As part of our conversations with the first ever NTT i3 Executive Advisory Board, we end the series with our board members turning the tables and asking questions to our CEO Nina Smosko. In these discussions, Nina shared her perspectives on the importance of building and nurturing innovation culture, and the evolving role of leadership in the technology world.
About Innovation Culture
As Nina shared with Executive Advisory Board members Wilf Russell, Stuart Evans and Brian Spector, everyone needs to own the innovation agenda. Nina does this by focusing on tactics to break down existing silos and preventing future ones from being built inside the organization, as well as by nurturing relationships with NTT’s global operating companies and customers through:
- Ongoing collaboration: Promoting both hands-on project engagement and opportunities to connect, exchange information and learn from each other.
- Evangelizing what is done at NTT i3 and operating companies: Building awareness on what is being done around innovation and R&D practices throughout the organization, and providing an opportunity to build bottoms-up and across-organizational innovation.
As Nina stated, “In the enterprise, innovation can’t just be the purview of a single Chief Innovation Office or Innovation Center. The idea of the single genius innovator is highly over-rated. The most powerful and long-lasting results (both in terms of product and culture) often come from a dedication to bottom-up and cross-organizational innovation. Actively engaging in innovation activities and explorations need to be part of everyone’s job description.”
With advisors Gokul Rajaram and Cindy Padnos, Nina shared her perspective on leadership, both on an individual level and for Silicon Valley in relationship to the rest of the world.
According to Nina, the following two beliefs help to make her a better leader:
1 – There is no single path to progress, as many paths can lead the to the same success outcome.
2 – Hire people better than you, making certain to know your own strengths and weaknesses within the team.
As Nina stated, “I don’t believe that there will be any other geography on par with Silicon Valley as far as innovation in technology is concerned. The deep entrenchment of the essential ingredients of investment, talent, and academia, as well as the magnetic draw of the region’s history and mythology, are incredibly powerful. I don’t even see the higher costs of doing business and talent as changing this to any significant degree.”
But, as Nina reminded us, Silicon Valley cannot be complacent, as there are creative centers and people around the world, and the innovation agenda belongs to everyone. Knowing this, only then we can address our greatest challenges and find the technology solutions to solve them.