Innovation and the Digital Enterprise

Building Platforms that Deliver Real Value with Mohan Putcha

 Patrick Emmons  Feb 24, 2022 6:00:00 AM  0 Comments

In his role as Vice President of Enterprise Architecture and Technology Strategy at Aon, Mohan Putcha’s job is to be ahead of the curve in spotting technology trends and understanding how they’ll impact the industry.

It is also about leveraging those trends to deliver better service for Aon’s clients and internal teams, not just in theory, but in practice. Which is why Mohan’s team has taken a different approach to building platforms – one that starts by looking at the full value stream and understanding the real pain points of the people contributing to each piece of it.

This week, Mohan joins Patrick and Shelli to discuss this people-centered approach to building platforms, how to keep your team engaged while accelerating innovation, and his take on the biggest challenges of 2022.

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Changing Perceptions and Teaching Transformation with Sandee Kastrul

 Patrick Emmons  Feb 17, 2022 6:00:00 AM  0 Comments

Technology is about solving problems and building solutions. This week’s guest, Sandee Kastrul, recognized the overlap in competencies needed for both technology and community leadership when she co-founded i.c.stars. This week she talks with Pat and Shelli about teaching technology with systems thinking, a community-lens, and an orientation of ‘how can I help’ versus ‘what can I get’.

For more than two decades, i.c.stars has been developing tech talent in Chicago through a rigorous four month curriculum rooted in midwestern practicality and centered in resilience. Each cycle, a new cohort of interns is divided into teams to form their own consulting companies to compete in an RFP process for a Chicago tech company. It’s not a drill, these are real projects and the teams are building real software. It is an immersive, hands-on approach that has fueled the program's continued success with a 90% graduate placement rate.

Listen in to hear more about the transformative power of the i.c. stars community and how to take part by signing up for the next High Tea.

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Building Product-Focused Engineering Teams with Steve Caudill

 Patrick Emmons  Jan 20, 2022 6:00:00 AM  0 Comments

Rand McNally’s Chief Technology Officer, Steve Caudill, joins Patrick and Shelli this week to talk about building and maintaining the culture of a startup inside a well-established brand with a 165-year history. They cover a range of topics including recruiting talent in a highly competitive market, creating tight feedback loops between customers and engineers, and structuring product development for the shortest path to revenue.

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Rethinking Change Management with Allen Smith

 Patrick Emmons  Dec 9, 2021 6:00:00 AM  0 Comments

What does change management look like in a world of constant, rapid change? Allen Smith, CIO at Baker Tilly, believes keeping up with the pace of change today requires rethinking change management as a discipline, including the rigid processes and communication protocols from traditional waterfall development.

Allen joins Patrick and Shelli to talk about the increasing overlap between our personal and professional lives. People bring the expectations they have for consumer software into their view of workplace software and tools. Whether they like it or not, businesses have to contend with any negative aspects of that trend. Why not lean into the change and capitalize on the advantages?

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Making Trust Possible with Swati Shah

 Patrick Emmons  Nov 18, 2021 6:00:00 AM  0 Comments

At TransUnion, creating innovative products, building talent, and delivering excellent customer experiences start with an environment where trust is possible. Swati Shah, U.S. Markets CIO, talks with Patrick and Shelli this week about what cultivating that trust looks like for the organization.

She also describes the various programs in place to support continuous learning for cross-functional teams and the importance of helping engineers understand the ‘why’ in addition to the ‘what’ for the solutions they are building.

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Turning Adversity into Opportunities for Innovation with Matt DiBari

 Patrick Emmons  Nov 4, 2021 6:00:00 AM  1 Comment

Experiencing a sudden revenue drop is a formidable challenge for any business. When SpotHero found themselves there at the start of the pandemic, the team took it as an opportunity to pause and rethink their business.

In this episode, Matt DiBari, Chief Product Officer at SpotHero, talks with Patrick and Shelli about how creative thinking and a strong team foundation allowed SpotHero to weather the sudden downturn. He also discusses how a culture of looking around corners and reacting with wonder fuels innovation both today and for the company’s ‘horizon 3’ plans.

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Venture Capital Pros and Cons with Will McGivern-Smith

 Patrick Emmons  Oct 21, 2021 6:00:00 AM  0 Comments

While eye-popping capital rounds make headlines, sometimes smaller is better when it comes to venture fundraising. Will McGivern-Smith, Chief Strategy Officer of TrueData joined Patrick and Shelli to discuss what questions to answer for your business when considering venture capital. Understanding the type of company you’re building, the problem you’re solving, and the total addressable market is a good place to start.

Listen in to get Will’s take on what factors to weigh when looking for the best fundraising partner, how to nail your pitch by keeping it simple, and what motivates different types of investors

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Product Thought Leadership with Timothy Alvis

 Patrick Emmons  Sep 23, 2021 6:00:00 AM  0 Comments

Timothy Alvis is the Chief Product Officer at SPINS and has over 20 years of experience marrying product, consumer needs, and business outcomes. He joined the podcast today to offer his tips for product teams and why they should focus on understanding problems rather than coming up with solutions.

Having started his career as the founder of multiple gaming companies, Tim also discusses the creativity involved with popular video games like Minecraft and Roblox. Tune in for his insights.

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Creating an Inclusive Tech Community with Desiree Vargas Wrigley

 Patrick Emmons  Sep 9, 2021 6:00:00 AM  0 Comments

Founders looking to secure funding face a long, arduous process. Founders of color can find it almost impossible and often receive significantly less money than their white counterparts. Desiree Vargas Wrigley believes that the tech ecosystem in Chicago needs to do more to support and nurture the untapped potential of Black and Latinx founders.

Desiree is our guest this week on Innovation and the Digital Enterprise. She shares her experience as one of the two Latinx women in the last decade to have raised over a million dollars and her vision for an inclusive Chicago tech community. Listen to the episode for more from Desiree and her company, P33.

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The Power of Machine Learning with Alex Muller

 Patrick Emmons  Aug 26, 2021 6:00:00 AM  0 Comments

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are powerful tools that companies can leverage to create better customer experiences. However, they traditionally require millions of dollars’ worth of investment. Alex Muller believes that every product team, regardless of size, should benefit from the same machine learning capabilities used at the most successful companies in the world.

Alex, the founder of SAVVI AI, is our guest this week on Innovation and the Digital Enterprise. Listen to the episode to learn more about democratizing machine learning.

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