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By Carl Byers • June 21, 2018

Harnessing Innovation and Talent for Growth

There are many ingredients to growing a successful company in an age of transformation: passion, drive, identifying and providing value for your customers, hard work, tenacity, innovation, and talent. Although these are all vitally important, innovation and talent are particularly relevant in today's fast-paced economy. One of the challenges facing organizations attempting to embrace new technologies is the development of an understanding of relevant approaches, costs, and benefits. Often, individuals tasked with developing and implementing a plan end up working in isolation because they do not have access to peers in other organizations that may have already walked the same path, making mistakes and learning lessons. In the same vein, companies can encounter difficulties when it comes to finding the right talent for innovation and transformation projects, a key ingredient for success.

 innovation and talent are particularly relevant in today's fast-paced economy.

Earlier this year, our Chief Strategy Officer, Carl Byers, participated in two panel discussions where he shared his perspective on talent, innovation, and transformation in the workplace. The first panel was at the 2nd annual AREA and DMDII Augmented Reality workshop held at UI Labs in Chicago. It was an opportunity for peers to meet, challenge each other, and discuss how augmented reality (AR) can transform their organizations. In two-days of interactive workshops and presentations, approximately 200 individuals, largely from industrial organizations, explored issues around head-worn display safety, system and data security, and strategies for enterprise transformation that could accelerate AR adoption across the enterprise. During this event, Carl had the pleasure to share the stage on an enterprise transformation panel with representatives from Lockheed Martin, Newport News Shipbuilding, Upskill, and Boeing to address strategies for successful digital transformation, workforce technology adoption, and maximizing the impact and value of AR in the enterprise.

A second discussion was at the Research Money event "Breaking Through the Status Quo: Scaling Canada's Innovation Game" held at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. The two-day event brought together leaders in industry and government that are breaking new ground in innovation to share new processes, business models, and innovation strategies that create new wealth and societal benefits from knowledge. Among those who attended, Carl joined senior executives from Polytechnics Canada, First Nations Technology Council, Turner Fleischer Architects Inc., and Technology Access Centre for Aerospace & Manufacturing in a panel discussion to discuss agility and growth in industry and the skills needed to create sustainable and scalable organizations.

The two events were filled with insights and new perspectives on how innovation and talent can be combined to shape the future of work and drive organizational transformation. When asked for recommendations to drive successful digital transformation and growth, Carl suggests thinking big and maintaining focus on the broader objective with incremental steps that are simple, relevant, and engage end-users:

  1. Ensure that initial digital transformation initiatives are simple but valuable to demonstrate impact and obtain feedback;
  2. Choose use cases that resonate with key stakeholders, that address real issues, and that are referenceable in attempts to expand any pilot or transition to other departments; and,
  3. Ensure that end-users are directly engaged in the process to gain acceptance, valuable insights, and ensure that applications are designed for ‘real-world’ working conditions.

In addition, to build an innovative and resilient workforce, it is critical to continuously feed the talent pipeline. Engage youth early through academic and industry collaborations to help foster talent. This will both be a vital component for organizations to grow and help youth prepare for real-world environments.

(Editor’s Note: The author is past-President and current Treasurer and Board Member of The AREA; contextere is proud to be a sponsor member of The AREA: www.thearea.org)