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LSA17: Managing Innovation – Meeting KPIs While Building the Future

innovation

Innovation is not optional. But how can organizations promote innovation in ways that don’t have them chasing shiny objects? When should you embrace technology and how can you create environments where experimentation, risk taking and even failure can co-exist with accountability and KPIs?

The following panelists explored these questions at LSA17 this afternoon in San Diego:

  • Max Faingezicht, CTO @ Propel Marketing
  • Kris Barton, Chief Product Officer @ ReachLocal
  • Bernadette Coleman, CEO @ AdviceLocal
  • Michael Hayes, Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer @ UberMedia

Measuring and Managing Innovation

Whether your company is a well-known, large organization or a small startup, innovation is something that should be celebrated and encouraged. At the same time, keeping it within the company’s productivity and constraints can be a challenge. Panelists at LSA17 shared their experience as leaders in their company to manage and measure innovation with their team.

The Necessity of Innovation

Michael Hayes, Chief Revenue & Marketing Officer at UberMedia, noted that UberMedia and it’s parent company, IdeaLab, have always stood by ‘reward failure and risk’, and the fact that people should not feel fearful that they will lose their job if they take risks. “This means being rewarded for testing and inventing new ideas, and not getting terminated if they don’t work,” he said.

To that same note, Bernadette Coleman, CEO at AdviceLocal, remarked that “Innovation is a must today. We make it part of our company’s culture and firmly believe that you have to experiment in order to stay ahead of the competition.”

Seeking Innovation

One thing the entire panel stood behind was the belief that you should seek out innovation in your employees. “Innovation is a complete mindset,” said Max Faingezicht, CTO at Propel Marketing and co-founder of ThriveHive, and during their interview process, “one thing we ask is ‘what are you doing with your free time?’, which allows you to gauge their curiosity, and their knack for innovation.”

Scaling Innovative Ideas

Coleman noted that her team thoroughly analyzes the market as well as the technology, taking a deep dive into what the market doesn’t have and currently needs. They even have monthly brainstorming sessions as a team to come up with their innovative ideas. “To me, this doesn’t always mean it is a life-changing product,” said Coleman. “It can be something as simple as a product enhancement to make the customer’s life a little easier. There is such a long range in the scale of innovation.”

Controlling Innovation

Kris Barton, Chief Product Officer at ReachLocal, very candidly shared that he spends a lot of his time shutting down ideas. “You have to look at the problem at hand, or the opportunity, then look at your capability, and finally, your credibility. As ReachLocal, if we started making airplanes, we would have no credibility. So, you analyze the confluence of those areas,” he said.

Creating a Process

Developing ideas and bringing them to fruition is as simple as your elementary science class. “You always start with a hypothesis, your proposed solution to the problem. Once you have something, you test, test, test. You thoroughly analyze it from every angle before it is ready,” said Faingezicht.

Fundamentally, attendees were able to walk away with the concrete knowledge that innovation is absolutely encouraged, but should be managed from several levels, from a financial level to a realistically scalable level. Innovative ideas are always welcomed, always supported and always thoroughly tested.

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