained by the stories of the company history and the creativity, resourcefulness and determination of its employees to use science to improve everyday lives as well as solve world challenges. One highlighted product was the 3M™ Enhanced Specular Reflector (3M ESR), of which we were given a sample. It is the most reflective material in the world, reflecting more than 98% of light.  It is now being applied in numerous industries, such as technology, construction and automotive .

The presentation in the auditorium was led by Sheila Stewart. She shared how ideas get transformed into products. In her role as New Horizon Marketing Leader in the Industrial Adhesives & Tapes Division, she begins by researching three areas:  1) mega trends, 2) market-focused industries and 3) customer needs. Formal or informal teams can start the process by sharing and advancing ideas. Another key theme was the collaboration and team work that occurs within 3M. This was attributed to the fact that technology is not owned by any division.

Featured speakers from other areas of the company included:

  • Patrick Hiner, Filtrete™ Smart Air Filter
  • Nick Echeverri, Sr. Design Manager, Home Environment Markets
  • Kris Hansen, PhD, Lab Manager/Product Owner, 3M Connected Roads

Patrick and Nick shared their 18 month+ commercialization journey including best practices, key considerations, positive indications and lessons learned as they formulated, researched, designed, built and sold this smart air filter.

Kris described her area of focus as “lines and signs.” She works on developing and enhancing 3M’s Smart Code Signing System.  As vehicle technology advances, the road signs need to be visible to humans and machines. She shared that there needs to be a trustable system for metadata and verification. The methods they are using to develop this includes four key elements:  partial co-location of the team, partial dedicated team alignment, transparency with work and plans and clear, accessible means of elevating impediments. What surprised her about innovating? She said, “Never underestimate the power of historical experience even when solving next generation challenges.

Innovation centers of many different types are developing all over the world. The 3M center is a classic example of an company-driven center and provides significant branding and customer experience opportunities. To learn about 3M’s new innovation center in Washington D.C., click here. Other local company-specific innovation centers include the Optum Experience Center and Microsoft’s Technology Center.

 

 

 

 

 

Cyber Security

CYBER SECURITY – SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.  Those were the words of advice from a panel of experts presenting on what you are doing that you shouldn’t be doing and what you are not doing that you should be doing related to cyber security.
The panel included experts in the field including JD Harris from Ascent Solutions, Brandon Liner from Nology Networks and Chad Boeckmann from Secure Digital Solutions.  The moderator was Kristin Dean from Arctic Wolf Networks.  The gracious host of the event was Stuart Shwiff of Insperity.
One of the initial discussion topics was around, how do companies get started with cyber security plans?  The panelists agreed that it started with understanding the business as cyber security is not just an IT issue.  They noted that there are at least five cyber security items boards must know about.  As a board member, are you aware and asking the right questions around cyber security?
It was suggested that an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) baseline assessment drives prioritization and next steps.  As there are many new attackers out there and they recommended that if your employees see something, to be safe, they should say something.  Machine learning and AI can also help identify some of the “bad actors” out there but there is a lot more to be done.
Another questions from the audience was, “What are bad guys looking for and what do they do with it?”  The answer was, “pretty much anything that can be sold, for example credit card  and security card number or intellectual property.”  A specific example of the challenge of securing intellectual property was when Ford unveiled it’s new truck in China in 2015.  A few blocks away and on the same day, China unveiled the exact same truck down to the bolt. I commented that my recent conversations with innovation directors in China confirmed that there is no expectation of protecting IP in China and that the advantage is to create the best business model.
And while it can sound down-right scary and depressing, as there is no bigger issue in IT than this, there is hope.  There are new technologies.  One in particular, blockchain, was mentioned as encouraging tech.  Also, the panel was asked who was winning the war and beating cyber crime.  It was noted that Israel was the epicenter of cyber security and a leader in cyber security innovation.
I recommended that one proactive approach organizations could take to reduce risk and also manage customer relationships would be to closely review their business contracts for their obligations and customer expectations.  Those with small businesses also asked what the budget might be for cyber security for them? The recommendation was to invest in a day to have someone come in and do an assessment.
This brought up the topic of insurance.  JD Harris shared that most have companies have cyber insurance.  However, in his experience, zero have collected.  He was clear that it is not that the insurance was bad, in fact he finds it quite reasonable, but that there are many caveats and companies must read their policies.  He stressed that it is essential that companies understand and meet their obligations and not use cyber security insurance as their cyber security plan.
Even with the best precautions in place, the panel shared several examples of being involved in a cyber security recovery missions.  The timing to fix was typically not in days or weeks but in months or years.  The question was tossed out for owners or board members to consider, “how fast can you get your hands on $3-$5m to fix the recovery.”
Another panelist stated that, “you can’t outsource liability.”

