15 insights from Innov8rs Miami

I'm sharing 15 insights from the Innov8rs Miami conference based on my panel discussion with innovators from P&G, DB Schenker, the US Army, Itau Unibanco & GE.
15 Insights from Innov8rs Miami

I had the pleasure of moderating the panel discussion at Innov8rs Miami, a global community for corporate innovators, with innovation managers from leading organizations such as General Electric, Proctor & Gamble, DB Schenker, the US Army, and Itau Unibanco. 

I was truly inspired by the talks I had with each of the different companies, so I’ve decided to share the key insights from each organization with you. Here they are, in their own words. 



Amy Parrot is co-founder of the Procter & Gamble Ventures Innovation Challenge (PGV Innovation Challenge). She explained how Procter & Gamble harnessed the power of its people. The program focused on all US P&G employees, and impacted more than 20,000 people. It took place over 8 months and enabled employees to share their ideas and make them happen.

Have a clear value proposition for your innovation program.

This is the value proposition used for the PGV Innovation Challenge:

Welcome to the PGV innovation challenge, your opportunity to potentially win a $10,000 personal cash prize by submitting ideas for fast-moving consumer goods in new-to-the-world categories that PGV is NOT in today that can result in a billion-dollar idea for P&G.

Having a value proposition like this clearly helps to align participants’ expectations.

Allow seasoned experts in the subject matter to participate.

Allow experts from within the company to challenge and improve ideas that already exist so as not to reinvent the wheel.

Manage and use a powerful online crowdsourcing framework.

Good intuitive technology and moderation allow the community to flourish. This resulted in +500 ideas and 25 relevant concepts for P&G Ventures.



Julia Martensen is director, Head of Global HR Strategy and Innovation at DB Schenker. DB Schenker is a leading international logistics player with about 72,000 employees around the globe. She spoke about how HR innovation is enabling business growth and connecting human capital with business value creation.

Create a dynamic understanding of the culture by doing a bi-annual pulse check.

The concept of continuously tracking employee engagement is really powerful to get a pulse check on how employees are feeling.

At Board of Innovation, we apply a similar approach on a monthly basis, allowing us to keep track of everyone’s level of job satisfaction.

Putting global HR strategy & innovation outside the core business, in Silicon Valley.

By taking this leap of faith, the HR strategy and innovation division can actually become forward-looking and potentially partner with like-minded startups. 

Building an understanding of future skills.

A vision on how different roles and functions will evolve over time creates a strong and positive view on the future of employees. For example, DB Schenker built an understanding of human/ machine collaboration at work, including the evolution of the role of a truck driver.



Edwin Churchill is deputy director of innovation for the Joint Special Operations Command in the United States Army. He did an inspiring talk on how to innovate in a highly complex environment such as the US army.

A clear message and identifying the 'why' of innovation enables a sustainable innovation culture.

It is critical to know what the innovation team is and isn’t doing. This helps to clarify the scope the innovation team.

Implementing a fail-fast mindset in a complex industry is possible.

Even in a company where ’no fail missions’ exist, it is possible to create an environment where failure is accepted. This allowed Churchill’s team to reduce the time to market for certain technologies from 7 years to 6 months .

Willingness to let go is essential.

It is important to create a mindset where people can let go of unvalidated ideas.



Ellen Kiss is head of marketing and innovation for Digital Channels at Itaú Unibanco. She spoke about asking the right questions to solve the right problems. Itau Unibanco is the largest bank in South America with more than 90,000 employees.

Move the core business by building a human-centered capability.

The team invested heavily in Design Thinking trainings and this resulted in a true change in mindset.

Change the talent acquisition approach to find potential hires at an accelerated speed.

By steering the talent acquisition metrics, the team was able to increase the amount of new hires with new behavior more than 13 times.

Building a multidisciplinary structure accelerates innovation.

 At Itau Unibanco, more than 2,000 people are working in squads that have their own purpose, objectives and metrics. It was clear to them that it is more effective to embed innovation in structures like this.



Natalia Seybold is business designer at GE and spoke about how they are building innovation capabilities at GE. She is developing core capabilities for product, business and innovation leaders at GE.

Challenge leaders by creating the replacement of existing products.

GE launched a program that actually asks participants to replace existing products. This created an inspiring dynamic across the different levels of leadership.

Don’t focus on just one customer segment, think about the ecosystem.

Customers are never isolated. There is always a chain of people and organizations surrounding one customer segment.

Introducing the leadership to new digital trends and business models challenges the status quo.

Exposing leadership to innovation actually changes their perspective on what innovation is all about.

I’ll be speaking at the next Innov8rs event in Paris from April 10-12. Feel free to reach out for a promo code.


I’m Vincent Pirenne, Innovation Strategist @ Board of Innovation. Spreading innovation culture is in our DNA – if you liked the read, contribute to our mission by sharing this article. 

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