BiF-4 Insights – John Wolpert – Best Buy

Impact of BBC Connections television program on his life (hosted by James Burke).

We have to share, but what do we share?

  • Do we know what we need to share?
  • It is one thing to share inventions, it is another thing to share intentions

An innovation changes how people organize, how they do business, and/or how people live their lives.

IBM Alphaworks:

  • Average lifespan of an innovation program is three years, maybe five years at the outside, but Alphaworks is now thirteen years old
  • Reason is the crossing of the membrane of the firm and connecting to external companies
    • This makes it more valuable and difficult to dislodge

Personal Journey

  • Alphaworks -> Extreme Blue -> Innovation XChange Network -> YCombinator

Extreme Blue is a ten year old talent program:

  • Reported to heads of HR, Technology, and Business Strategy

Innovation XChange Network in Australia

  • Hiring trusted intermediaries and implanting people into companies that could share with other implanted intermediaries but not with companies
  • We brought together a healthcare company and technology company looking for overlap
    • People started sharing nouns (their technology) and then crickets chirping
    • People wouldn’t share their verbs (their intentions)
    • We should have brought the interns (experienced people have a hesitancy to share)

There are always that 1-3% chomping at the bit to start something new.

The talent program I’ve built for Best Buy involves some of the same keys as the Extreme Blue program I worked on for IBM:

  • 10 weeks
  • Live and work together
  • A small investment
    • Give people more money and they’ll spend it
    • Restricting the investment and basing additional funding on meeting certain milestones is better

For more information on the talk, go here.

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Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a Director of Innovation and Human-Centered Problem-Solving at Oracle, a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, helps companies build innovation cultures and infrastructures, and plan organizational changes that are more human and less overwhelming. He is the author of Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Twitter and Linkedin.




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