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Technovation [MN]

TECHNOVATION [MN] TAKES SERIOUSLY THE FACT THAT GIRLS ARE UNDERREPRESENTED IN STEM. Technovation [MN] makes it possible for Minnesota’s girls to compete in the world’s largest global technology entrepreneurship competition. They inspire and enable teen girls to dream up, design, code and pitch mobile phone apps that solve a real-world problem.  Working with mentors, all-girl teams develop a real-world combination of technical and entrepreneurial skills.

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Technovation [MN]’s CEO and Co-Founder, Shawn Stavseth.  Shawn has been instrumental in building this all-volunteer nonprofit organization over the past 6 years.  Having also attended a board meeting, I am impressed with her ability to embrace the organization’s successes and innovate for the future.

Technovation [MN] hosted Appapalooza on May 12th at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  Applapalooza is the finale of the Technovation Challenge in Minnesota. More than 80 teams of high school and middle school girls spent three months imagining, designing and building mobile apps to solve community problems to compete in this international app building challenge.

The 2017/2018 Technovation[MN] season came to a close with a record number of girls participating in the program as well as mentors, volunteers, judges, sponsors and donors.  As a way to say thank you to everyone who supports the organization,  Technovation[MN] invited all former and current mentors, volunteers, judges, sponsors and donors to attend our Community Appreciation Event on May 30 at the Science Museum in St. Paul. They also invited anyone who was interested in learning more about Technovation[MN] and how to get involved with the organization.

Exponential growth is expected in the 2018/2019 season. To learn more about how you and/or your organization can be mentors for the 12-week program beginning this winter, judges for the next Appapalooza in May 2019, or sponsors, here is a link to their website:  http://technovationmn.org.

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Women Business Owners Hall of Fame

TRAILBLAZERS. Advice from these business savvy entrepreneurs: Be the light, define success on your own terms, and do not let yesterday take too much of today. Good words to live by.

The theme of this year’s Women Business Owners Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony was Lighting the Way. The event “recognizes Minnesota’s most successful  female entrepreneurs and their advocates who have made significant and enduring contributions to impact women’s entrepreneurial development.” It is established by the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and held at the Golden Valley Country Club on May 1, 2018.

Inductees were selected because they:

  • Made enduring contributions to Minnesota’s entrepreneurial community
  • Made an impact on women’s entrepreneurial development in Minnesota
  • Had a meaningful connection to Minnesota (place of birth, education, and/or business location)
  • Demonstrated leadership qualities or a spirit of entrepreneurial innovation that can serve as an inspiration to future generations of Minnesota entrepreneurs

This year’s inductees included:

  • Mary Jo Copeland, Sharing & Caring Hands
  • Cathy Cruz Gooch, Catalina Mexican Foods
  • Valerie Doherty, Doherty Staffing Solutions
  • Linda Hartinger-Lee, Anchor Paper
  • Beth Kieffer Leonard, Lurie, LLP
  • Robin Kocina, Media Relations Agency
  • Nancy Libersky, Minnesota District Office of U.S. Small Business Administration
  • Kathleen Meyer, Meyer Contracting
  • Nelle Palmer, Lowell Inn

They were introduced by other dynamic women including Senator Amy Klobuchar, Lilli Hall and Sonya Roberts.

This evening inspired the attendees to continue to work hard and pursue their dreams.

UST Risk Leadership Summit

RISK LEADERSHIP. It’s a new term for many but make no mistake, it is critical to the success of competitive companies and driving strategic initiatives.   The 100+ company executives, board members and students attending the University of St. Thomas’ Risk Leadership’s Spring Summit came to explore risk leadership and learn about the impact of risk leaders . The theme of the event was Risk and Strategy:  Maximizing the Value of Disruption.

The event was kicked off by keynote speaker, Adrienne Jordan, Director, Project and Risk Office, Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee.

Speaking at this event, on strategy and risk, I emphasized the need for strong capabilities to identify risks, address those risks that organizations cannot address on their own, and employ new strategies.  The audience was left with the following five key tips:

  • INVEST in exploring in your ecosystem and building new capabilities to compete and reduce risk.
  • EMBRACE the changing paradigm of value systems and expectations.
  • EXCHANGE in new ways; design new organizations, build new partnerships.
  • ALIGN early, be transparent and consistent.
  • RECOGNIZE and ENGAGE risk leaders.

