After three days of Cancun’s sun, I have returned to Houston with fresh ideas and a new direction for Innoventures. The summit primarily focused on co-innovation in the IT industry. Before I elaborate on what changes are expected within Innoventures, I thought I would take a quick chance to re-cap my big takeaways from the summit.
The ‘co-‘ words
The words that begin with ‘co’ highlighted much of the 3-day event at Cancun, MX last week. Co-development. Co-innovation. Co-existence. Collaboration. And, even, co-evolution.
In the earlier decades, a company defined its IT values by its core assets and capabilities. In this era, we surround ourselves with collaborators, including customers and ‘outsiders with complementary skills,’ to develop solutions with wider meaning. Companies no longer find competitive advantages simply through their constitutional processes and structures.
It is understood that centers of intelligence and ample, far-reaching acumen often exists outside the boundaries of a single corporation. The idea now is to charter this wider community to derive increased value and perhaps, even, competitive advantages. On one hand, it seems altruistic that industries are coming together to innovate – but, competitive wealth is now measured and defined by a company’s ability to collaborate.
The concepts of co-development are now as pertinent to corporations as they are to startup ecosystems. Brad Feld’s description of startup ecosystems – of startups, corporations, governments, and private institutions coming together to co-develop – is the underlying current, thriving in innovation markets.
The ‘more-the-merrier’ concept describes the environment in which we exist today. Vic Bhagat, CIO, EMC, discussed how his department works with employees, customers, and partners to develop and deploy IT strategies. IT strategy, now charged with owning everything from internal IT to outward focused abilities, adapt quickly to a continuously changing cloud, mobile, technology environment. According to Vic, the ability to co-develop is the driver to staying ahead and relevant.
The world of isolated innovation in the IT segment has been replaced, perhaps irreversibly. Cesar Salazar, from 500 Startups, reflected on this manifestation by bringing forward success stories of entrepreneurs from across Latin America and the rest of the globe. Startup excellence, or innovation excellence, is no longer limited to Silicon Valley or Boston; and the values and commitment towards innovation is shared in a global scale.
Guillermo González, from Mexico-IT talked about enriching Mexico’s innovation landscape by instilling a commitment to the process of innovation across boundaries and restrictions.
Blanca Treviño and Alex Camino, leaders of Softtek, emphasized the company’s core lies in innovating with customers for long-term value and benefits. Sofftek can no longer rely on its internal wealth and pool of knowledge and capabilities, but source innovation with partners and customers alike.
The fundamentals of evolution have shifted to the ability to co-innovate. The need to co-innovate and co-develop resonated by everyone present. As I look forward, I understand that, more than ever, Innoventures needs to connect with a wider ecosystem. Of course, this summit was primarily for the IT industry. Perhaps, this is just the start to other industries also adopting the processes and rewards of co-innovation.