Archive for October, 2010

Driving Innovation

October 25, 2010

At QSR International we have core company values of Innovation, Collaboration, and Celebration.   Five years ago we developed an Innovation Strategy that can be summarized as follows: 

Innovation

  • is about collaboration and exploration
  • requires an understanding of technology
  • requires an understanding of business domain
  • must produce deliverables
  • and is not a replacement for customer feedback

to achieve this we must

  • monitor emerging technology and industry trends
  • attend technology and industry conferences
  • undertake surveys and interviews with customers
  • undertake exploratory workshops
  • produce prototypes and whitepapers
  • support innovative ideas during development
  • establish links with universities

We understand that software development teams are led, not managed.  That great new products, outstanding enhancements to existing products, and creative new business initiatives are driven by passion and inspiration.  And foremost that innovation is very much dependent on the quality of the team and therefore it is important to create an environment that will attract the right people and skills.

Recently, I read the book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink.  As the CTO at QSR International, I was challenged that we could step-up innovation further by nurturing a culture that provided staff greater autonomy, mastery, and purpose.  The RSA Animate adoption below provides a good overview these aspects of the book.

To drive this innovative culture, we are launching a program in 2011 that gives our technical staff 20 Development Days per year.  These Development Days can be used for training, research projects, and charitable work.  The program is similar in nature to those in use at Google (20% time), Atlassian (20% time), 3M (15% time), Twitter (Hack Week) and Readify (20 days).

I like this related quote on innovation from David Whelan, CTO, Boeing Space and Communications

The CTO nurtures and cultivates new ideas and innovation in both the technologies and the business processes.

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