The theme was The Challenges of Leading Innovation in a Digital Economy. Co-delivering with Alan Brown, Simon discussed some of his key entrepreneurial lessons, his experiences as an early founder of Huddle, and the innovation management tools he is now producing at Wazoku.
As Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Surrey Business School, Alan leads activities in the area of corporate entrepreneurship and open innovation models. He has over 25 years of experience in commercial high tech companies leading innovation in software product delivery. His focus is on innovation in a number of practical research areas with regard to global enterprise software delivery, agile software supply chains, and the investigation of “open commercial” software delivery models.
Simon is the CEO and founder of Wazoku, a leading high-growth B2B software company that powers collaborative innovation within medium and large companies globally. In 2014 Simon won the Guardian SME Business Leader of the Year award, and was recognised by Crowdsourcing Week as one of the top 15 most influential people in the high-growth crowdsourcing sector. He was named 2015’s ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ by the Guardian. An experienced entrepreneur, advisor, public speaker, investor and author, Simon was part of the early team at the hugely successful Huddle and also worked at PwC and Deloitte.
During the two hour session, Alan and Simon applied their collective insight to examining the characteristics of the digital economy, and considering why innovation is changing to be faster, experimental, and requiring a blend of technology and business model innovation.
Some key topics from the talk:
- Where, should innovation be located in a large enterprise? Outside the company? As a central function, with the aim of top-down culture ‘infection’? Or a little bit in each business unit, to infect from the bottom up? It really depends on each organisation’s structure, culture, hierarchy, and attitude to change. And – since ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast,’ we disregard it at our peril;
- Existing organizations must transform to adopt digital technologies, and those technologies demand that business models be redesigned for the digital era. If a large enterprise is going to innovate, how will its status quo be affected as its business model changes? Strategy and execution must be speedy and agile, no question – but then, the speed at which you can process new ideas becomes the new standard and measure. The trick is to find innovation, and react to change effectively.
- The public sector is not exempt – after all, the birth of digital government was the creation of the Government Digital Service – an innovation actually designed to disrupt itself! Customer expectation in other sectors is driving innovation in the public sector – as consumers, we now expect government to operate like a business;
- How can innovation management practices and tools can be used in large organizations? Where does the internet fit into this, as ‘just a tool’ that is changing the face of business?
The session was packed with information and insight; CoDE is thrilled to be part of delivering this vital aspect of education to tomorrow’s business leaders.
We’ve got lots more up our sleeve; get in touch to find out more.