The panelists in this breakout session were directors of innovation and communications experts and we discussed the risk of not exploring and investing, the evolution of innovation practices and the power of culture and communication. Some of the questions included:

  • What is the risk of organizations not exploring and investing in focused areas?
  • How does your company stay on the pulse of what’s next?
  • What trends are you seeing in how companies compete?
  • What role does communication play in supporting these early stages of exploration?
  • To compete, organizations need to develop capabilities, what capabilities can drive strategic outcomes and mitigate risk?
  • How are companies using pilots and prototypes to manage risk?
  • How do global cultures impact risk and opportunity decision?

This event was the second in a series of risk leadership events supporting the growth of this movement and promoting the new graduate certificate program in this emerging area.

UNIVERSITY OF ST. THOMAS RISK LEADERSHIP SUMMIT AGENDA

Risk Leadership Initiative

The Risk Leadership Initiative is excited to host our inaugural Spring Seminar event,  Risk and Strategy: Maximizing the Value of Disruption.”  at the University of St. Thomas on April 25, 2017, from 7:30 to 1:00 p.m. This half-day event features a keynote presentation on Risk Leadership experience from the Super Bowl event and four breakout sessions. Topics were selected based on suggestions we received from Risk Leaders like you.

EVENT DETAILS

Wednesday, April 25, 2018, 7:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

7:30-8:30 a.m.:

Registration & Breakfast

8:30-9:30 a.m.:

Keynote

9:30-10:00 a.m.:

Networking Break

10:00-11:00 a.m.:

Breakout Session 1

Session 1-A: Risk Culture and Organizational Behavior

Session 1-B: COSO ERM Framework Update: An Overview for Risk Leaders

11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.:

Breakout Session 2

Session 2-A: The Fair Approach: A New Way to Measure & Manage Information Risk

Session 2-B: Strategy and Risk: 5 Tips for Leaders 

12:00-1:00 p.m.:

Lunch

LOCATION

Schulze Hall 
46 11th Street South
Minneapolis, MN 55403

KEYNOTE SPEAKER

adrienne jordansuper bowl committee

Adrienne Jordan – Director, Project and Risk Management Office, Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee
Adrienne Jordan is a recognized leader in the corporate, sports, education, foundation, non-profit and community relations arenas. In her current role, she is responsible for leading the Project and Risk Management Office, which coordinates and supports the project, operational and financial objectives of the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee. Jordan also leads and manages all aspects of special projects as assigned by the Chief Operating Officer. For full bio, click here

BREAKOUT SESSIONS

STRATEGY AND RISK: 5 TIPS FOR LEADERS

To be competitive, companies constantly need to develop new strategies and capabilities.  This panel discussion will provide insights on the key roles of risk leaders in setting company strategy, the risk of not responding, innovative strategies companies can employ, and the impact of effective risk leadership.  You will gain practical tips on applying strategic thinking based on insightful examples shared by our panelists.

Moderator:

Lana Weber, Chief Strategy Officer, Elements Group

Panelists:

  • Dominic Venturo, Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer, U.S. Bank
  • David Williams, Chief Innovation Officer, Elements Group
  • Leslie Kupchella, Founder & CEO, Leslie Kupchella & Partners

RISK CULTURE AND ORGANIZATIONAL BEHAVIOR

People leaders and those focused on organizational behavior don’t always think of themselves as risk leaders. This is particularly true in companies with a risk management function that tends to take formal responsibility for risk-related topics. Join our panel of organizational culture shapers for a discussion on how company culture prevents and mitigates risks and is critical to the success of many company initiatives, including takeaway tips you can incorporate into your role.

Moderator:

Dr. Christopher Michaelson, David A. & Barbara Koch Distinguished Professor of Business Ethics & Social Responsibility, University of St. Thomas

Panelists:

  • Lisa Sterling, Executive Vice President, Chief People & Culture Officer, Ceridian
  • Orlando Flores, Ethics & Compliance Officer, Americas Region, Medtronic
  • Dana Lindman-Gustner, Sr. Manager, Employee Relations, Caribou Coffee

THE FAIR APPROACH: A NEW WAY TO MEASURE & MANAGE INFORMATION RISK 

In many cases, how organizations complete information risk analysis and how we communicate results to leaders is broken.  You will gain insights into why managing information risk is difficult and complex and gain insights into alternatives, including the “Factor Analysis of Information Risk” (FAIR) model.  The first 50 attendees will receive a copy of “Measuring and Managing Information Risk: A FAIR Approach” by Jack Jones and Jack Freund.

Speaker:

Jeff Norem, VP of Security, Augeo Marketing

COSO ERM FRAMEWORK UPDATE: AN OVERVIEW FOR RISK LEADERS

With the release of the new COSO ERM Framework in late 2017, this session is intended to provide attendees with greater insight into the research and findings that drove the a significant framework update.  Ten key changes will be reviewed along with potential implications for your organization. You will learn how these changes were intended to elevate the relevance of ERM, meet management’s and the board’s increasing expectations of ERM, and gain practical examples of the application of the new COSO ERM Framework.

