Chief Innovation Officer Summit: My Key Takeaways

The most important lessons from last week's summit


Last week I went to the Chief Innovation Officer summit in London.

At the event there was a mix of multination corporations, midsize and start-up companies - meaning that we learnt about innovation creation from a number of different perspectives.

Due to the diversity of the companies involved, there was an awful lot for the summit’s audience to take away, but below I will outline three of the most pertinent lessons.

Innovation can redefine arduous tasks

One of Italy’s most successful motor vehicle manufactures, Piaggio, were one of the first companies to present at CINO, with Luca Sacchi, SVP, Head of Strategic Innovation discussing their role in today’s sharing economy.

Whilst it’s true that the economic landscape is no longer defined by location, the flow of goods and people remains one of society’s most significant pressure points.

Luca explained that one of Piaggio’s aims is to disrupt the way we commute to work, explaining that their new concept three-wheel bike is looking to redefine how people view their journey into work. As an extension of this, the bike taps into a wider trend that’s looking to make once arduous tasks enjoyable.

His presentation demonstrated that Piaggio has an important part to play when it comes to the mobility industry.

It's tough to protect new ventures

We also heard from Henkel and their and their Head of New Business Development, Paolo Bavaj.

Worried about the lack of entrepreneurial spirt at the company, Henkel decided to put an extra emphasis on incubators in order to recapture that former spirit.

Paolo told us that there’s an actual path which separates the operating business building from the incubators, and this path has become known as ‘the firewall’.

He went onto explain that if you’re the CFO of the operating business and your bottom line profits are down, the first thing you’re going to do is shut-down new business development.

This physical barrier between the two parts of the company has been really successful in guaranteeing that all Henkel’s new business initiatives are maintained regardless of the short-term limitations of the operating business.

His talked showed us that sometimes it’s a matter of actually physically separating your innovation initiatives from the traditional side of your business to promote their success.

There are interesting ways to improve culture other than 'team spirit'

Dario Resnati’s, Chief Innovation Officer at BNP Paribas presentation took a fresh look at a barrier which is all too often sidelined.

His talked was centred around ‘hippocampus’ and how from a neurological standpoint, we’re fearful of offering new suggestions for the fear of being made to look stupid.

With innovation revolving round the creation of new ideas it’s important that organisations do all they can to make people feel trusted and safe when going through the innovation process.

His presentation taught us that the best innovators should think like neuroscientists, not engineers - something which not all of the audience agreed with!

With companies such as Uber and Coca-Cola also present at the summit, many will have come away with different things, so please, let us know what takeaways you found most useful in the comments section below


Read next:

Panel Session: The Cultural Shift