As President of Imaginatik, a provider of innovation software and services, Luis Solis can truly say that he’s having an impact on the future of some of the world’s most prestigious companies.
With Imaginatik’s clients ranging from Chevron to insurance giant Chubb, Luis has had the opportunity to work with a wide range of companies, all of whom have differing innovation goals.
As a company that champions a progressive journey to innovation, Imaginatik see innovation as an ‘integrated enterprise competence’ and whilst also providing the software for innovation, they also give their clients a framework from which to plan their innovation efforts.
We spoke to Luis Solis, President at Imaginatik, to get his opinion on the role of the Chief Innovation Officer (CINO) and the strategies that he thinks promote innovation within organizations.
With Imaginatik an experienced teacher of innovation, Luis is well placed to tell us how innovation can be coached. There seems to be an almost infinite amount of methods that companies use to create innovation, but in regard to planning, Luis feels that the best way to teach innovation ‘is by doing it’.
Luis states, ‘the kind of teaching and education I believe in is hands-on practicals where teams of people actually learn the concepts of defining the right questions’.
He believes that employees should have the freedom to construct a value chain and ultimately be able to prototype and test it within their companies. Clearly a fan of the hands-on approach, Luis only sees textbooks, courses and webinars as a ‘supplement’ for innovation, not the backbone of it.
Teaching innovation is difficult, not only because it’s highly subjective, but because company cultures rarely adhere to the same stimuli. It’s due to this that many companies prefer their CINOs to be multi-skilled and experienced across a number of different industries.
For Luis, this profile fits well. He says, ‘I think that the CINO is a fantastic opportunity for a multi-skilled, multi-capability person, female or male leader who is particularly committed to creating new things and devising new possibilities which immediately impact the current business line’.
One of the main reasons why CINOs must be multi-skilled is due to the fact that they must be able to drive continuous innovation without destabilising the entire company. For Luis, ‘great CINOs do this’ and that the best make ‘it look less like innovation on one side and business on the other, it is a commingling of the two’.
It was really interesting to hear from Luis, he’s clearly intuitive when it comes to innovation and his record at Imaginatik goes to prove this. A firm believer that CINOs must be multi-skilled, he also champions a hands-on approach to innovation whereby people learn from their mistakes.
Nominated in 2008 as a ‘Technology Pioneer’ by the World Economic Forum, it will be interesting to see how Imaginatik develop over 2015.