Located in Silicon Valley and sponsored by Google and NASA, University for singularity became soft for exponential technologies and innovations. One of his professors, Kyle Hermans, was in Buenos Aires in the next BA cycle organized by HSBC for his client companies and spoke with Economically about what it means to innovate.
"I do not see innovation as a process, but as a product, and I see it as creativity and research as a process. But the real innovation is what solves the problem or the need of consumers or the market, or ordinary people. Companies that say they innovate but do not connected with the client, are actually not innovative, "Hermans defines.
– Is it easier for younger companies to innovate?
– The big and long-standing companies that are trying to make a change are trying to bring "fresh" thinking. To accomplish this, they need to observe the outside world, and then be able to bring those ideas to business. Many times in big companies there is no time to create ideas. They are very focused and sticking to the processes. Younger companies have the freedom to move faster, the freedom to experiment more. But what we observe is that they spend much less time on the processes. They need help in the processes, in the operation, even if they are full of good ideas … So, there is an interesting balance. Big companies would say: how can I be more like a startup? I think what they really want is how to shake the way they think and create, in order to integrate the new into a very proven process. Large companies know how to distribute, know how to produce and produce, know how to organize the supply chain. Younger do not have that yet. But they have really good ideas.
-Many companies organize awards and competitions (internal and external) for innovation. Is it a good strategy?
-Yes, that's the way to do it. One of the things that organizations are lost is to unite incentives and rewards that employees receive with innovative strategies the company. Generally, employees are compensated for performance or for obtaining results. It is not often that they are rewarded for an attempt, even if it does not work. So, these are good systems for motivating changes in the company. Sometimes it can turn against if the company does not have a culture and says: Please, believe or innovate, because when you have, your hands are tied, as it is against the company's culture. If culture does not maintain that way of thinking and being, then it does not work.
-Who is the key to incorporating innovation as a strategy?
– The main thing is teach and teach. Changes will always reveal resistance internally and culture will not move fast enough. In principle, we are learning new things about old things, but we rarely get rid of the old things that are no longer important. If we can make space, it is part of the "alienation". Which is usually a very new idea for companies. They have learning agendas, but not "unpublished" agendas. Because many times the legacy becomes what it is: it defines the company.
– How to wake up something?
– Practical. It's about changing the way you think about something. It's a change in perception. Companies that fail to change will not survive for a long time.