Speaker:

Stephen Zawoyski, Partner, Risk Management and Compliance Solutions, PricewaterhouseCoopers

http://www.stthomas.edu/risk_leadership/

Progress Minnesota Awards

PROGRESS MINNESOTA.  Appreciating the interesting, innovative and sometimes surprising…Progress Minnesota honors the efforts of individuals and organizations working in economic development, technology, entrepreneurship and workforce development. Finance & Commerce hosted their 7th annual event at the Metropolitan in Minneapolis.

Highlights for me included learning about Technovation [MN] which is encouraging middle school and high school to dream, design, code and pitch mobile apps as well as meeting the team from PillsburyUnited Communities.  They are providing interconnected programs fostering the resilience and self-sufficiency of individuals, families and community.  They do this through their eight social enterprises.  North Market, a community hub, wellness center and grocery store, was showcased at the event.
Progress Minnesota 2018 Honorees included:
INDIVIDUALS
  • Chad Gillard and Zoie Glass from Midwest Pantry
  • Lea Hargett from Thor Construction
  • Diane Paterson from Twin Cities Metro Small Business Development Center, LegalCORPS
  • Chris Webley, New Rules
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
  • Duluth Cargo Connect
  • IPS Solar
  • McKnight Foundation
  • MD Biosciences Inc.
  • Osborn 370
  • Pillsbury United Communities
ENTREPRENEURS
  • Autonomous Tractor Corp.
  • Digi International
  • Monaco Air Duluth
TECHNOLOGY
  • Reeher
  • Sezzle
  • Skywater Tedhnology Foundry Inc.
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
  • Hennepin County
  • MN Department of Labor & Industry Apprenticeship Program
  • MN Diversified Industries
  • Technovation [MN]
  • Thor Cos.
  • University of Minnesota Northside Job Creation Team

For more photos of the event, see the gallery.

China Innovation Efforts

CHINA INNOVATION EFFORTS.  As I continue to document global strategy and innovation, I was thrilled to connect with a leading innovation organization in Shanghai to discuss the latest challenges and trends. Discussions included insights into how corporations are investing in innovation, how there are large numbers of new startups each day, how students are learning, how the levels of risk tolerance and creativity impact innovation decisions, and what the IP landscape looks like in China. This conversation has paved the pathway for upcoming introductions to industry startup leaders and the director of innovation at a large semiconductor manufacturing company.

Here are a few key learnings:

  • Corporate innovation typically begins in small pilots.  One large multi-national company developed its emerging market innovation center a few years back. They are running idea competitions about once each year. Ideas are driven from the open innovation center. Challenges continue to be risk adversity, resources and funding.   Another organization typically runs 4-6 teams of startups through its 14-week program twice per year. As one of its products has successfully launched, it will be funded for years to come.  Corporate innovation challenges are many and include how to enable intrapreneurs to feel safe to innovate as many still prefer the security of a consistent paycheck.
  • The startup community is growing. It has been estimated that there are about 1,200 new business registrations per day, many of them startups.  The startup support network is growing as well.  Incubators such as Startup Grind provide an online and offline network to “help fuel innovation, economic growth and prosperity at the local level.”  Discussions also centered around the concepts of structure, program and people.  Specifically, they are focused on the importance of getting the right, committed people on the team and as mentors.  Innovation centers in China are evolving. Initially they were run by civil servants and sponsored by the government.  Some multi-nationals have recently secured space and/or they have become co-working spaces.
  • Asian markets are growing large but there is a very different innovation culture than in the US. There is no lack of creativity but students moving into the workforce often find it difficult to apply concepts as education is focused on technical aspects and exercise repetition. In addition, reward systems are often based on individual depth of knowledge and not based on initiative.
  • Companies are beginning to look outward and while typically very risk adverse, they are realizing that doing nothing is risky, too.  If the last century was defined by vertical industries, the next century will likely be defined by the horizontal conglomerates such as Alibaba and new capabilities will be needed to compete. Specifically, companies that make widgets are needing to make the shift to become lean companies that can constantly adapt and create new markets.  One large home appliance company prefers not to develop its technology in-house and instead become an aggregator, creating a niche in its specific area.
  • The IP landscape was described as almost non-existent. It was not identified as a barrier to entry as in some other countries.  It was noted that it was as if there is some acceptance that someone could create a knock off and that companies need to seek rapid innovation and create evolved business models to compete.