On November 3rd, 2022, we held our second Summit of the year at the OLC Education & Conference Center. We had a lineup of eleven guest speakers to share their insights with the community.
The Innovative Executives League is an exclusive, invite-only community of entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and innovators with a passion for innovation and a growth mindset. Each year, we host a Summit to celebrate the successes within the community.
Our speakers included:
- Brad Henderson, CEO at P33 Chicago
- Danny Goel, Founder & CEO at Precision OS
- Jack King, Chief Information Officer at AAOS
- Mir Ali, Head of Software Engineering at Kraft Heinz
- Adam Hecktman, Director at Microsoft Philanthropies
- Deepika Duggirala, SVP, Global Technology Platforms at TransUnion
- Stephen Lavin, Former CTO at Redbox
- Maya Mikhailov, Co-Founder of SAVVI AI
- Kuldip Mohanty, Former CIO at HUB International
- Mike Kennedy, VP of Technology Enablement and Strategy at CDW
Our moderators included:
- Rae Lewis, VP of Strategic Planning at TransUnion
- Bob Ruf, Founder of ChiTech Resources
Here is a summary of each speaker at the November Summit.
Chicago: Where Tech Gets Real
Brad Henderson, CEO at P33 Chicago / Keynote Speaker
Our most revered tech hubs are celebrated for many good reasons in terms of their ability to create unicorns and wealth at scale. Along those measures, Chicago is fast on their heels. But, in Chicago, we are building our tech ecosystem in our own unique, authentic way. Too often, coastal cities encourage 'tech for tech's sake,' create a cult of personality around the founder and view diversity as, at best, an afterthought.
Chicago is different. Our region puts the real, gritty problems we face at the center of our innovation ambition. We build companies as connected teams, not as celebrity individuals. And we are placing diversity at the core of how we build, viewing it as one of our greatest strengths. During Brad’s keynote presentation, he shared how Chicago is charting its own path to tech leadership and how the Chicagoland community can further contribute to P33's exciting mission.
Brad discussed the idea of technology being redefined in the following ways.
- Diversity is one of Chicago’s greatest strengths.
- Chicago has a real ambition to solve problems because we are not tech for tech’s sake.
- Companies thrive in Chicago because of our infrastructure which keeps our ecosystem connected.
Source: Brad Henderson, November 2022
Connect with Brad Henderson.
Creating an Effective Innovation Culture & Leveraging Disruptive Technologies (VR/AR)
Jack King, CIO at AAOS
For corporate executives, developing an innovative culture can be rather challenging. Fostering this culture requires a deep understanding of the company, teams, and individuals. The proper balance of alignment and autonomy is necessary to develop a high-performing, diverse, and innovative culture.
Here are Jack’s tips for alignment and autonomy.
- Ownership > Project management
- Mission > Organizational Chart
- Measure > Manage
- Trust > Control
- Autonomy > Matrix Reporting
- Adaptive > Fixed Approach
Source: Jack King, November 2022
Connect with Jack King.
Creating an Effective Innovation Culture & Leveraging Disruptive Technologies (VR/AR)
Danny Goel, Founder & CEO at PrecisionOS
Dr. Danny Goel then discussed the power of experiential learning and mentorship with virtual reality by sharing the use of technology to disrupt the surgical training industry. He also talked about the collision of skillsets between clinical medicine, simulation, and software developers to harness a technology to allow for engagement where medical professionals can perform and make decisions in a risk-free environment.
From the collision, PrecisionOS virtual reality technology was born. Studies show that surgical trainees who used the PrecisionOS technology, learned faster, became more efficient, and improved their technical skills more than trainees who only read from text or watched a video.
Some interesting analytics shared from his presentation include:
- VR allows for an enhanced learning journey by moving from practice to treatment more quickly
- Using VR for education places emphasis on safety while reaching a larger audience in varying geographic regions
- Early validation studies reveal that VR is efficient, cost-effective, and leads to skill transfer
Source: Multiple sources compiled by Danny Goel, November 2022
Connect with Danny Goel.
Scaling Digital Transformation Using Agile & Engineering Culture
Mir Ali, Head of Software Engineering at Kraft Heinz
Mir Ali discussed the use of agile methodologies to scale digital transformations. During this exclusive conversation, Mir shared the two-plus-year transformation at Kraft Heinz and how they are using the superpower of Agile@Scale to drive the digital transformation journey.
Connect with Mir Ali.
Innovation & Corporate Social Impact
Adam Hecktman, Former Director at Microsoft Philanthropies
During Adam’s presentation, he shared his insights into corporate’s role in social innovation. Corporate Philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility help bring a company’s mission to life with their strengths. In the case of Microsoft, that strength is innovation and technology. In Adam’s presentation, he mentioned the ideology around living in a changing world and adapting to the environment. Rapid technological advances are drastically changing how people live, work, and learn. While there’s great potential for technology to help address some of society’s biggest issues, the pace that technological change is happening actually exprobrates historical inequities.
