Innovation for more than a day

October 16, 2009

Last week, Steve Todd and I heard Gary Hamel challenge modern companies:

  • How do you build an organization where innovation is everybody’s job?
  • How do you build an organization that INSPIRES extraordinary contributions?

This week, EMC held its third annual global Innovation Conference.  For some background on the event and the contest, check out my previous posts.  It has been amazing to watch the growth and reach of the conference.  The first year was a single site, the second year was a single site with some remote participation, and the third year was over a dozen “globally local” conferences: two one-hour segments broadcast from India and the rest of the day was different at each site.  Not only are dozens of hours of material be posted internally (EMCers can find the Innovation Café here), but some information is being shared externally through blogs, photos, videos and soon on the ECN site.

Contest Winners

One of the primary components of the conference is to celebrate the teams of innovators and their submissions, and to choose the winners.  As a conclusion to the selection process, all three top winners this year were ideas that the selection committee, rather than the community, moved into the semi-finals.  The second place winner was a combination of two similar ideas (one of which was popular in the community voting).  The “People’s Choice” award was a tie between an idea from India and an idea from Cork, Ireland; not surprisingly, both of these ideas reached the semifinals through community voting.  Beyond the winners, I know that many people were inspired either by having feedback on their ideas, or even by being able to review ideas from others. The community involvement in voting greatly broadened the visibility of the contest and conference around the globe.

Day of Innovation

We had a stacked day which, thanks to much help from many people, went very well.  The innovation contests have helped to move towards Hamel’s goal of engaging everyone in innovation.  This can’t be done without strong support from senior management.  Here is a short video from some of our executives discussing innovation and the innovation conference (we were especially pleased to get a few words from new EMCers Pat Gelsinger and Frank Slootman):

The day was anchored solidly at the beginning (Vice Chairman Bill Teuber) and end (EMC RSA Division’s president Art Coviello) with live EMC executive presentations.  Polly Pearson spoke about how innovation is a brand value and key piece of EMC’s culture.  Our keynote speaker was Dave Ritter of InnoCentive whose presentation on open innovation resonated strongly with us.  Completing the rest of the day was not one, not two, but three panels (as my esteemed colleague and this year’s third place winner, Dr. Dave Reiner would say: two’s company, three’s a cloud).  The first panel was on how we are innovating locally (which includes how we connect globally); see panelist Jamie Pappas’ blog for more on this.  The other two panels were on cloud computing from the business and technical points-of-view.  Judith Hurwitz (consultant, analyst and author) and Wayne Pauley (EMC) did a great job of moderating panels which covered a lot of ground and went beyond some of the hype and blue-sky thinking of cloud.  Even though this was an internal event, we invited Judith Hurwitz and Christofer Hoff (Cisco) to give additional perspectives and to help keep us from talking in an echo chamber.

After the conference, about eighty of us got together to discuss the ideas of the day.  Gina Minks took some video for me, capturing some of the discussion.  For me, the highlight of the conference was that there was so much passionate support to put on this event.  “Innovation” related activities can brings out the creativity, passion and initiative of people for more than a day.

As a final note – a special thanks to Mary Henderson who took my offer to help out with this year’s conference and turned that into an amazing (if exhausting) journey of putting together the local event (with lots of help from her and some of our events experts) and help out the global team.  I know that I learned a lot and made new—and strengthened old—connections.

If you are interested in continuing the discussion on innovation, please consider subscribing to this blog.

Stuart Miniman


Connections make the event

October 8, 2009

What pulls people into conferences? Big name speakers, a nice location, and all of the trinkets that you can fit while not going over your luggage weight limit (or in yet another conference bag)?  Of course not, it is the information that is important.  At the World Business Forum this week, it was the connections to ideas and people that made the event worth attending.

While I have never presented at such a prestigious venue as Radio City Music Hall or in front of thousands of executives, the basic requirement of a speaker is to understand his/her audience and craft the message accordingly.  Many of the speakers did a great job at connecting with the audience and hitting the critical issues in the world today.  I plan on writing a number of posts on the speakers that connected strongly with me.  I have added to my reading list – Bill George‘s book was given to all participants, I plan on picking up Pat Lencioni‘s soon and I’ve subscribed to Gary Hamel’s blog. The reading will help to reinforce the ideas that I connected with so that they don’t fade away 72 hours after the conference.

As for the people that I connected with, I don’t expect to be hanging out with George Lucas in the future, but I do expect that I will keep in contact with many of the bloggers that I met.  In addition to the bloggers that I knew from the World Innovation Forum, I communicated with some of the bloggers prior to the conference on LinkedIn as we prepared for the event.  Two days of blogging, Tweeting and a couple of meals together starts a nice connection.  Through social media, those of us that share common interests can stay connected easily.  Below is the group photo of the bloggers on stage – if you click on the photo, it will take you to Flickr where I have tagged people.  I have also created a Blogger’s Photo Wall (see the “page” or “tab” at the top of this page).

World Business Forum Bloggers

Here’s the backstage video of us on stage (I apologize for some of the fast moves):

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Stuart Miniman

World Business Forum Blogger Dinner

October 7, 2009

The first day of the World Business Forum was great.  I am going to take a little time to process my thoughts and notes (see my Twitter feed for some of my initial thoughts).  The barrage of speakers was a fire hose of information.  I am very impressed at how many blog posts have already been written by some of the bloggers that are in attendance.  Here is a shot of the Blogger’s Hub – we were in the 3rd mezzanine which is a great view.

World Business Forum Bloggers Hub

30 of us went out for dinner at the Beacon Restaurant.  As I hoped, we had a fantastic meal and wonderful conversations.  Despite having a very full day, every time I looked around the room, people were deep in conversations on everything from analyzing the day to discussing the latest FTC rules on disclosure.  [My full disclosure: HSM gave show passes to all of the bloggers, but we are free to write about everything; the Beacon Restaurant provided great service – we all paid for our own dinners; I MET GEORGE LUCAS]

Since I coordinated the dinner, I did ask that everyone say hi on video.  The light in the restaurant was dim, so the footage is a little dark.

For more of my coverage of the World Business Forum, see

For an aggregation of most of the blogs and Twitter activity from the conference, see the FriendFeed room which I set up:

Comments are questions are always welcome and please consider subscribing to this blog.

Stuart Miniman

FCoE Ecosystem

October 5, 2009

Here is the 3rd video in a series to help educate on Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE):

For a full list of EMC FCoE resources, see my previous post The current state of FCoE.

Additionally, on the question of “end-to-end Ethernet”, see the discussion on Scott Lowe’s Why No Multi-Hop FCoE? blog post.

Both Cisco and Brocade have made announcements about new products for expanding the FCoE ecosystem.  Cisco’s Nexus 4000 provides the blade switch functionality that I discuss in the video.  They also have a whitepaper on FIP (FCoE initialization protocol) and FIP snooping which is part of what is needed for a multi-hop environment.  Brocade announced an FCoE blade for the DCX FC director product line.

Let me know if there are any related topics that you would like to see covered.

Comments are questions are always welcome and please consider subscribing to this blog.

Stuart Miniman