Adam addressed the question of why corporations should innovate around social impact.
Expectations of accountability
Live up to company values
Attract & retain talent
Source: Adam Hecktman, November 2022
Connect with Adam Hecktman.
The Developer Experience: Improving Business Performance by Focusing on Your People
Deepika Duggirala, SVP of Global Technology Platforms at TransUnion
A great developer experience means increased safety, velocity, morale, and innovation, not to mention better hiring and retention. Post-pandemic, the shift in the expectations of employees makes it imperative for companies to invest simultaneously across the entire “hire to retire” lifecycle. Deepika shared how to develop a thriving digital talent engine by understanding developer needs and creating a compelling developer experience within an organization.
Here are some highlights she mentioned regarding the impact of having engaged developers.
- 47% improvement in retention
- 65% improvement in innovation
- 55% improvement in development velocity and productivity
In summary, Deepika showed that building a better developer experience is a continuous effort of listening to, engaging with, and supporting your team through:
- Understanding developer pain points
- Investing in eliminating friction
- Offering dynamic learning opportunities alongside recognition, career growth, and manager support
- Driving adoption and continued engagement
Source: Deepika Duggirala, November 2022
Connect with Deepika Duggirala.
How Recent Changes in the U.S. Economy Affect Innovation
Stephen Lavin, Former CTO at Redbox
The pandemic has had long-lasting effects on multiple realms of business, including supply chain disruptions, inflation, a teasing recession, waves of resignations, wage inflation, reductions in corporate earnings and spending, lack of consumer confidence, weakening credit markets, and a general scarcity in technology skills.
In Stephen’s presentation, he sought out to answer the questions: How have these occurrences affected our ability to execute, and what measures have we taken to continue to perform and move forward under these circumstances? What actions and trends can we take advantage of to meet our goals?
Here is an outline of the topics discussed during his fireside chat about Innovation: A Point of View.
- Are we creating business value?
- Are we building a competitive advantage?
- Value creation (entirely new plan or changing incrementally)?
- Are you finding and executing better ways of doing things?
- Effect on building/creating things of perceived value or real?
- All the above and more?
Source: Stephen Lavin, November 2022
Connect with Stephen Lavin.
Finding Value in Machine Learning: Moving Past the Hype and to Practical Solutions
Maya Mikhailov, Co-Founder of SAVVI AI
Is Machine Learning overhyped, or can it be a practical tool to advance business practices? Maya presented the idea that Machine Learning isn't just trendy DALL-E 2 images and self-driving cars. Companies are quietly succeeding with practical ML every day by following a simple 5-Step framework.
Maya’s 5-step framework includes:
- Targeting the right kind of project
- Getting stakeholder buy-in.
- Avoid the prerequisite trap.
- Getting alignment on KPIs.
- Telling your story around the data and results.
Source: Maya Mikhailov, November 2022
Connect with Maya Mikhailov.
Bridging the Employee Experience Gap in a Digital World
Kuldip Mohanty, Former CIO at HUB International
Why is the employee experience critical in today’s enterprise? Ensuring employees are happy within an organization is key to ensuring the organization provides a customer experience to the end-users. How can you provide valuable and impactful products or services to a customer base if employees are dissatisfied with their employment?
Transitioning from the customer experience to the corporate IT world can be an underwhelming experience. Many people in the corporate IT industry are used to experiencing issues related to onboarding, access, and help desk. But does it always have to be that way? The answer is no.
The workforce and workplace needs are changing. Technologies that connect the two are evolving and redefining the need for new approaches and strategies to optimize the employee’s experience. Below are some of the trends driving the connected workplace.
- Demographic shifts.
- Intelligent automation.
- Convergence of consumer and technology.
- Enhanced employee experience drives optimal productivity.
Source: Kuldip Mohanty, November 2022
Connect with Kuldip Mohanty.
The Ambidextrous Organization
Mike Kennedy, VP of Technology Enablement and Strategy at CDW
Every CEO and executive is tasked with exploring new opportunities while diligently improving performance, and it's no surprise that not all companies do it well. Many organizations are adept are refining their products but falter when it comes to transformational innovation. In Mike’s presentation, he shares what it takes for a transformational, or "ambidextrous," organization to balance disruptive innovations while pursuing incremental gains. Mike discussed various case studies and shared how leaders can cultivate the optimal environment for innovation.
The enablers of innovation from Mike’s presentation are below.
- The right people.
- Permission and encouragement.
- Time and space to innovate.
- Access to resources.
Source: Mike Kennedy, November 2022
Connect with Mike Kennedy.